If India is shining at home, the diaspora is dazzling in America. What’s more, it has stolen a march over the Chinese. Indians founded more engineering and technology firms in the US over the last decade than any other immigrant group, a new study reveals.
In fact, between 1995 and 2005, Indian immigrants founded more such firms than Chinese, Taiwanese and British immigrants put together. A similar study covering 1980-1995 found Chinese entrepreneurs setting up twice as many businesses as Indians.
A fourth of all engineering companies founded in the US over the last decade were started by immigrants. As many as 26 per cent of these firms had Indian founders. These findings were revealed last Thursday in a study conducted by Duke University’s School of Engineering and University of California at Berkeley’s School of Information.
The findings underline again how skilled foreign workers hold the key to the technology and engineering industries in the US. Vivek Wadhwa, executive in residence at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering and the report’s author, said many among the huge wave of Indian immigrants that arrived in the US after 1980 were knowledge workers.
This is borne out by two things: the fact that Indians obtained the most patents — after the Chinese — between 1995 and 2005; and that nearly half of all Indian-founded companies in the US are in the software sector.
“These are the people who give the US its competitive advantage,” Wadhwa said. “This shows that when Indians are given an environment in which they can succeed, they can match the best of the best, in Sillicon Valley and elsewhere.”
That environment, however, is often missing even in an India that is motoring ahead on the back of record growth, found a recent study conducted by The IndUs Entrepreneurs (TiE), a body of US technology entrepreneurs of Indian origin.