Thank you, Donald Trump !

Author: Dr Aniruddha Malpani, Director and Founder at Malpani Ventures

Read Time: 3 minutes

Donald Trump has been getting a lot of bad press lately, especially from Silicon Valley. The US tech industry is worried about how they’ll be able to remain competitive if they are not able to continue attracting the best talent from all over the world. It’s going to be hard for bright young foreigners to move to the US since H-1B visas are not going to be easily available.

What is a problem for the US startup ecosystem is actually a blessing in disguise for India. The US always had an unfair advantage as regards their ability to attract and retain bright entrepreneurs. They had the best universities; tons of money; a mature VC industry which was happy to take risks; and lots of highly successful first generation entrepreneurs who served as role models for students from all over the world. They took advantage of their head start , and used this to set up a positive virtuous cycle which gave them a huge edge over the rest of the world. Smart techies attracted other smart techies ; bright VCs pulled in the best of the class, and going to the US became the aspirational goal for the best and the brightest from all over the world. This is why the US was able to produce more unicorns than the rest of the world put together, and their friendly immigration policies meant that they were able to roll out a red carpet for the ambitious entrepreneur who wanted to make a mark on the world.

Now that Donald Trump has made it much harder for all these bright entrepreneurs to move to the US, India finally has a chance to catch up with the Silicon Valley ecosystem. We should take advantage of this glorious four-year opportunity . Because all our bright young IIT/IIM students will no longer be able to go to the US , they will be forced to look for opportunities in India. The Indian ecosystem will do dramatically well, because we won’t have to compete with the US to hold on to our best brains.

The output of an economy depends upon: people; their productivity; and ideas. We now have the perfect storm, given the fact that we are a young nation who can cash in on our demographic dividend. Once we add ambitious well-educated entrepreneurs to this mix, we can become an unstoppable force.

It’s not just the brightest Indian graduates over the next four years who will not immigrate to the US who will help India to grow. Lots of smart techies , brainy students and hard-working management graduates who are now in the US will also be forced to come back to  India . They are going to bring back a lot of wisdom, expertise and experience with them. They are global citizens who have experienced what life in the US is like, and they will want to create a similar ecosystem for themselves and their families when they come back. They will help India to accelerate its progress towards a brighter future .

India needs to take advantage of this reverse brain drain, which Donald Trump has so kindly handed to us on a golden platter. It would be a shame if we did not leverage this.

While it’s true that individuals will find it harder to move to the USA, I feel that complaining about how unfair these policies are doesn’t help anyone. After all, who said the world was meant to be fair ? The golden rule is that the one who has the gold sets the rules, and we need to accept this reality. Rather than feeling sorry , we need to start looking for the silver lining in the clouds.

India has a huge domestic market, with lots of opportunities. We are no longer a poor country, and we need to start creating our own success stories, rather than remaining content to borrow them by importing them from the US . We can’t keep on depending on the US to provide all the innovation for the rest of the world. This change in rules will finally give us a chance to catch up, and I’m very grateful to Donald Trump for this opportunity – it’s up to us to make the most of it, rather than whine about how Indians are being treated as second class citizens in the US ! Why not come back, so you can help to create a first world nation , where you are first class citizens ?

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