Another eight regions have announced their regional finalists in the 31st annual U.S. “Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year” competition with seven more Indian Americans joining the list.
The eight regions, making announcements from May 1 through May 18, included Maryland, Greater Los Angeles, Michigan and Northwest Ohio, Central Texas, Northern California, Northeast Ohio, Gulf Coast and Ohio Valley.
Ohio Valley, which made its announcement May 18, had the most Indian Americans named as finalists with three. Among them were Hiten Shah of MES Inc., Ravi Kunduru of Ventech Solutions Inc,. and Mahendra Vora of Vora Ventures.
Shah, according to his LinkedIn profile, helps build companies or invests in entrepreneurs or teams to build businesses. He has been an investor since January 2013. He has also served at MES Inc., or Metrics Holdings, since May 1999 as president. Shah earned a master's degree from UMass Lowell and an M.B.A. from Franklin University.
Kunduru serves as the president and chief innovation officer of Ventech Solutions, a Columbus, Ohio-based company he founded in 1994. He has served there for 23 years running. The Indian American earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Madras SRM College of Engineering.
Vora is a veteran entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience leading the growth of large, cutting-edge software initiatives. He has co-founded many hi-tech startups and orchestrated mergers with Fortune 500 IT companies. In 2015, Vora Ventures was named Tech Company of the Year. He was a 2001 and 2002 finalist in the EY competition as well. The entrepreneur holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's from a university in India.
The Maryland regional, which announced its finalists May 1, included two Indian Americans: Anoop Mehta of Science Systems and Applications, and Chandra Sabbavarpu of Valsatech.
Mehta is the vice president and chief financial officer at SSAI. He has been with the company since 1980, amassing 37 years of experience. Mehta has served on the board of directors of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants and was the past chair. Currently, he is a member of the Council of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, since 2008, he has served on the board of directors and is a past president of the Maryland Space Business Roundtable. Mehta is a graduate of the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Sabbavarpu is the chief executive officer of Baltimore, Md.-based Valsatech Corp. He has been with the service-based IT company since January 2008. He has also served in varying roles throughout his career at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, PayPal, Technocrafts Inc., and Prime Technology Group LLC, among others. He is a graduate of Kakatiya University, earning a bachelor's and master's in computer science.
The Gulf Coast region, which announced its finalists May 16, also named two Indian American entrepreneurs as regional finalists, including Gaurav Khandelwal of ChaiOne, and Swapnil Agarwal of Nitya Capital.
Khandelwal serves as the chief executive officer at the Houston, Texas-based ChaiOne, a global enterprise mobility agency focused on digital transformation opportunities with Fortune 500 companies. He has been in this role since June 2008. He also serves as the co-founder of START Houston, a co-working space for technologists founded in 2012. Khandelwal earned a bachelor's from Goshen College, and completed YPO Presidents Program courses at Stanford and Harvard universities.
Agarwal serves as the CEO at the Houston-based Nitya Capital, a real estate private equity fund company, where he's been since 2013. Also since 2013, Agarwal has served as the CEO at Karya Property Management. He has previously worked at Forum Partners, and Simmons and Company International. He earned a bachelor's from the University of Texas at Austin.
A pair of Pakistani Americans were also named regional finalists. As part of the May 8 Greater Los Angeles regional announcement, Pakistani American Sohail Masood, CEO of KabaFusion Holdings LLC, was named a finalist. And in the Northern California region, announced May 15, Ruzwana Bashir, the founder and chief executive officer at San Francisco, Calif.-based Peek, was among the regional finalists.
No Indian Americans were named finalists in the Michigan and Northwest Ohio, Central Texas and Northeast Ohio regions, announced May 9, May 11 and May 15, respectively.
The list of seven entrepreneurs joins 20 other Indian Americans who were announced as regional finalists in eight regions last month (see India-West article here).