U.S. Business Centers Launch

Motivated by the commitment to rapidly expand U.S. India cross-border investment and trade made last year in India by U.S. President Barack Obama and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the first-ever U.S. Business Center in India was inaugurated in Mumbai today. Senior representatives of both governments, as well as prominent U.S. and Indian business and civic leaders, attended a ceremony at the Center to commemorate the official launch.

The Hon. Shri Subhash R. Desai, Minister for Industries, Government of Maharashtra officially opened the Center and U.S. Counsel General Thomas Vajda and Dr. Mukesh Aghi, President of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) were amongst the panellists sharing views on the growing Indo-US relationship and the exciting opportunities India presents to the U.S. business community in India.

The U.S. Business Centers’ initiative is led by market entry specialist Sannam S4, Inc., and is supported by the USIBC, Citi India, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces and JLL. The first U.S. Business Center is a custom built facility designed to house new and early stage U.S. entrants to the Indian market. Based in central Mumbai, the Center combines world-class office facilities with in-house provision of the key market entry services required by small or medium-sized U.S. companies, universities, non-profit organisations, or trade associations as they enter and expand in India.

Services available to U.S. organisations via the U.S. Business Centers include accounting, payroll, compliance services, staff, recruitment and HR advisory, sales and business development support, market research and channel development.

With a focus on supporting U.S. companies in the supply chain, those planning to ‘Make in India’, and institutions looking for greater student and academic collaboration, the Centers will play a key role in aiding the United States and India achieve the $500 billion in cross-border trade and investment target.

Adrian Mutton, Founder and CEO of U.S. Business Centers and Sannam S4, and a veteran of more than two decades of launching and supporting international organisations in India, commented; “with the facilities and comprehensive services provided by the U.S. Business Centers and our partners, US organisations can feel much more confident about entering and expanding in India. The U.S. Business Centers provide the practical support needed to manage the local challenges an organisation may face when entering and expanding in this dynamic market, therefore ensuring the best chance of success.”

Founding Alliance Partner, the U.S.-India Business Council, is the premier business advocacy organisation dedicated to strengthening the U.S.-India economic and commercial relationship. Members of the Council include more than 350 of the leading U.S. and Indian corporations. The launch of the U.S. Business Centers in India was first announced by USIBC President Mukesh Aghi, at the USIBC’s 40th Anniversary Leadership Summit, in Washington D.C. on September 21 2015, which was attended by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and 400 other leaders of U.S. and Indian government and industry.

In commenting on the Centers’ launch, USIBC President, Dr. Mukesh Aghi said, “I am delighted that the U.S. Business Centers are being established in India. The Council is eager to provide support to U.S. small and mid-sized companies, universities, and skills’ providers that are exploring India as a viable investment destination. The Business Center’s integrated support model should make it easier for U.S. organisations to do business in India and achieve greater levels of success. We are delighted to support Sannam S4 in this necessary and timely enterprise.”

Citi India, one of the other founding alliance partners, has been active for over a century and now serves more than 36,000 small and mid-sized companies in India. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, also a founding Alliance Partner, was established in 1901, and is comprised of 98 world-class hotels in 61 locations across the globe, including India, North America, the UK, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. It is part of the Tata Group, India’s oldest, largest, and amongst the most respected business conglomerate. Jones Lang Lasalle the final founding Alliance Partner is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. JLL has over 50 years of experience in Asia Pacific, with over 29,000 employees operating in 81 offices in 16 countries across the region. The firm was named ‘Best Property Consultancy’ in seven Asia Pacific countries at the International Property Awards Asia Pacific 2014, and won nine Asia Pacific awards in the Euromoney Real Estate Awards 2013.

These Alliance Partners will lend their support, experience and hospitality to U.S. organisations using the Centers and doing business across India.

On behalf of Citi India, Tushar Vikram, Head, Commercial Banking stated, “Citi India is committed to support U.S. based companies that are keen to launch or expand their businesses in India through our partnership with the U.S. Business Centers. Citi will offer the best-in-class customized banking solutions backed by our global footprint and our technology-enabled market-leading offerings.”

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces’ Mr. Chinmai Sharma, Chief Revenue Officer, stated that “Taj is proud to partner with U.S. Business Centers and to welcome U.S. businesses and institutions to India with the true Indian hospitality for which we are known. This is an exciting time, with vast opportunities for industry and institutional cooperation between the U.S. and India, establishing a fantastic platform for innovation and growth. We are pleased to support this by offering visiting U.S. Business Centers guests a welcoming stay wherever they are in India.”

Nitish Bhasin, Managing Director – Markets, JLL India, stated, “With the positive economic and political environment in India, we expect to see a lot more interest from organisations looking to enter or expand their presence here. We are delighted to partner with Sannam S4 in their U.S. Business Center initiative, which is a step in the right direction. Our partnership with Sannam S4 will provide an integrated platform and one-stop solution to new entrants. Together, we will ensure that the organisations that leverage this initiative will find it easier to do business in India.”

The U.S. Business Centers will be introduced in the U.S., at Stanford University, in Silicon Valley, March 16 2016, during the first of a series of seminars entitled, “A Practical Guide to Doing Business in India” to be held across the U.S. throughout the calendar year.

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