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Entrepreneur says N.J. is good for business, but has room to improve

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Ashwin Rao, left, is vice president, and Hiten Patel, is the founder and CEO of Collabera.
Ashwin Rao, left, is vice president, and Hiten Patel, is the founder and CEO of Collabera. - ()

As co-founder and chairman of Collabera — a $520 million IT staffing and services firm in Morristown — Hiten Patel certainly knows how to do business in New Jersey.

Citing a strong workforce and proximity to large corporations, Patel believes the state is conducive to enterprise.

“We’ve got global Fortune 500 customers and multiple ties to the financial services, pharmaceutical and telecommunications industries here,” Patel said.

RELATED: After starting Collabera with his last dollar, Patel setting his sights on revenue milestone

But Patel — who arrived in New Jersey straight from Gujarat, India, in the 1990s — believes New Jersey can improve its workforce by creating a friendlier environment for innovation.

“Costs of operation are continuing to increase and the environment needs to improve to be more investment-friendly,” Patel said.

“We achieve a lot of our innovation in Palo Alto (California) because it cannot be done here. It’s the kind of people, the technology, the partnerships — if you want cutting-edge innovation, than you have to combine with teams over there.”

RELATED: He got a business loan from family ... at 24 percent interest

Patel said that the talent pool in New Jersey also needs to be more willing to take risks and stretch their skills in order to be competitive with the West Coast.

“The innovation that Google, Amazon and Facebook have done — what can we do to bring that kind of stuff into enterprise here?”

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