In a State of the Union address that may now seem like it was delivered years ago, President Obama addressed the nation’s need to “win the future” through encouraging America’s dominance in entrepreneurship and technological innovation. And yet, the country’s economic downturn and the American immigration system seem to be driving away many of the very innovators needed to accomplish this.
A recent report released by the Kauffman Foundation, a research and policy center focused on entrepreneurship, delves into some of the reasons that Chinese and Indian professionals who become educated in the U.S. are increasingly being drawn back to their home countries to start businesses there. The report, entitled “The Grass Is Indeed Greener in India and China for Returnee Entrepreneurs,” surveyed U.S.-educated professionals from both India and China on the reasons why they decided to make the return to their home countries to start up businesses there instead of in the U.S.
In the past, underdevelopment and a dearth of business opportunities for highly skilled workers provided the “push” factors that encouraged professionals to bring entrepreneurial ventures to the U.S. But the economic downturn, rising business opportunities elsewhere, and the difficulty of obtaining a U.S. visa are hampering these workers from setting up startups and business ventures in the U.S. Of more than 1,000 respondents surveyed in the Kauffman report, 60 percent of Indian respondents and 90 percent of Chinese respondents said that rising economic opportunities in their home countries was a very important factor in encouraging their return home. Lower costs of operations as well as access to local markets were other significant factors drawing these professionals back to their home countries.
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