Aakash Patel:

Aakash Patel, an Indian American entrepreneur based in Tampa, Florida, was named Businessman of the Year by the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce. (photo provided)

The Indo-US Chamber of Commerce Aug. 15 announced that Tampa, Florida-based millennial entrepreneur Aakash Patel has been named Businessman of the Year.

Patel, Indian American founder and president of Elevate Inc., will be honored with the award at this year's Banyan Ball Sept. 14 at Armature Works in Tampa.

"I am humbled to receive this honor," Patel said in a statement. "I've always had a passion for our community. By recruiting companies to start their businesses in Tampa Bay, we're giving back in many ways. Not only are we helping the startup scene grow, we are creating jobs and opportunities for the next generation. It's a great feeling to be part of the new energy in


Patel was just 27 years old when he founded Elevate in 2012. His company provides strategic business and target networking consulting to help entrepreneurs learn, connect and grow in the community.

To date, Elevate has coached more than 150 companies in the Tampa Bay area, according to a news release.

As the son of parents who emigrated from India and Uganda, Patel graduated from Florida State University with degrees in both English literature and political science and returned to Tampa upon graduation in 2006. While he's focused on business and worked for top brands, like Westin hotels, public service has always been a passion of his, a bio said.

In 2014, Gov. Rick Scott appointed Patel to serve as chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County.

He was subsequently reappointed in 2018 for a term ending in 2021. In 2015, Patel was installed as an honorary commander to the 6th Air Mobility Wing director of staff for a two-year appointment, something Patel took seriously, as his appreciation and respect for those who bravely serve our country, the news release said.

"Millennials are changing the way we do business in Tampa Bay and across the nation. They are breaking conventions and spearheading new startups and technologies. Aakash Patel is a prime example of a millennial entrepreneur and game changer,” chamber president Pawan Shah said in a statement. “Through his own startup, Elevate Inc., he's helped spark and grow dozens of businesses right here in our hometown. We are thrilled to announce Patel as Businessman of the Year."

Tampa was recently named in the top 15 places for millennials to live because it's unique, welcoming, affordable and bursting with opportunities, according to a 2019 Livability study, the release said.

From the arts community, brew pubs, the Tampa Riverwalk, Water Street Tampa, and an accessible airport, the city is booming with new development, it said.

Founded in 1999, the chamber of commerce connects Asian American professionals and entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and improve their businesses through education and community involvement.

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