1 year later, Choose says mission trip to India proving to be success

Tom Bergeron | ROI-NJ

It may seem like a lifetime ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Gov. Phil Murphy’s trade mission trip to India with Choose New Jersey was just a year ago.

Choose New Jersey CEO Jose Lozano said the trip has proven to be a success — despite the pandemic. Lozano points to the opening of the New Jersey India Center in New Delhi, commitments from companies to open offices in New Jersey and an overall strengthening of the relationship with a country that has a strong presence in the state.

“New Jersey has long had a talented workforce with Indian roots,” Lozano told ROI-NJ. “Our investment in strengthening the bilateral relationship with India has been well received.

“We have been bridging the gap to help top manufacturers, pharmaceuticals and startup Indian companies grow in the United States.”

Last September, Murphy led a 50-member delegation on a seven-day, six-city economic trade mission. Murphy held more than 50 meetings and signed multiple Memorandums of Understanding.

Lozano said Choose estimates the trip created 1,200 new jobs — while establishing new relationships with 10 large Indian companies that have a large presence in New Jersey.

“These companies are planning to bring over 200 new jobs to New Jersey,” he said.

Lozano said the biggest success came this past July, when the National Association of Software and Services Companies announced the virtual launch of NASSCOM Launchpad in New Jersey, with VentureLink@NJIT and Choose New Jersey.

The NASSCOM Launchpad aims to facilitate partnerships between New Jersey and India, and promote technology-based foreign direct investment between the two regions, as well as amplify global competitiveness between the companies operating in both geographies.

So far, nine Indian firms have expressed interest in doing business in New Jersey and are working with the team at VentureLink to accommodate coworking space needs.

Lozano said discussions for U.S. incorporation for the majority of the nine firms are underway. As soon as travel restrictions and business visa restrictions are lifted, these investments are expected to be formalized in early 2021.

“This is the type of opening that trade missions can produce,” Lozano said.

Other takeaways:

Attracting new businesses to New Jersey

  • Over the last year, four Indian firms have established a presence in New Jersey, including: Jubilant Life Sciences, Batoi Systems, SIRO Clinpharm USA and Excelsoft Services Inc.

Using NJIC to bring more companies to New Jersey

  • NJIC has reached out to over 675 qualified Indian companies that have a strong pipeline of potential investments, Lozano said.
  • Choose New Jersey is now working with 61 Indian companies — 27 companies that are making their investment decisions within the next six to 12 months, and 34 companies that are making their U.S. investment decisions within the next two years
  • Since March 2020, Choose New Jersey has had 23 virtual meetings with potential Indian investors.
  • NJIC has conducted strategic outreach to firms in the states of Gujarat and Telangana, identifying potential businesses looking to invest in New Jersey. Lozano said Choose New Jersey anticipates five companies from these two states to invest in the Garden State by mid-2021.

Expanding New Jersey’s education presence in India

  • As a follow-up to the economic mission trip, New Jersey City University President Sue Henderson and Bernard McSherry, the dean of the business school at NJCU, have visited India and began talks of opening an extension of the business school at IIT-GIFT City (Gandhinagar).

“This was an incredibly beneficial venture for all,” Lozano said. “To be able to open an India office, in spite of the global pandemic — and then see several companies expand into the state — is more than we could have hoped for.”

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