Tel Ganesan

Tel Ganesan pays attention to the world he lives in and the one he came from. His Farmington Hills office lobby has one clock set to the current time in India — where he was born and earned a degree in engineering — and another set to Eastern Standard Time. He moved to Detroit in 1989 to pursue a career in the automotive industry, received his Master’s Degree from Wayne State University and landed a job with Chrysler, where he remained for 13 years. Working in quality control, Ganesan moved up the ranks, but knew he wanted something more. “I always has an entrepreneurial drive and I could not grow that spirit in a big corporation,” he says. He founded Kybba, an engineering solutions company, in 2005. “We help put the right people on the right job,” Ganesan explains. “We’ve created software that tracks training and skill sets of employees in real time — quality, cost, safety, morale…all those metrics.” When starting his firm, he opted to stay put in the Detroit area. “I’d been here for a long time,” he says. “Since my solutions are all focused on the automotive industry, I really wanted to be a part of where I spent most of my life.” Plus, there’s the weather — at least, part of the time. “In summertime, Michigan is a great place to live — I can’t answer for winter,” laughs Ganesan. “I don’t want to lie to people, Michigan is best in the summer, but you get used to the snow.” Ganesan is involved in Detroit’s Chapter of Talent, Ideas, Enterprise (TiE) as a platform to help spread the word about the importance of entrepreneurship as a life-long vocation. “Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the economy, without them you don’t have an economy,” he says. “To create new things you need innovation and entrepreneurs are a vital part (of this). Entrepreneur equals jobs equal wealth.” Ganesan believes that the Southeast Michigan area has the background to retool its economy, and that small business is the key to the area’s reinvention. “We put the first paved road on planet Earth on Woodward Avenue, the first car…we were the center of the universe, of Earth, of everything,” he says.“And somewhere we lost that innovative streak, people stopped taking risks and became complacent. We need to reignite the area and change the culture to an entrepreneur culture and mindset where people take more risks.” When immigration and entrepreneurship combine, Ganesan says a “lethal concoction” occurs. “When you marry these two forces together, you get tremendous growth and impact,” he says. “We need to be welcoming immigrant entrepreneurs.” Successful immigrant entrepreneurs need to work within American society and culture to reap the most benefits, says Ganesan. “Immigrants have technical skills, a fire in their belly, but they need other skill sets to succeed,” he says. “They need to learn how the culture looks rather than reinventing it.” He recommends the implementation of a mentorship program that would pair immigrants with long-time residents. “Immigrant entrepreneurs can learn from locals in terms of culture, and this would be a great way to integrate with them,” he says. Creating more entrepreneurs — from both foreign- and American-born populations — can do nothing but good. “Entrepreneurs create wealth– nobody disputes that.”

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