India – The new America?
The American Dream has inspired and encouraged many to immigrate from less developed nations such as India to the west in order to achieve a higher standard of living. A few decades ago, India was defiantly not considered to be a destination for those wishing to further their careers or those seeking a better life, but today, the country is attracting intellects, graduates, and professionals who are pursuing just that.
Between March 2009 and 2010, 30,000 left Britain for India, beckoned by the country’s economic opportunities, and driven away from the west’s limited opportunity and recession. India’s economy is indeed expanding at a slower pace than in previous years, but at the rate of 5% it acts as a magnet for some of the brightest graduates searching for a lucrative market no longer found in stagnant western economies.
Rahul Bathija, now a successful entrepreneur in India explains, “India was a very slow developing economy at that point, and people looked at it and said ‘what are you doing in India?’. Whereas now people say, ‘wow, you’re in India’… Dress codes have changed, the country is less conservative than before and business dealings have become a lot more professional”.
There is also rising numbers of people of Indian origin born in the West moving ‘back’ to the country their parents or ancestors left years ago. It is also the case that tens of thousands of young Indians who have studied abroad are moving back to their homeland. Cultural affinity and family ties have often been the predominant reasons why Indians return after completing their studies, but business potential now makes India a more attractive prospect.
Two years ago, Janki and her husband moved back home in order to start up a business in India, they were provoked by the economic downturn in the US and the sense that India was more conducive to new business ideas.
Janki is thankful for her decision to have taken her ideas to India. “If we were in the States we’d be one of many camping companies in a saturated market, whereas here we have the space and support to start up”.
She compliments India as “a fantastic untapped market, open to experimental and innovative ideas”.
The country’s problems and inefficiencies, poverty and poor infrastructure in India for example, are challenges for newly arrived entrepreneurs. Sean from America expands saying, “the scale of the problems you’re able to solve is bigger here, and those opportunities don’t exist in America right now…the opportunities are far more fundamental – ‘how do you get credit to people? How do you get food to people?’”
Similarly, Valerie from America discloses that in India “no market is saturated and there’s a lot of room to innovate” which exposes successful individuals to lucrative rewards.
Whilst the return of highly skilled and educated graduates may benefit India, it lies as a great concern for the west. For example, America’s silicon Valley has always been a hub for high-calibre Indian immigrants to start businesses, and 52% of all startups in the region were founded by immigrants with as much as one third being Indian.
US president, Barack Obama, has acknowledged this issue stating, “today, we provide students from all around the world with visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities… our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or new industry here in the United States. Instead of training entrepreneurs to stay here, we train them to create jobs for our competition. We don’t want the next Intel or the next Google to be created in China or India. We want those companies and jobs to take root here”.
Will the American Dream become an Indian reality?