Sponsored by the ISBE (Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship)/ Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-RAKE (Research and Knowledge Exchange) Fund in the UK, academics at the Department of Management, King’s College London, Enterprise Research Centre at Imperial College London, and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) (India), recently conducted a research study on transnational entrepreneurs (TEs) of Indian origin in the UK. The objective of the study was to discern the impact of their social ties for entry into India and the management of their transnational ventures.
In collaboration with King’s India Institute at King’s College London, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Gateway Asia (GA), UK, the findings of the research were disseminated to an audience of academics and policy makers in the UK at a seminar at the Department of Management, King’s College London in May 2014. The seminar was also motivated by the need to gauge ethnic entrepreneurs’ motivations to enter emerging markets such as India and assess the support available to them in the UK and overseas to overcome the challenges of doing business in these economies.
Transputec Limited formed an integral part of the research. ‘The inputs provided by Transputec and in particular, Rickie Sehgal in the UK, and his counterpart, Harash Jain in India, based on personal, in-depth, face to face interviews over a number of months proved invaluable in assisting with the objectives of the research. It has been an absolute pleasure interacting with both Rickie and Harash at such length and learning about their inspiring journey and varied business initiatives in India. While King’s College London greatly values the assistance that partnering with companies such as Transputec offers with our research projects, I would be delighted to take this relationship forward and continue my collaboration with Transputec in my ongoing research on transnational entrepreneurs in the UK and USA in my new position at San Jose State University (USA)’, says Dr. Sarika Pruthi, lead investigator of the study, and now at the School of Global Innovation & Leadership at the Lucas College & Graduate School of Business, San Jose State University (SJSU), California, USA.
The findings of the research and proceedings of the seminar are summarized in a report. Based on in-depth case studies of TEs and their key personnel, the findings show that the role of different types of social ties for home country entry by TEs is contingent on a) whether TEs enter India based on prior work experience with a former employer and b) whether the business idea for the TNV is based on prior work experience in the UK. TEs are also heterogeneous in the way they leverage social capital to manage their TNVs contingent on a) their location (UK or India) relative to b) the location (UK or India) of the social ties that they leverage to source key skills to manage their TNV.
The research findings and their implications for policy and practice are presented in Part I of the report. The highlights of the seminar, and the recommendations for practice based on the panel sessions are outlined in Part II. Part III concludes with the directions for future research and areas for potential collaboration between academia and industry to explore key issues.
As speaker on the panel on ‘Ethnic Entrepreneurs in the UK and Internationalization to the Home Country’ at King’s College London in May, 2014, Rickie shared his story of entering India and building and managing a business in his home country. Rickie’s experience suggests that aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to enter their home country need to be proactive, risk-taking and innovative. Due to institutional and cultural bottlenecks in emerging markets, entrepreneurs in the UK entering their home country must leverage social ties in both their host and home countries. Furthermore, they must recruit local talent and build bilateral communication channels for effective management of their businesses in the home country.