GIACC hosted its first “Samosa & Chai” Event of 2019 at Jai Ho Indian Kitchen and Bar. The event began with networking over delicious Indian snacks and appetizers and drinks.  Anita Ninan, President of GIACC welcomed all attendees and gave a brief overview of GIACC, its mission and objectives,  and past programs and collaborations with other organizations. Unmesh Mishra, Chairperson, then introduced the guest speakers prior to their presentations, and recognized GIACC Board Members, and Mr. Prasad Vanpal, Commercial Officer, Indian Consulate General Atlanta,  who were present at the event.

The first guest speaker for the event was Dijjotam “Dijji” Raina, Co-Founder of PalSolve, Inc., a startup company using apps for solving problems in closed trusted groups using discussions and reviews.  Mr. Raina presented the key features of PalSolve’s  feature rich app for HOA/Condo home owner communities, and Associations (Ethnic, Interest, Business, Non Profit and more) where you can choose features including – Discussions, Buzz, Events, Reviews, Deals, Classifieds, Chats, Member Directory, Files, Reservations and more.Mr. Raina is also CEO and Founder of MedOfficePro, Inc. a global company focused on backend healthcare services and software applications for Ambulatory Surgery Centers for last twenty years. Additionally, he is the founder of Crystal Children’s Centre, a world-class early childhood education center in Gurugram, India. He is an Ole Miss (MBA) and BITS Pilani (Engg.) alumni.  He is a resident of Alpharetta and active in many social causes as well.

The second guest speaker was Manoj Gupta, Head of Business Operations for ICICI Bank USA, who gave an overview of ICICI’s services in the US market and a comparative analysis of the Indian and US Banking industries. Mr. Gupta is a career banker with more than a decade and a half of experience in the Banking and Finance industry. In his role as the Head of Business for ICICI Bank’s USA operations, Mr. Gupta oversees financing of small and medium enterprises and Indian business in the USA. Mr. Gupta has been with ICICI Bank for the last 14 years and has worked across functions like Treasury, Corporate finance, Project Finance, Structured Finance and Debt Syndication.  He is a chartered accountant from ICAI and holds CFA, FRM, ERM certifications.

The presentations were followed by Q & A from the attendees and interesting questions were asked regarding the new app technology as well as ICICI Bank’s services.

We also had David Wiener,  Consul & Senior Trade Commissioner, Canadian Consulate who attended the event and shared brief details about the services provided by his office towards business and trade development and investment opportunities in Canada.

Anita Ninan provided concluding remarks including information regarding prospective Chamber events, including the Atlanta Indian Film Festival 2019 on May 10, 11, 2019 and a Tourism Event in the Fall.

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GIACC 12 4 2018 v3On December 4, 2018, GIACC hosted a Welcome Reception for the new Indian Consul General, Atlanta, Dr. Swati V. Kulkarni, and a panel discussion on Indo-US trade. Indo-US trade has accelerated in the last decade due to close relations between the respective governments, and sustained efforts of diplomats, business leaders and trading partners between the two countries. The defense, aviation and technology sectors have seen significant growth and Indo –US cooperation over the last decade. Major American companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Lockheed to name a few, have increased spend multifold in India, the 3rd largest economy of Asia and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. 

Dr. Kulkarni shared a current overview of Indo- US trade and how it has accelerated in the last decade followed by a Q & A with the audience.  This was followed by the panel discussion, moderated by Sonjui Kumar, founding Partner, KPPB Law, and consisting of Dr. Jag Sheth, the Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University’s School of Business; Atman Trivedi, Managing Director of  Hill and Company, which advises Fortune 200 companies on trade, investment and commercial diplomacy and politics; Elliott Page, Director of Air Service Development at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; and David Gault, President of the Direct Resources Group, a logistics and sourcing company that works with retailers and importers from all over the world, helping them bring their products to market.

GIACC 12 4 2018 v4Dr. Sheth focused on how India will become the second sourcing destination to China for export of goods made in India and at the same time, it will become the global destination for talent for technology multinationals such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook as well as for R&D across several industries. Dr. Sheth also predicted a shift from trade to foreign direct investment,  specifically in the defense sector.

Atman Trivedi provided a general overview of the US-India trade, investment, and commercial relationship, which will reference the positive growth in the broader U.S.-India relationship, the role of the Indian American diaspora communities, and of the talented entrepreneurs and private sector businesses in both countries who are also creating momentum.  

