[From September Issue 2014]
President of Shinko Advisors
“Japanese companies have great technology. In spite of this, when it comes to expanding into India, many people lose their way due to fear of risks and partly due to hesitation. I wanted to lend a helping hand to such companies,” Indian Venugopal TENKAYALA says, explaining why he started his business in Japan.
Tenkayala came to Japan in 2000. “At first, I was thinking of eventually moving on to the United States, but I decided to stay because I liked Japan. I appreciated the safety and cleanliness of things like the water, air, and the excellent infrastructure.” He continued to study, while at the same time gaining business experience in a foreign bank, after which he got permanent residency in Japan.
“I wanted to have a business of my own one day. I gained an MBA in finance in 2010 at McGill University in Canada and that was the impetus for me to begin preparations for starting up a business.” Tenkayala hoped to build on his business experience in Japan. In 2011, he founded Shinko Advisors, a consulting firm, to help Japanese companies expand their businesses into India.
“I recently took about 20 Japanese companies with me on a visit to India, showing them around various cities over the space of four months. In relation to their plans for expansion, I answered their questions on safety, infrastructure, management possibilities and finding local business partners,” he says, explaining part of the work he does. His company now has offices in Chuo Ward, Tokyo Prefecture, as well as in Bangalore in the state of Karnataka, India.
“The strength of Shinko Advisors lies in a good understanding of the business environment in both Japan and India,” says Tenkayala. “Just to give you an example, Japanese companies tend to regard India as a country that has a homogenous culture. In actual fact, India is an immense country in which the culture and laws vary from one region to another. The difference is so great between the north and the south in particular that it’s better to consider them as two countries,” he explains.
Another side to Tenkayala is his teaching career. He’s Vice Chairman and visiting professor at the Shree Institute of Technical Education, a private school in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. “I’m good at logically breaking down issues that are difficult to understand. When I’m dealing with a client that’s consulting, with students it becomes teaching. For me, consulting and education is practically the same thing. In the future I plan to concentrate my efforts on the business of educating Japanese employees in India.”
“India not only has a large market, but it’s also a country that can be a base from which to sell products to the Middle East and Africa. Although many Japanese companies are sending employees to India these days, there are times when I feel that their international business training is inadequate. I want to train and support such employees, to help Japanese companies launch their business in India more efficiently,” he says.
Text: SAZAKI Ryo