TiE Mumbai Assists Startups to Explore and Expand into New Geographies: Belgium and Bahrain


Over the years, TiE Mumbai had played a significant role in promoting, mentoring, helping and funding startups in the Greater Mumbai Region. TiE Mumbai represents over 2500 startups in this region. It has successfully connected and mentored over 2000 entrepreneurs and startups over the last few years and over 1000 startups have been successfully connected to investors.

As a part of its ongoing endeavor to assist startups with new opportunities and help foray into different geographies, TiE Mumbai has partnered with Flanders, Belgium and Bahrain and organized separate knowledge sessions to facilitate interested startups in making an informed decision to expand into Europe and Middle East.

“As a part of our global connect program, TiE Mumbai has partnered with Flanders Investment and Trade, Mumbai office – the official agency of the Government of Flanders, Belgium and Bahrain Economic Development Board to create an access to knowledge, markets, funds and talent in those regions. These partnerships present excellent growth opportunities for Mumbai Startups,” said Atul Nishar, President, TiE Mumbai.

Flanders, Belgium

Flanders, Belgium is the Hotlink to Europe, home to NATO, the EU headquarters and other major public and private international decision-making centers. Delegates from Fiscal Department for Foreign Investments, Marc De MIL – International Tax Expert, Federal Public Service Finance – BelgiumRalph MOREAU – Science & Technology Officer, Flanders Investment & Trade. Embassy of BelgiumSingapore and Jurgen MAERSCHAND, Trade & Investment Commissioner, Flanders Investment & Trade, Mumbai interacted with startups to give them a better understanding of Flanders, Belgium’s innovative and knowledge-driven economy that presents attractive prospects for Indian startups to set up their business there. They also discussed how Belgium hosts a robust ecosystem supporting startups not only with the Incubators, Accelerators, Research Centers, and Technology Clusters, but also gives organization access to markets, funds, and talent.

“Flanders is a pole of attraction for foreign companies: thanks to its central location in Europe, our strongly developed infrastructure, our innovative clusters and numerous other strengths. We adopt a tailored approach towards potential investors and inform them of the opportunities for their company in Flanders. Innovative clusters are of key importance to Flanders as a knowledge region. We help these clusters in their internationalization process and try to attract foreign investors capable of strengthening the cluster to grow into a major international player,” said Jurgen Maerschand, Trade & Investment Commissioner – Flanders Investment & Trade, Mumbai.


Bahrain is a fast-growing hub and test-bed market for India startups looking to leverage the Kingdom’s pro-business environment and access to opportunities across the GCC. It was recently mentioned in Startup Genome’s 2018 Report as high potential ecosystem for fintech, cloud computing and gaming innovation. Delegates from the Economic Development Board of Bahrain (EDB), Dr. Simon Galpin – Managing Director and Dharmi Magdani – Country Director India  shared insights on the opportunities for Indian technology startups in Bahrain, particularly fintech startups, leveraging Bahrain’s status as regional financial centre with a world-class ITC infrastructure. Bahrain’s startup ecosystem benefits from a pro-business regulatory environment, low tax and operating costs, and a central, connected location with ease of access to India, the GCC and Europe.

Simon Galpin, Managing Director, Economic Development Board of Bahrain(EDB), commented, “We are pleased to collaborate with TiE once again on an engaging and informative event that will help bring the startup ecosystems in India and Bahrain even closer together. Bahrain and India have deeply embedded commercial, trade and cultural ties, which date back centuries, and today this relationship goes from strength to strength. At EDB, we work with many Indian-founded startups who are successfully testing and scaling up from their bases in Bahrain and we look forward to seeing even more collaboration between startups in India and Bahrain in the future.”

UK Export Strategy Ignores Brexit “Hot Potato”, According to E-commerce Authority


According to the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, who released the UK’s export strategy yesterday, exports in goods and services rose by 4.4% last year, and the value of exports has doubled since 1997.

Deborah Collier, digital business expert, and President at global e-commerce authority – The Certificate in Online Business, had described Brexit and the UK EU Trade Agreement as a “Hot Potato”. She adds “The UK Export Strategy has made no mention or provision for Brexit, except to focus on selling to countries outside the EU.”

Citing credible E-Commerce industry statistics – 62.7% of UK E-Commerce exports are sold to the EU – the largest economy in the world, she adds “If we leave the EU without an agreement, the products and services we sell will be liable for import tariffs. Even if UK businesses cover those costs through price reduction, which is highly unrealistic, EU Customers will still have the inconvenience of having to pay import costs on delivery. This inconvenience alone is enough to deter buyers. The UK cannot afford to lose this volume of trade.”

Collier explains “One of the key benefits of e-commerce is access to new markets globally.  Barriers to trade are customs, taxation, shipping and distribution costs, as well as legal regulations.” There are heightened costs and competitive challenges when trading internationally. Desirable and competitively priced products and services are paramount. “Uniqueness will be one area the UK needs to focus on, to stay ahead of other international competition”, adds Collier

International shipping costs and the ability for entrepreneurs and small businesses to implement a strategy to alleviate the additional costs of distribution to non-EU countries, is a major challenge. “I am particularly concerned about the livelihoods of small businesses and individual online traders”, says Collier, who is a champion for entrepreneurship. Deborah Collier urges the UK government to address the EU trade issue “head-on”, and to consider the realities and challenges of internal trade to businesses of all sizes, with countries outside the European Union.

