Brain Drain of Entrepreneurship

Non-Resident Indians are usually associated with fields like Software Experts, Doctors etc. However, there is a large proportion of entrepreneurs among the NRIs. According to a report by the National Foundation for American Policy, the majority of immigrant entrepreneurs in the US come from Asia, with India and China accounting for the largest share among them. More than 155 Indian companies in various sectors have invested 22 billion dollars in places like New York, California, New Jersey and these companies are creating more than one and a half lakh jobs in the USA. It includes many big software companies. But at the same time, Indians are pioneers in the micro and small industrial sectors as well. According to the report by the National Foundation for American Policy, the value of 312 companies started by immigrant entrepreneurs in the small business sector a few years ago is 1.2 trillion dollars today. Most of these startups, about 66, are started by Indian entrepreneurs. 

Such new entrepreneurs have broken the stereotype that American NRIs mean those that work in Amazon or Google. That is why, Massachusetts University has conducted a research on why immigrants start their enterprises in America. Accordingly, the probability of an immigrant starting their own business is more than 80 percent as compared to an American person. A few years ago, the reason behind this was that after coming to America, immigrants started their own business because they could not find a job suitable for their education. Hence, small business was seen as an alternative to a good job. But these start-ups today largely depict young people with computer science degrees starting their own businesses with a new idea. It has many famous names. For example, Robinhood is a stock market investment company, Clubhouse is a social media based company, Instacart is an e-commerce company that delivers groceries at home. Rohan Seth, a young entrepreneur, who graduated from Stanford University in 2020, started the company Clubhouse Audio. Today, this audio studio on the Internet has become so famous that even entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg are eager to give interviews on it. The same story of Instacart’s Apoorva Mehta. After graduating from Canada, he worked at Amazon and then later started his own company. A few years ago, when highly educated Indian youths started migrating abroad for jobs, the concept of ‘brain drain’ was in the news. Now many young Indian entrepreneurs are setting up their own business abroad. According to many reports, it seems that the US has a conducive environment not only for American entrepreneurs, but also for Indian entrepreneurs. Every year, the World Bank ranks countries that are easy and accessible to do business. Out of 190 countries, America is ranked sixth, while India is struggling to reach within fifty. Efforts to reform the rules for entrepreneurs are on paper. But even today, these young entrepreneurs with foreign degrees prefer to set up their businesses abroad, a fact that in a way shows the ‘brain drain’ of entrepreneurship.


This article by Dr. Lalitagauri Kulkarni was originally published in Marathi in Sakal Newspaper on October 3, 2023.