Elliot Page gave the audience a glimpse into the current cargo and passenger air traffic between India and Atlanta. He confirmed that India is Atlanta’s largest origin-destination passenger market without nonstop service and is a priority market for Atlanta.  The launching of this flight is vital to promote trade and investment, and build the “bridge” of demographic ties between these two nations.  While he did not confirm when this service would be launched, he tantalized the eager audience by stating that it would be soon!

David Gault, who has been involved in the US-India trade channel since 1991, shared his observations of the impact of the recent Trump tariffs, in that his customers are pivoting from China as the major sourcing option, to India and Indonesia, with respect to their furniture, lighting and other home decor items.

The event concluded with several interesting and insightful questions from the audience to the panelists. It was hosted at the Buckhead, Atlanta Office of Greenberg Traurig LLP and was very well attended by the GIACC Board and its members, other Business Chamber members, and trade representatives of the Taipei and Canadian Consulates.

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On October 18, 2018, GIACC proudly presented Business Continuity Contingency planning event.

We had Industry business experts present to share ideas with Business Owners about what kind of contingencies to expect and plan for as they develop a succession plan for an unexpected death or disability. We also discussed proper succession planning when eventually either you want to sell your business or pass it on to family.

The panel was presented by:


Douglas Stein, www.SteinLawLLC.com

Founder, Stein Law, LLC


Suzie Jurenek  CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Vice President, Insurance, Wells Fargo Advisors


Grace Puri Multani, CFP®, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Financial Advisor, Wells Fargo Advisors  


Some of the key points made were as follows:

  • Create proper buy-sell agreement with your business partners. A buy sell agreement is a legal Advice to aid in the continuity of the business after an essential member of the business dies, retires, becomes disabled or otherwise exits the business. Early planning needed to have buy/sell especially if business has more than one owner. It ensures smooth transition, consistency.
  • Insurance can be used as an effective tool to mitigate risk. This could be Life insurance, property casualty insurance, business overhead expense insurance, or disability insurance. For example a business can fund company through key man insurance that causes injection of funds to the company at demise of a rainmaker.
  • Planning. It is all about planning. You need to have your team of Accountant, Attorney, Financial Advisor be involved in the planning. Your estate plan, operating agreement, buy sell agreement are all integral parts of the planning to make sure the business you have worked hard for continues in the event of death disability and transfer.

The meeting was attended by several board members and guests.

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On our July 19th "Samosa and Chai" speaker and networking event GIACC hosted Imad and Reem Younis; co-Founders of Alpha Omega Engineering, a global high-tech company with offices in Nazareth, Israel, Atlanta, Germany and China that incidentally celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year. The session was attended by over 50 people and organized at AC Hotel Atlanta Buckhead at Phipps Plaza.

Imad and Reem talked about their journey as fresh young Engineering graduates just out of college in Israel looking for a challenging career who had to venture into tech innovation and start Alpha Omega because discrimination against ethnic minorities like themselves kept all the career jobs out of reach. Through these struggles where they had to operate in shoestring budgets and uncertain futures they developed innovative engineering solutions for Neuroscientists specifically in the field of neuromodulation work in animals. Imad and Reem shared that they key to their success was hard work and dedication of course but more importantly working closely with end users and Customers. They spent the first decade simply building solutions working directly with Scientists who one after another became their Customers.

As business grew, Alpha Omega made took its biggest step forward by venturing into medical devices by securing FDA approval for its products and technologies that they had so diligently developed with Neuroscientists working in animals. Since then, Alpha Omega has grown to close to over 100 employees worldwide with the largest market share in the United States in electrophysiological mapping equipment and technology for Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery (DBS). DBS is a procedure where electrodes are implanted in the brain in very specific nuclei or targets for alleviation of symptoms in movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease using electrical stimulation in the brain. To enable the Surgeons to place those chronic implants in the right locations in the brain, Alpha Omega has FDA approved solutions including hardware and software that help the surgical team perform electrophysiological mapping essentially acting as a GPS of the Brain (https://www.alphaomega-eng.com/haguide-30.html) for the mapping part of the DBS procedure.

Imad and Reem shared that they Company’s mission is to help standardize the DBS procedure so that it can be performed efficiently, effectively and quickly by more and more neurosurgeons worldwide making the procedure accessible to tens of millions of patients that are unable to have access to DBS. Alpha Omega has substantial interest in helping patients of movement disorders in India by bringing cost-effective solutions since DBS is still an extremely unaffordable procedure in India currently accessible to a very small percentage of the patient population.

