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The St. Louis Regional Chamber announced that it has forged an important trade, educational and business partnership between St. Louis and the State of Telangana, India’s leading state for technology, biosciences, entrepreneurship and aviation. This relationship, which the Chamber says is unprecedented, is the result of a recent mission trip to Hyderabad, India by local leaders from the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the Missouri Partnership, T-REX, BioSTL, GlobalSTL, University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) and Webster University.
The partnership is due in large part to the passion and persistence of local business leader Deepak Kant Vyas, who has lived in St. Louis for over 30 years and has grown his technology company Redberri on Cherokee Street in the Benton Park neighborhood.
“I’ve served as an official ambassador of St. Louis for the last 20 years; I love this place so much,” says Vyas, whose foundation helped fund the trip. “The kind of attention and reception we received in Hyderabad was historic and unprecedented. The involvement between the regions is a great opportunity to build prosperity, together.”
The resulting memorandum of understanding agreement, signed between the Regional Chamber and the State of Telangana in southern India, sets a framework for mutual cooperation and economic development collaboration between the world’s top two AgTech and bioscience regions. For St. Louis businesses and startups, this means having access to a growing and dynamic market. The Regional Chamber says the effort is part of its strategic plan to improve economic opportunities for St. Louis businesses and strengthen its reputation as a leader in entrepreneurism and innovation across the world.
The partnership agreement ensures:
- Telangana State’s startup incubator, T-Hub, will establish its midwestern US office in T-REX in Downtown St. Louis and bring jobs here. T-Hub is India’s largest new business incubator focusing on cyber security, information, financial and agricultural technology startups, with over 500+ startups involved.
- St. Louis-based startups will now have access to investment, manufacturing contacts and growth opportunities in India, the world’s fastest growing economy.
- St. Louis and Telangana will work together to foster trade, investment and joint-venture opportunities for existing St. Louis companies, such as Wells Fargo Advisors, Emerson and Monsanto.
- The Chamber will explore the feasibility of establishing a satellite office in Hyderabad, Telengana to promote two-way trade and investment.
- India’s largest university, Osmania University, home to over 400,000 students, will explore options to establish partnerships with UMSL and Webster University.
India is home to the world’s second-most populous nation after China, and its young and educated workforce is growing exponentially. By 2030, it is estimated that India will have about 125 million working-age men and women with college educations—more than any other country on earth. The coming surge in a relatively well-educated Indian workforce implies India has the potential to become a much larger market for US exports and finance, as well as a much larger supplier of well-priced goods and services for American consumers.
Telangana’s economy has been mainly focused on agriculture, but the state is quickly emerging as a leader in the AgTech, bioscience, FinTech and cybersecurity technology industries. According to the St. Louis Regional Chamber, these common strengths made Missouri and St. Louis ideal partners to help grow each other’s economy.
“The partnership will give St. Louis companies access to the world’s fastest-growing economy, and will give Indian companies access to the talent and resources here in St. Louis,” said St. Louis Regional Chamber Senior Vice President of Economic Development Jim Alexander.
“Partnering now with tech-focused innovators in Hyderabad and at T-Hub makes perfect sense in terms of the economic growth model we are pursuing for St. Louis,” said Patricia Hagen, president and executive director of T-REX. “We have work to do to create structures for support of these partnerships, but we are well on the way to developing successful initiatives with willing and enthusiastic partners in Telangana, in Hyderabad, and within T-Hub.”
“Doors opened during this initial trip with government and innovation leaders in Hyderabad are a great first step to establishing a bridge between the St. Louis and Telangana innovation communities,” reported Donn Rubin, president and CEO of BioSTL, the organization leading the GlobalSTL initiative to establish strategic partners from Israel, Ireland, India and other parts of the world for St. Louis startups.
This May, an Osmania University chancellor will visit St. Louis and UMSL to help establish a cooperative degree program between the two universities.
“St. Louis now has the attention of top Hyderabad leadership – political, administrative, government and business. I have been in St. Louis for 30 years, and I’ve never see this kind of welcome in any region,” says Vyas. I feel very humble to play a role in getting that kind of attention for my home state.”