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India a country of 1 bn solutions: Satyarthi

Sun, 08th May 2016 (Source:Business Standard)

Saturday marked the last day of TiEcon 2016. The day featured speakers like Sanjay Mehrotra, co-founder, president, and chief executive officer of SanDisk, and counter-terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins.

Vivek Wadhwa, who was named one of the 40 most influential minds in tech by TIME magazine in June 2013, made a surprise appearance. His advice to start-ups was to focus on the Indian market, and come up with innovative solutions for the health care or infrastructure sectors, rather than trying to build a "me-too" photo-sharing app. "Don't worry about coming to US; the rest of the world needs you," the tech entrepreneur and academic told the audience.

Ficci Secretary-General A Didar Singh delivered a keynote on investing in India. This year's 'Destination India' track on Saturday included speakers such as J M Noronha, chairman of the Goa Public Service Commission and Phil Shaw, chief executive, Lockheed Martin India, talking about the country's defence business being open for business. Odisha Industries Minister Debi Prasad Mishra and Pranab Prakash Das, the state's electronics & information technologyminister, talked about opportunities in the state. Genpact founder Pramod Bhasin talked about the future of BPOs.

Kailash Satyarthi, recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, delivering the closing keynote, said Silicon Valley engineers had changed the perception of India from a land of snake charmers and poor beggars to a country that produces successful entrepreneurs. "People say India is a country of 100 problems. I like to think India is a country of one billion solutions," Satyarthi said. "Poverty, illiteracy, and child labour form a triangle," he added. "These things cannot be solved in isolation."

The theme of the 2016 TiEcon was Dream Change Inspire.

Over 4,000 entrepreneurs, VCs, and Valley professionals attended the event, which was organized almost entirely by volunteers, including TiE charter members, various chairs, and close to 300 people who offered to help.

Decoding Indians' success in the US

At TiEcon 2016, Nirvikar Singh, director, Center for Analytical Finance, University of California, Santa Cruz, and a member of the Advisory Group to the Finance Minister of India on G-20 matters, asked, "How are Indians in the US so successful?"

The average income of Indian-Americans is higher than Americans or any other ethnic groups, wherever you go in the US. There were several factors which led to this, he said. Immigration is a highly selective process, favouring people with certain occupational choices. Since Indians came to the US for employment, thus they integrated with the job market readily, he explained.

People from India are fluent in English, have an advanced level of education and tend to have stable family structures -and all this contributed to economic success, Singh explained, adding there was a distinction between Indians who come to the US and Indians who were born in the country.

According to the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which does not calculate undocumented immigrants, China and India have the highest number of immigrants in America, followed by Mexico.

Median annual household income for Indian-Americans in 2010 was $88,000, according to a study by Pew Research Center. That number is significantly higher than Asian-Americans ($66,000) and all US households ($49,800).

Starting young

Nupur Mehta, 21, is TiEcon's youngest woman entrepreneur. Her company RigPlenish is working on an end-to-end data management application that automates paperwork at each stage of an ambulance run. Ambulance runs in the US are typically two hours long, with paramedics spending 40 minutes on paperwork. Mehta expects to reduce that to four minutes. Mehta started RigPlenish with three Indian college mates - Tejaswi Sagiraju, Gaurav Desai, and Shweta Sugnani.

Internet of Things (IoT), automation, and aerospace verticals. What are some of the start-ups he has signed up this year? "We have had some very interesting conversations," says Hubauer.

IT support from Mexico

Suri Chawla, an Indian-American who moved to the US close to two decades ago, has started a firm in Mexico with a team of 50, offering IT support services to US companies. Why in Mexico? The country's central time zone is closer to the US, and intellectual property rights are protected, says Chawla.

A TN visa lets workers come to the US on projects, without restriction hassles. And then of course, there is the salary differential between US and Mexico for the same occupational profile.

TiE unveils new logo

The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) unveiled a new logo at the closing session of TiEcon 2016. In true Silicon Valley style, the unveiling was virtual - done using computers, video, and projection screens. TiE co-founder and the organisation's first president Suhas Patil, who is also the founder of fabless semiconductor company Cirrus Logic, was present for the unveiling, along with all TiE presidents both past and present.

The new TiE logo is red and white, with a bold contemporary look. The tagline has been edited from "The Indus Entrepreneurs" to "Fostering Innovation".

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