The session rounded off with the point that a Company started by two people from an ethnic minority in Israel because they couldn’t find jobs because of discrimination is now one of the leading high-tech companies in Israel employing people of all faiths, demographics and religions. Imad and Reem Younis were recently recognized by the Israeli government to be among the top 10 technology innovation Leaders of the last 70 years since Israel’s independence.

Related Links of Interest

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The Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (GIACC) hosted the Atlanta Indian Film Festival over the weekend, on May 11 and 12, 2018, at the beautiful Historic Academy of Medicine at Georgia Tech, in Midtown Atlanta. Key partners in this initiative were the Consulate General of India – Atlanta, the New York Indian Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, and the India China and America (ICA) Institute.

The film festival was in keeping with the mission of the GIACC, namely, to develop, encourage, promote, and foster trade, business, financial, or professional interests and commercial relations between India and the United States, including, specifically, Georgia. Recognizing one of the rapid growth sectors currently attractive to both countries as being the film/TV industry, (the movie industry in the State of Georgia has grown in the last decade from $240 million in 2007 to its current $9.5 billion), GIACC decided to focus on this initiative as its flagship event for 2018.

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Lighting of the lamp with GIACC Chairperson Unmesh Mishra, CGI Nagesh Singh, President of GIACC Anita Ninan, Deputy Director of Mayor’s Office of International Affairs Vanessa Ibarra, and Dr. Jag Sheth. (Photo: Vinod Devlia)

 

 

 

 

Read the full story in the June 2018 issue of Khabar magazine.

Click the images below to see videos about May's film festival.

Film Festival Program   Film Festival Banners

To follow the career of Natarajan Ramji, who likes being known as the “Location Guru” for the Indian film industry from “Bollywood to Tollywood,” it’s best to have an atlas handy.

As chairman of the Chennai, India,-based Travel Masters India firm, he finds exotic locations around the world for film producers across India.

For Mr. Ramji, it all started in Singapore, but not with films. At first in the early 1990s he produced locations for music videos. Switzerland then became a desired location for the MV TV-type productions.

Due to climate change, however, Switzerland’s settings became less reliable and he began exploring locations in New Zealand and elsewhere.

As of now, he’s traveled to more than 110 countries and instead of locations for music videos, he’s into the movies big time, taking care for his clients of all the details for a successful Bollywood film to the extent of even arranging for Indian cooks for the casts.

On May 11, he’ll be flying into Atlanta from Iceland to check out Georgia’s claims as the “Hollywood of the South” and to attend the inaugural Atlanta Indian Film Festival being organized by the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce.

Lee Thomas, the deputy commissioner of the Georgia, Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office of Georgia’s Department of Economic Development, is arranging a tour of the Pinewood Studios Atlanta in Fayetteville.

No doubt, Mr. Ramji will be getting an ear full about films ranging all the way back to Gone With the Wind with updates about locations across Georgia for hundreds of feature films, commercials, music videos, along with television movies, series, and specials. And that’s not to mention the tax incentives the state offers.

The film festival to be held at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Historic Academy of Medicine will feature four films dealing with a wide variety of themes ranging from the ambitions of a nude model in an art school to the adventures of a modern homebuyer in India.

Anita Ninan, the president of the Georgia-Indo American Chamber, told Global Atlanta that the “India Meets Georgia” film festival is the culmination of a GIACC trade mission she led to India two years ago and sustained efforts of the GIACC to promote this opportunity to connect the Indian film industry with Atlanta and Georgia.

During the mission, the delegates visited a number of film and television institutes and met with actors, producers, directors and well-known Bollywood film studios to whom they were introduced by Nagesh Singh, India’s consul general based in Atlanta.

The two-day festival is to open on May 11th with a reception to be attended by Mr. Ramji and visiting Indian film directors, actors and screenwriters including Ravi Jhadav, Raj Shetty, Eisha Marjara and Ravi Kashyap, who will interact with Atlanta city officials, and Atlanta film representatives.

Academicians. including Dr. Jagadish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstardt professor of marketing at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and Dr. John R. McIntyre, a professor at Georgia Tech, also will be participating.

It is being held in collaboration with the New York Indian Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the India China and America Institute and the Indian Consulate in Atlanta.

To learn how to get involved in the festival, click here, and to learn more about it, send an email to Ms. Anita Ninan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The original story appeared in Global Atlanta on May 4, 2018.

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On February 28, 2018, GIACC hosted its first  "Samosa and Chai" Speaker Series featuring Leher Thadani as our special guest speaker at Jai Ho Indian Kitchen and Bar, in Atlanta.  The event was well attended and greatly appreciated by GIACC members who attended. The event began with networking over drinks and delicious snacks prepared by our host, Jai Ho. Networking was followed by an introduction given by Ms. Anita Ninan, President, GAICC. Ms. Ninan spoke about the mission of the GIACC and introduced Ms.Thadani.

