Entrepreneurs Roundtable with new Indian Consul General in Atlanta
On November 12, which happened to be Diwali evening, Atlanta business leaders gathered for an exclusive entrepreneurs’ roundtable for investment and trade between India and Georgia. The roundtable was organized by Nitin Shah, CEO of Embassy Bank. The chief guest for the occasion was the newly-appointed Consul General of India in Atlanta, Ramesh Babu Lakshmanan.
[Left] Business leaders from Atlanta’s Indian community gathered for a roundtable with Ramesh Babu Lakshmanan, CGI Atlanta.
In his speech, Lakshmanan said he was ready to hear the challenges and opportunities to strengthen India and Georgia’s economic and commercial ties and assured support from the Consulate.
“One thing that we do need some help with is transferring money from India-based parent company to the U.S. affiliate company,” said Sounder Chockalingam, Director of Victory Sweepers. The money issues create many roadblocks to reinvest income which could create new jobs elsewhere. Anil Khatod, Managing Director of Argonaut Private Equity, said that if a smoother path to contribute to Indian charities as a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) could be administered, then many charity coffers would increase exponentially.
Another topic getting many approval nods was regarding transferring employees from India to U.S. with L-1B and H-1B visas. Raj Sardana, founder and CEO of Innova Solutions, an IT services firm, addressed how lack of visas creates many challenges. According to him, qualified candidates should be a top priority whether they come from one mile away or from overseas. Several roundtable leaders agreed that for the U.S. to remain economically competitive, it has to increase the number of H-1B visas. Nayan Joshi, Atlanta Chapter President of ITServe Alliance, the nation’s largest association of IT Services organizations, concurred. He added that ITServe will introduce legislation in the U.S. Congress known as the High Skilled Immigration Reform for Employment (HIRE) Act doubling the annual H-1B visas. Lakshmanan said his office would offer its assistance.
The fruitful discussions on trade and investment opportunities for India and Georgia maneuvered into “turning economic power to political power” as Nitin Shah steered the conversation. Harnessing the power of groups, Shah, in 1989, founded, and in 1993, served as chairman, of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), the largest hotel owners association in the nation with its 20k membership owning 60 percent of the U.S. hotels. Currently, Shah is Chairman and CEO of Embassy Bank, based in Lawrenceville, GA, making him one of ten Indians who own a U.S. bank.
Among the other leading entrepreneurs present were Harsha Agadi, former CEO of Crawford & Company, the world’s largest publicly-listed independent claims management company; Softpath CEO, Ravi Chander; Dr. Naresh Parikh, cardiologist and former President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI); Raj Deshpande, CEO of Pulseworks; Nick Damani, Board Chairman, Ultra Group of Companies; Subramanian Shankar, President and CEO of Amzetta Technologies, and founder of American Megatrends, Inc. (AMI); SK Raj, Chairman, Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce; Chatur Chhabhaya, CEO, CMES, Inc.; Dr. Jay Yadav, cardiologist and founder and CEO of MiRus; Mili Shah, attorney; and Praveen Kumar.
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