The final six regions across the country announced regional winners in the 32nd annual Ernst & Young U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year competition with six Indian American business heads being named winners, advancing to the national phase of the competition.
Among the six winners are four from the New Jersey region, announced June 28: Jassi Chadha and Navi Chadha of Axtria Inc., Ajay Singh of Slayback Pharma LLC, and Suuchi Ramesh of Suuchi Inc.
Jassi Chadha founded Axtria with the vision of building cutting-edge analytics and software solutions that will help global companies to effectively manage and get insights from big data, according to his LinkedIn page.
He currently is on the Board of Trustees of TiE Global, Board of Directors of Ocular Therapeutics, Board of Directors of SpectraMedix, Board of Directors of Panjab Digital Library, and Board of Directors of the Sikh Research Institute. Previously, he was co-founder and CEO of marketRx, which was acquired by Cognizant Technology Solutions in November 2007.
He earned a bachelor’s from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, a master’s from the University of Texas at El Paso and a doctorate from Texas A&M University.
Navi Chadha is a co-founder of Axtria. Additionally, he is a charter member of the NJ-Philly TiE chapter and serves on the board of other nonprofit organizations.
Prior to co-founding Axtria in 2009, he was a co-founder of marketRx, a leading provider of technology enabled analytics firm. At marketRx, he led the teams responsible for product development and operations management. During his tenure marketRx was awarded many accolades and was recognized by various institutions. Some of these achievements include being ranked in Inc500, NJTC's Private Company of the Year, Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 program, etc.
Navi earned a bachelor’s at Guru Nanak Dev University and a master’s from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Singh is the president and chief executive officer at Slayback Pharma, where he has been since July 2012. Prior to Slayback, Singh spent four years at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories from 2008 through 2012.
At Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Singh began as head of API sales and marketing in North America. He then moved to senior director of API North America and then head of strategy, portfolio and business development. He spent his final two-plus years as vice president of North America Generics at the company before moving on to Slayback.
Singh is a graduate of Hindu College, Delhi University, and the Indian Institute of Management at Bangalore where he earned bachelor’s, law and M.B.A. degrees, respectively.
Ramesh is the founder and chief executive at Suuchi Inc., a technology company that designs, manufactures, and ships clothing for “forward-thinking” American apparel fashion brands and Fortune 1000 companies.
Before serving as the CEO of the company, which she founded in 2015, Ramesh was the president of the company from early 2015 to July 2016. Prior to founding Suuchi, Ramesh spent 10-plus years at various analytics companies as a sales leader.
The New England regional winners, which were also announced June 28, included Shahzad Bhatti of Axiom Learning. Dr. Joanne Aisha Simon, also of Axiom Learning, was also named a regional winner.
Bhatti is the chief executive officer at Axiom, where he has been since September 2009, along with his wife Simon.
He previously served as the director of investments at Khazanah Nasional from September 2007 to January 2010. Before Khazanah, he was the owner of S.A.B. Group/Prism Learning Group from 1998 to 2007. During that time, he also served as the CEO of Four Corners Technologies.
Earlier in his career, Bhatti worked at Morrison & Forester, Yanagida & Nomura and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation. He earned an undergraduate degree at Columbia University and a law degree at Harvard Law School.
And in the Southeast region, where winners were announced June 28, Sushumna Roy Jalajam, the president of Softpath System LLC in Norcross, Ga., was named a winner in the consulting category.
Jalajam has been the president at Softpath System LLC since 1999, nearly 20 years. In addition to her role at Softpath, Jalajam is on the board of directors at the Greater Women’s Business Council, where she has been since April 2017.
In the mid-1990s, she was the owner of Bodhi Educational Society, from 1994 to 1996. She also served in human resources at VisualSoft from 1998 to 1999 before joining Softpath System.
Jalajam earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Osmania University, and an M.B.A. at Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya.
No winners were announced in the Michigan/Northwest Ohio, East Central and Mountain Desert regions.
Many Indian Americans were named regional finalists but were not selected as winners. Among the finalists included Dr. Niven Narain of BERG Health, Dr. Harith Rajagopalan of Fractyl, and Shabbir Dahod of TraceLink in New England; Neel Premkumar of Dyla LLC, Siby Vadakekkara of Marlabs Inc., Bob Shah and Ricky Shah of ODZ Holdings LLC, and Utpal Patel of Sunrise Pharmaceutical in New Jersey; Kumar Buvanendaran of PRIME AE Group Inc. in the East Central region; Saurabh Sinha of emids Technologies in the Southeast region; and Asad Malik of Amerilodge Group and Thiru Ganesan of Kyyba Inc. in the Michigan/Northwest Ohio region.
The regional winners will convene to Palm Desert, Calif., in November where a national winner will be announced.