Ms. Thadani is currently Associate Director, Public Affairs, with Edelman India Pvt. Limited. At Edelman, Ms. Thadani advises government and corporate clients across a wide variety of sectors, including automotive, food & beverage, chemicals, and energy, on stakeholder engagement campaigns and crisis communications management. Previously, Ms. Thadani worked as a Government Consultant with Ernst & Young’s Government Advisory Service, where she was responsible for driving industrial investment in states, enabling performance improvement of government schemes and programs, and developing industry-focused policies for India's Central and State-level governments. Ms. Thadani is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and George Washington University.

At the presentation, Ms. Thadani focussed her presentation on:

  • Highlights of the 2018 Union of India Budget and the potential impact on Indian industries
  • Key legislative/policy developments that have affected businesses and the operating environment in India over the last calendar year

This was followed by an interesting Q & A session with attendees asking questions relating to the Union of India budget, "Make in India" initiative and its impact, the Indian Economic survey, and other questions.  Ms. Ninan closed the event by thanking Ms. Thadani, our host for the evening - Jai Ho, and giving a short brief of the upcoming programs of GIACC.

2018 GIACC Group Board Pic 2 7 2018The Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors elected Anita Ninan of counsel at the law firm of Arnall, Golden & Gregory LLP, Jan. 11 as its president and Unmesh Mishra, area vice president, Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd., chairperson. The board also re-elected five former members and four new members.

Additionally, it outlined an ambitious schedule of events for 2018 including a film festival in collaboration with the Indian Consulate General, the India China America Institute and the Atlanta Film Festival.

It is planning a “Smart Cities” seminar in collaboration with Skipping Stone, a global energy markets consulting and technology services firm and the law firm of Thompson Hine LLP to be held on March 7.

Ms. Ninan told Global Atlanta that the event is to focus on promoting international business by importing and exporting goods and services as well as highlighting the Indian government’s Smart Cities initiative.

“GIACC is excited to bring this event to its membership since it is in line with its mission, goals and objectives, namely to promote and foster trade, business, financial or professional interests and commercial relations between India and the United States, specifically Georgia,” Ms. Ninan said.
Former chairpersons and current board members Ash Thakker and Sonjui Kumar.

The chamber is to continue hosting trade missions such as the one from the Indo American Chamber of Commerce in Chennai, India, that came to Atlanta last year and the local event held with the Sandy Springs Chamber where a number of its members described their visits to India.

And it will continue its (now) annual cricket match with the British American Business Council.

The following were re-elected to the board: David Gault, Direct Resources Group, president; Sonjui Kumar, KPPB Law, founding partner; Unmesh Mishra, L&T Infotech, area vice president; S.K. Ray, Forar Tech LLC, vice president and Ash Thakker, Global Technology Connection, president.

New members elected to the board: Sudipto Banerjee, The Boston Consulting Group; Jaymen Chavda, Chugh LLP, associate; Grace Multani, Wells Fargo Bank, adviser; Srivastan Pallavaram, Alpha Omega Co. USA, Inc. (from Nashville, Tenn.)

The original article appeared in Global Atlanta.

 

BrIndCricket Together1776680The two teams's players donning official uniforms (BABC in orange color) and (GIACC in blue), flaked by two West Indian umpires, Oral Simpson and Conrad Rogers, posed for group photographs and introductions by their respective captains.

Despite very cold and cloudy weather, the match began promptly at 12:30 pm when India’s opening pair of Rohan and Rishi walked to the crease. West Indian cricket commentator Enos Phillips (from Guyana) engaged the spectators with his fluent, crisp, and often amusing ball by ball commentary. India team made a slow start but later increased the pace with a flurry of shots by Rohan Dabir who scored 22 runs off 22 balls. But runs came slowly in just ones and twos. Due to drizzle, play stopped after six overs when India was 64/1. The players and spectators used the break to enjoy snacks and hot coffee/tea. Due to weather and time constraint, it was decided to play 14 instead of 20 overs match. Rishi retired after scoring 13. And Gautam stepped in. He hit a few crisp drives but got out for 19. Ketan, Tanmay, Sapan, Ashish, and Jinish batted but none could score against England team's bowlers Farrakh, Tom, Adeel, Andi, and Gordon. Three batsmen retired. England threw away 29 runs in extras! GIACC closed its innings at 109/3.

Read the full story in the December 2017 issue of Khabar magazine.