JUNE 2017
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Florida News


Vijayn Nair of Tampa was recently voted as the District Director for Toastmaster International’s District 48, which has 132 clubs and 3,000 members. The two-time Distinguished Toastmaster awardee has held several positions in Toastmasters. In 2004, he was voted as the lieutenant governor, marketing, for New York and New Jersey. In both instances, he was the first Indian to hold the top three positions in the two districts. Toastmaster International’s mission is “To Empower Individuals to Become More Effective Communicators and Leaders.”

Dr. M. P. Ravindra NathanNair first joined Toastmasters in 1995 while job hunting after completing his graduate studies in Project Management from Western Carolina University. Howard Ross, who taught communication at New York University, asked him the question that would change Nair’s life and open up many opportunities. “Have you heard of Toastmasters?”

Nair became president of Hornet’s Nest Toastmasters in Charlotte. “I was happy to take up responsibilities since I was already there. The first day in my club, I helped put away the chairs and tables and someone asked me to be the Sergeant at Arms. I agreed immediately. Six months later, I was the president of the club”, he reminisces.

He has trained more than 600 children in the eight-week Youth Leadership Program. Four of the participants from the program were Hillsborough County valedictorians in 2016. He is vice president of the Federation of Indian Associations, secretary of SASTA trustees, and president of the Malayalee Association of Tampa.

Nair can be reached at VRNAIRS@yahoo.com


Dr. M. P. Ravindra Nathan

Kunal Jain

TiE Tampa Bay Angel Fund (TTBAF) was officially announced during the TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) annual gala late last year. The starting fund is an impressive $3 million dedicated to support startups and early-stage companies in Tampa Bay and North-Central Florida.

TTBAF is funded by 30 investors from the Indian community of Tampa Bay who pooled together $2 million for the fund with the remaining $1 million matched by philanthropist Dr. Kiran C. Patel. The fund will invest in early stage-startups in Tampa Bay or within driving distance. Its goal is to help the best among them with impact investments so wealth can be generated for the region, says CFO Seema Jain.

Tampa Bay is an ideal location for growth-stage companies due to the concentration across North-Central Florida of business mentors, and talented innovators/employees; multiple research universities that are supportive of start-up and spinout companies; and affordable costs compared with other entrepreneurial cities. However, new and growing companies struggle to secure early-stage funding because of a lack of angel investors. The economic impact on the community is significant as promising firms are forced to migrate to where the capital opportunities and soft landing support exists. TTBAF endeavors and is committed to change this exodus of talent.

According to Chair Shilen Patel, “TTBAF will invest in early-stage and growth-stage companies that have high-growth opportunities, such as technology companies, life sciences companies, manufacturing companies, and select products and service companies.”

Story provided by Kunal Jain, founder and chairman of TIE Tampa and managing member of TiE Tampa Bay Angel Fund. He can be reached at (727) 460-0419, email kunalj@practiceforces.com or visit www.ttbaf.com

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