Like his parents, Salman Bhojani saw an opportunity in Dallas.
He arrived in Dallas in 1999 and watched his father start a jewelry business. However, after 9/11, people refused to shop at her father’s store because the family was Indian.
“People were giving him a lot of hate speech so he had to shut down his business and was not doing well financially,” Bhojani said.
But he and his family persevered, and more than 20 years later, they are still business owners in Dallas-Fort Worth.
New York-based financial technology company SmartAsset analyzed 52 of the largest metropolitan areas and ranked the The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolis is the second best place in the country for Asian American entrepreneursbehind San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, California. Areas were judged on the prevalence of Asian-owned businesses, success of new businesses, and income and job security.
The study found that California and Texas have the most entrepreneurial success. There are 19,031 Asian-owned businesses in D-FW, according to SmartAsset, and that number is 15.33% higher than two years ago. Texas startup survival rate is 79.63% and nearly 16% of new businesses in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington are owned by Asians.
Dipan Mann, who runs CloudSkope LLC, a McKinney-based global consulting firm, says he decided to base his company in Dallas for three reasons: he sees Dallas as a massive melting pot, the Dallas area is business-friendly, and it is one of the fastest growing areas.
Mann said his company partners with “business first” to help understand clients’ long-term and short-term goals.
“Socially and emotionally, Dallas has one of the largest Asian communities in the country,” Mann said. ” It has not always been the case. But it has been much more so over the past two, three or four years.
Bhojani started his career at a gas station, cleaning floors and stocking shelves for $6 an hour in the early 2000s, then he bought a gas station with his family. He enrolled in law school in the evenings and helped run the family business during the day.
When he started his business, he says he noticed that many business owners were starting their own business but didn’t have the legal knowledge to document it properly, he said.
“There were partnerships forming and they were failing because they didn’t have these things that were supposed to be for a business,” Bhojani said. “They weren’t written. And so we entered this gray space.
Twenty years later, he runs a law firm in Irving specializing in real estate, corporate and business law, and estate planning law. His family also owns a real estate investment business, a gas station, and a title company. Bhojani is a former Euless City Council member and interim mayor who is currently running for House District 92 as a Democratic candidate.
Bhojani said he noticed young South Asian entrepreneurs using technology to boost their business and older entrepreneurs creating success through their entrepreneurial acumen. He noticed this trend in many D-FW companies.
Nick Kagal, vice president of marketing at Spin Sci Technologies, said his company takes its American employees to its development center in India to immerse them in the culture. Spin Sci is a Dallas-based patient engagement solutions software that sells software to hospitals and healthcare systems to create things like appointment reminders for patients.
The Indian team of employees are “creating solutions for a market they just don’t have a visual perspective on,” Kagal said. “We have a program where we will bring people in to expose them to what’s going on here.”
Veena Somareddy, CEO of Neuro Rehab VR, a Fort Worth-based software company that develops immersive exercises for critical therapy and occupational therapy, said she found solace in the ecosystem and mentors she had found in Dallas. Somareddy graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas.
“You have mentors who are very willing to help you,” Somareddy said. “You find Indians, you find Asian Americans – everyone is ready to help. They are so open to helping the next generation of entrepreneurs. And I like that, so I decided to stay and build my business.