Before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s United States visit, the Federation of Indian
Chambers of Commerce & Industry
sent a business delegation to
California last week. The delegation,
a first for FICCI, included budding
entrepreneurs in the fields of
biotechnology, health care, clean
energy, and innovation.
“We are trying to connect the innovation ecosystem of the US and
India,” Saurabh Srivastava of FICCI
told India Abroad on the sidelines of
the delegation’s business conference,
held at the Doubletree Hilton in
Newark, California, September 22.
“We are not just looking for angel
investors, but the idea is for people to
come and connect. We also want US-based startups to come to India.”
Srivastava, founder of the six-year-old Indian Angel
Network. He said there are 350 angel investors in the
group, and their first visit to Silicon Valley included more
than 50 companies.
“We want to connect with Silicon Valley,” said Srivastava.
He said the current Indian government is focused on
economic development of the country. “I am optimistic,”
Nirankar Saxena, senior director, FICCI, told India
Abroad, “We will be repeating this every six months for the
next five years. We will be bring about 100 companies to
the US and bring equivalent 100 companies from the US
to the Indian market. Both markets are vibrant and both
“With India reaching a $4 trillion economy, we want US
businessmen to come. India's connection with the US is
very important. For example, we want Tesla to come to
India and want such collaboration," said Saxena.
He said all the 70 start-up companies that were part of
the FICCI delegation paid their own money to come here.
The delegates will be meeting with investors at The Indus
Entrepreneurs’ Silicon Valley office.
Venkatesh Shukla, TiE Silicon Valley president, told the
delegation that an interesting development is that big
organizations are jumping in to the support start-up entrepreneurs, which is a good thing for India.
Shukla told India Abroad that it is good to see FICCI
supporting small-time entrepreneurship because generally
the organization is more about big business guys who
know how to lobby the government.
“So to see them promoting entrepreneurship and innovation is a very good sign but they need to organize it a
much better way,” Shukla said. “Holding it in Newark is
not a recipe for inviting investors and venture capitalists.
But I think the good thing is they've started (supporting
start-ups). I have met some of the entrepreneurs, and they
India’s Consul General in San Francisco N
Parthasarathi encouraged the budding entrepreneurs:
‘India has to rise and will rise,’ he said. ‘You can do it. You
just have to think big.’
Padmaja Ruaparel, co-founder and president, Indian
Angel Network, said “We are bringing people (here) to con-
nect and even small amount of money (raised) creates
Another delegation attendee who came with the FICCI
team from India was Dr Shaon Ray Chaudhuri, assistant
professor, department of biotechnology, West Bengal
“I am here to see if I could find a collaborator,” Ray
Chaudhuri told India Abroad. “I have a technology trans-
fer idea, which is based on recycling of waste water as well
the nutrients in the waste water. The recycled water can be
used as fertilizer. I hope to find a partner who could col-
laborate to scale it up and be ready to commercialize it.”
FICCI collaborated with the Indo-US Science and
Technology Forum, TiE Silicon Valley, the IC2 Institute at
the University of Texas, Austin, the Center for Innovation
at Arlington, and the Global Organization of People of
Indian Origin for the delegation’s visit.
“We are happy they are here and looking for similar
people in Silicon Valley,” Inder Singh, GOPIO chairman,
told India Abroad.
He said the team will take a tour of some Silicon Valley
companies and will be meeting investors, incubators and
US businesses from that region and also on in New York.
Industry tycoons support ModiÊs ÂMake in IndiaÊ project
tions with Japan and China, and now
anticipation of the US visit have creat-
ed a positive environment, according to
the richest man in the country. ‘RIL
will create an additional 125,000 jobs
in the next 12 to 15 months.’
The first speaker among the industri-
alists, Cyrus Mistry, while welcoming the
initiative, said generating 12 million jobs
from manufacturing was a challenge and
that employability has to be improved
through skilling. Along with labor
reforms, Mistry highlighted the need for
sound infrastructure, balanced tax and
duty structure and efficient logistics.
‘Our aspirations on the global manufac-
turing arena will be fulfilled if we
address certain challenges on priority.’
According to Mistry, many other Asian
economies have got their manufacturing
sector to contribute much higher to
Gross Domestic Product because of a
vibrant industry. Once manufacturing
capability improves, it will have a multi-
plier effect on services, too, he said. Tatas
have 95 manufacturing facilities in the
country, ranging from steel to aerospace.
Like Mistry and Ambani, Ayukawa,
too, backed the Make in India initiative.
But he told a packed room at Vigyan
Bhawan that doing business in India is
not very easy. ‘Costs of production in
India increases because of various government policies, procedures, regulations and the way some of the laws are
implemented,’ Ayukawa said. Ayukawa
said his company was hopeful that
under Modi’s leadership, India could
become one of the most competitive
It was no different in the case of Birla,
whose business has been hurt by the lat-
est Supreme Court verdict on coal block
allocation. None of the industrialists,
Instead, Birla congratulated Modi on
the spectacular success of the Mars
Orbiter Mission. According to Birla,
with the Make in India initiative, the
country should emerge as a preferred
centre of choice for manufacturing.
‘We must create one million jobs a
month from manufacturing; other-
wise, our demographic advantage
will fall flat,’ Birla said. ‘The initiative
is a clarion call that will galvanize
Kochhar broke into Hindi in
between her English speech to express
her support for Make in India. ‘What
is being launched today is actually
going to be the next growth driver for
India... It is believed that manufactur-
ing, if it works to its full potential, can
add about 9 crore jobs in the next
decade for India,’ she said.
According to her, four areas are
important to realize the project — ease
of doing business, access to infrastructure, balanced policies and the right
training to young people.
By arrangement with Business Standard
Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry with Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani during the launch of the Make in India campaign in New Delhi, September 25. ADNAN ABIDI/REU TERS
FICCI brings budding
entrepreneurs to California