Nitya Capital CEO Wins Entrepreneur Award

The South Asian Chamber of Commerce presented the Entrepreneur of the Year award to Nitya Capital CEO Swapnil Agarwal at its 25th anniversary ‘Houston Strong’ Gala. The Indian American executive is also the managing partner of Karya Property Management. The SACC Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient has demonstrated outstanding entrepreneurial spirit, strategic business thinking and is quickly becoming regarded as a leader in their field. Agarwal started in 2013 despite having no experience in owning a business and using only his personal funds. Since its inception, the company has grown to include over $1.5 billion in total assets, includes ownership and management of more than 14,500 units throughout Texas and 250,000 sq. ft of commercial office space and today employs over 500 people. Agrawal also sponsors two schools located in Agra and Lucknow, India. The schools mainly focus on providing free education to the under privileged children. Furthermore, he supports Smile Foundation, an NGO in India directly benefitting over 600,000 children and their families every year, through more than 250 live welfare projects on education, healthcare, livelihood and women empowerment, in over 950 remote villages and slums across 25 states of India.

Happiest Minds Wins Global Award

Happiest Minds Technologies, a next generation digital transformation, infrastructure, security and product engineering services company, was among the 2018 Red Herring Top 100 Global award winners. Red Herring’s Top 100 Global list has become a mark of distinction for identifying promising companies and entrepreneurs across the world, the company said in a news release. Salil Godika, president and CEO, said, “We are excited about winning the prestigious Red Herring Top100 Global Award this year. What makes it all the more special is that we continue to receive a record number of customer appreciations. All these accolades give us the fuel to continue on our exciting journey of creating Digital Capital for our customers.”

Aspect Biosystems Receives $2.7M Investment

Aspect Biosystems, a leader in the field of 3D bioprinting and tissue engineering, has received $2.7 million from the Government of Canada’s Western Innovation Initiative. “From the very beginning, the Government of Canada has played a pivotal role in supporting the development of our rapidly growing biotechnology company,” said Tamer Mohamed, Aspect’s president and CEO. “This additional investment will increase our capacity to grow our world-class team, and together with our strategic partners around the globe, continue to unlock the profound therapeutic potential of our bioprinting technology.” "The Government of Canada is working hard to help western Canadian entrepreneurs turn their ideas into thriving businesses and create good middle class jobs,” added Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification-Canada. “Through the Innovation and Skills Plan funding programs such as Western Innovation initiative, we are helping to propel innovative entrepreneurs and businesses from start-ups into global success."

Ikea to Turn Rice Straw into Household Products

Ikea wants to turn rice straw into household wares in a move that could end up reducing a major source of pollution in India, according to a Bloomberg report. The Swedish company has set itself a goal of using only renewable and recycled materials by 2030, it said. Ikea is now planning to get Indian farmers to sell it the straw that’s left after they harvest rice, instead of burning it. The practice is one of the reasons why India is among the world’s most polluted countries, with the mass burnings resulting in dangerous smog levels, Bloomberg said. The first rice-straw product prototypes will be decorations and paper boxes, and Ikea plans to start selling them in India during 2019 or 2020, Ikea said in a statement.

Shasta Ventures Leads Series A Round by ISARA Corp.

ISARA Corp., a provider of agile quantum-safe security solutions, announced that Shasta Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm focused on early-stage companies, is leading a Series A financing round with a $10 million investment. “Quantum computing requires a wholesale, generational rethinking of how we secure the digital environment,” said Shasta Ventures partner Nitin Chopra. “ISARA is the clear leader as the only company with commercial solutions that can be implemented today. Complex systems used by corporations and governments will take years to migrate to a quantum-safe state and smart organizations are already beginning the transition.”

Prabhdeep Sandha Takes Top Prize at 3MT Competition

Prabhdeep Sandha, of Punjab, India, won second place in the doctoral category in the recent Three Minute Thesis Competition sponsored by the University of Mississippi Graduate School. This annual competition asks graduate students to present a compelling oration on their research thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes. They are allowed to use one PowerPoint slide. Sandha’s thesis examined nutrition, but her research interest is in food security. “One in eight Americans, or 40 million Americans, experience some form of food insecurity in a 12-month period,” said Sandha, a doctoral student in nutrition and hospitality management. “My research examined the impact of produce intervention on produce intake and behaviors of parents/caretakers of elementary school students in an economically distressed, highly food insecure, rural Appalachian Mississippi region.” Sandha and her research partners found the perceived willingness to try new fruits and vegetables was significantly higher in the intervention group parents, compared to the control group.

A.S. Kiran Kumar Receives von Karman Wings Award

A top administrator for the Indian national space agency was named a recipient of the 2018 International von Kármán Wings Award. A. S. Kiran Kumar, Vikram Sarabhai Professor and former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization and former secretary of the Indian Department of Space, received the award at a ceremony at the Athenaeum recently. The honor—administered by the Aerospace Historical Society and the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology — recognizes the efforts of the two leaders in fostering greater international cooperation in space exploration. "When you look at the list of people who have been bestowed with this honor, I realize that this is like a dream. ... I also realize that the Aerospace Historical Society and GALCIT are recognizing, through me, the Indian Space Research Organization for the outstanding efforts to make use of space technology for fostering and enabling the developing of an independent nation which obtained its independence recently," Kumar said.

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