Notes from India: Wrapping up the dealsby Gita Sitaramiah, Minnesota Public Radio
The deals between Minnesota and Indian businesses are starting to take off as Gov. Tim Pawlenty's trade mission to India wraps up Friday in Mumbai.
Mumbai, India — John Tarstad, chief executive of Titan Energy Development in Minneapolis, joined the trade mission to meet potential suppliers for the company's Sentry 5000D mobile utility system, a power generation unit that includes water purification and heating and cooling capabilities.
Tarstad expects to have an agreement around the first quarter of next year, after meeting three potential suppliers in India this week. They were the kinds of contacts he said would have taken a year to 18 months if not for the trade mission.
"I was blown away, and extremely impressed," Tarstad said.
Pawlenty told reporters that the best measure of how well the trade mission does will be how many business relationships are formed between Minnesota and India, and how beneficial they turn out to be a decade from now. To critics of the trip, Pawlenty said that states must compete in the global market to create jobs and export opportunities.
He also provided examples of his own productivity. Pawlenty said he'd met with an Indian conglomerate that wants to see a branch of the Mayo Clinic open in India.
Bangalore-based Wipro executives told Pawlenty they're interested in developing product development centers and training centers in Minnesota for their customers.
Pawlenty said he'd also met with Suzlon Energy, and Indian company with a manufacturing plant in Pipestone, Minnesota, is considering expansion, which would mean more jobs in Minnesota.
Brijesh Gupta, a vice president at India's Essar Group who heard Gov. Pawlenty speak Friday, said he thinks Minnesota will benefit from business partnerships in India as the south Asian nation's economy grows.
"The Indian story is happening," Gupta said.
While the governor spent most of his time during the mission with the delegation, first lady Mary Pawlenty's agenda was highlighting Minnesota's humanitarian efforts, including the hearing aids for needy children that were donated by Starkey Laboratories in Eden Prairie.
Many other Minnesota efforts also are ongoing India. Hope for the City founder Megan Doyle, who participated in the trade mission, will visit poor women who've received $100 to $500 microloans from her nonprofit organization to start small businesses.
University of Minnesota medical students told the governor this week about their work at an Indian hospital for the poor.
Mary Pawlenty said she found the country to be simultaneously beautiful and challenged. The sights, sounds and scents are often overwhelming.
"It's more than I ever could have imagined," she said.