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Where should I immigrate for Entrepreneurial success?

Entrepreneurship AttitudeQ) I am from India. Given the poor Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (bureaucracy, corruption, and societal pressure); I would like to immigrate to a country where I can pursue my Entrepreneurial dream. I also want to be in a country where I have the option of doing an MBA if things don’t work out.

F1GMAT: First, you have to define what Entrepreneurship is for you:

a) Is it a lifestyle Business where the revenue from the product/service will be used primarily for your survival and day-to-day expenses?

b) Is it a Business where you need considerable investment through Angel investors or Venture Capitalists?

c) Is it a Business that needs support from a team of 30-50 Employees?

d) Can you bootstrap the Business for 1-2 years before scaling up?

Once you have defined clearly what your start-up would be like, brainstorm, and find out whether you will go it alone or you will have a partner. There are ups and downs for both. But let us assume that you are going it alone, at least for a year before bringing partners into the team.

According to the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI), the top 10 countries for starting your Business are:

1) United States
2) Canada
3) Australia
4) United Kingdom
5) Sweden
6) Denmark
7) Iceland
8) Taiwan
9) Switzerland
10) Singapore

India ranks 103 in a 130-country list. Your decision to immigrate is justified if you consider the country as a prime influence. The type of Business influences your Entrepreneurial success. For a Business that need little interaction with the local authorities or bureaucracy, the chances of interference is low, especially a Business that depends on infrastructure in the cloud, which as of today is mostly concentrated in the US – the number #1 place to do Business.

Your success with Entrepreneurship depends on three facets: Attitudes, Abilities, and Aspirations.

Attitudes towards Entrepreneurship are defined by Opportunity Perception, Start-Up Skills, Risk Acceptance, Networking, and Cultural Support.

Cultural Support

Of the five factors, only Cultural support is influenced by the society or country. If you are from India, most likely your parent’s generation is used to a safe Govt. job that gives a guaranteed pension. So it would be unreasonable to expect them to support your Entrepreneurial ambitions. They don’t have any point of reference other than the local vegetable vendor who manipulates price on a daily basis, and gets a windfall profit. For them, they are doing Business. It doesn’t matter whether you are creating a cutting edge technology that scans facial feature to recognize illness; you are still a Businessman like the Vegetable Vendor. If you can accept that societal attitude takes time to change, your focus will be on the other four factors, of which risk acceptance is a key influencer for your future success.

Risk acceptance

Risk acceptance can only increase if you have a balanced perception about risk of doing Business. First, Fear of failure mentally blocks you from starting a Business. Once you have started your Business, Fear of Failure inhibits you from pursuing ambitious goals, fearing the risk of running out of cash. To a large extent, this fear, especially fear of failure after the initial traction, is influenced by the availability of funds, and the ease with which start-up funds can be acquired. In a country like India, Risk Perception is high due to the corruption in the Govt. System, but with a new generation of Indians taking up key positions, and the speed with which story of corruption spreads in new media, the level of corruption has come down compared to the 80s and 90s. If your initial 2-years of survival depends on the cash influx, other than cash flow from products/services, consider immigrating, otherwise the cost of qualified professionals in India is much lower than the top 10 countries.

Opportunity Perception

Opportunity Perception is defined by the percentage of a country’s population that can recognize opportunities. Given India’s apathy towards Entrepreneurship, you will have a better chance to succeed if you are tapping into a market that has not been ventured before. A factor that might influence your decision to immigrate is the market you are targeting. India is still one of the favorite markets for Global giants like Microsoft, Amazon, GE, and Toyota. The diversity of Indian markets and complexity of the problems faced by a fast urbanizing nation are many. Given your knowledge of the local landscape, you have the opportunity to solve a pressing problem in a niche market.

Start-Up Skills

This is where education plays a crucial role. Although stories of Entrepreneurs with high school diploma creating billion dollar enterprises are many in the US, if you are from India, you know the narrow focus with which Indians operate when it comes to their career. The markets most likely have defined your career choice. You are an Engineer, a Doctor, or a Banker if my guess if right; that was pretty much the choices Indian parents of the 80s and 90s gave, and in an Indian society, the focus first is on the family, interpreting signs of individuality as rebellion. With the sub-par quality of Indian Engineering schools, the option to rebuild the foundation of your education with a Top MBA program can be tempting. Read 2014 Top MBA Programs (Total Cost), and analyze the debt in $ that we have included. It will give you a complete picture on what you have to do to break even. With a plan to do an MBA, the start-up will have an additional cost – your education. It is essential that you weigh in the future cash flow - best and worst case scenarios, to see if an MBA will be a revenue multiplier or a dream crusher. We have covered how to calculate MBA return on investment using future cash flow in our MBA Research Guide. Download it here.

Networking

One factor that overwhelmingly favors pursuing an MBA is the networking opportunities. Phone lines open up when you say that you did your MBA from MIT, Stanford, or Harvard. If your start-up has anything to do with Apps, Web application or anything digital, an MBA is unnecessary. In fact, venture capitalist prefer MS candidates over MBAs when it comes to this niche but any other technology or industry that require a large workforce for implementation – manufacturing, medicine or hospitality, an MBA can in fact help you connect to the right people. LinkedIn and Twitter have redefined pursuing Networking opportunities, but an MBA is an instant credibility booster for professionals, and an old-school fund Manager will look at you with little more respect than otherwise.

In the end, your product/service will move the investor’s wallet. Focus your energy first on the market, the product idea, and then on the implementation before thinking about immigration.

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