Cook Maran acquires McDermott & Thomas, strengthening employee benefits services in its growing New York-based insurance brokerage

Business, Insurance

New York metropolitan area platform of Prime Risk Partners expands; McDermott & Thomas adds critical expertise for business clients

Cook Maran & Associates (“Cook Maran”), one of New York and New Jersey’s largest insurance brokers and the New Yorkmetropolitan area platform for Prime Risk Partners (“PRP”), has acquired McDermott & Thomas Associates LLC (“M&T”), a Staten Island-based agency specializing in employee benefits.  M&T’s partners bring more than seven decades of experience advising businesses on customized, cost-effective insurance solutions for their human resources.

M&T employees will continue to work from the agency’s Staten Island location and do business as “McDermott & Thomas,” joining Cook Maran’s six offices and 250 professionals across New York and New Jersey.  In merging with Cook Maran, M&T also broadens the offering of PRP, one of the nation’s fastest-growing insurance intermediaries.

“Under the leadership of Pat McDermott and Mark Thomas, M&T has advised hundreds of employers across dozens of states on their benefits and other insurance needs,” said Len Scioscia, Chairman and CEO of Cook Maran.  “They’ve earned a reputation as trusted experts in a challenging field over the last thirty years, and we’re proud to welcome them to Cook Maran and PRP.”

Scioscia noted that the M&T partnership strengthens Cook Maran’s portfolio in a critical area. “At a time when all employers grapple with rising premiums and face so much uncertainty in the national health insurance market, we felt the time was right to join forces with a trusted, expert advisory firm like M&T to make our benefits practice even stronger,” he explained.

“Now more than ever, businesses need help building a competitive benefits package that fits the realities of their bottom line – and explaining the plan to employees,” agreed Patrick McDermott, who co-founded M&T with Mark Thomas in 1987.  “That’s been our mission as an agency for the last three decades.”

By merging with one of New York and New Jersey’s leading agencies and PRP (#44 in the most recent Business Insurance ‘Top 100 Business Brokers’ ranking), M&T’s founders see new opportunities to pursue this mission while offering clients the same personal service from familiar faces.

“By joining Cook Maran and PRP, we’ve found regional and national partners that can help us do what we love – solving problems for clients – at an even higher level as part of a really dynamic organization,” added McDermott.

About Cook Maran
Cook Maran, which traces its roots to 1946, has almost 250 employees in eight offices in New York and New Jersey.  Its focus on being a trusted advisor to its business and individual clients has allowed it to enjoy outstanding growth, and it is now one of the leading independent insurance agencies in the New York metro area.  For more information, please visit www.cookmaran.com.

About McDermott & Thomas Associates
Since 1987, McDermott & Thomas Associates, LLC, has advised business clients on employee benefits with a high level of personalized focus and expertise, serving companies of all sizes across state lines and industry sectors. With over 70 years of collective experience in successful benefits planning and administration, the firm’s partners are engaged with every client to provide the intelligence and expertise of a larger agency with the flexibility and responsiveness of a smaller, local partner.  Learn more at www.mthassoc.com.

About Prime Risk Partners
Prime Risk Partners, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is building a superior national insurance distribution platform through selective acquisitions, strategic new hires, and thoughtful operations. A portfolio company of Thomas H. Lee Partners, it is quickly becoming the partner of choice for industry professionals looking to grow exponentially while becoming a critical piece of a growing national organization.  For more information, please visit www.primeriskpartners.com.

USW: Global Forum Report Documents Excess Steel Capacity as Attacks on U.S. Steel Sector Continue


The United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement after the release of a report by the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity. The forum, created through the action of the G20 leaders, has met to discuss overcapacity in the global steel sector, its implications and what policy measures might be implemented to address the issue.

Two years of dialogue and meetings resulted in a 52-page report and a set of principles that acknowledges there is global steel overcapacity which is continuing to grow. For the participants in the Global Forum, this may be viewed as a victory, but for workers in the steel sector in the United States, it is just another sign that political leaders are fiddling while Rome burns.

The USW appreciates the hard work that U.S. negotiators put into this process and the strong stances they took on key principles. Yet as attacks on the U.S. steel sector continue, only further dialogue is scheduled. The new report fails to identify specific disciplines, timelines or targets for resolving the problem. A real plan for action is the only thing that will work.

Last year during the election, then-candidate Trump promised action to revitalize domestic steel-making capacity and job creation. In April, as President, he initiated an investigation on the impact of steel imports on our national security. The deadline for action has long passed, and steel workers, their families and communities across the country are still waiting for action. The Global Forum’s report makes clear that the U.S. must unilaterally act to protect our national security.

Protecting our national security and the jobs of those in the steel sector should not be held hostage to a tax cut for the rich. It is time for the Administration to do what it promised.