Orlando, FL January 09, 2019- The Indian American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) made 2018 a year of growth and service in Central Florida. The year featured a series of new and improved initiatives under the leadership of new President, Yog Melwani, and a new Board of Directors. The IACC worked closely during 2018 with elected officials from Central Florida cities and counties, leaders from other chambers of commerce, and with trade experts from the Government of India, among other groups.
Throughout 2018, the IACC achieved a 35% Membership Growth. Media coverage was up 1,500%, and across Social Media platforms, the increase went from 18% to 186%.
January- Yog Melwani’s term as President of the IACC began. He introduced goals to help expand the IACC, and he and the Board agreed to host and or cosponsor a series of events to make a difference in the Central Florida business community.
February- The IACC hosted their 6th Annual India Day Celebration at the Amway Center in Orlando. The event was a successful celebration of cultural diversity and a commemoration of India’s Republic Day, honoring the date when India’s Constitution went into effect. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer issued the 4th Proclamation recognizing this annual event, proclaiming February 3rd, 2018 as India Day, in the City of Orlando.
The IACC thanks the Orlando Magic, Mayor Buddy Dyer and The City of Orlando for their continuing partnership and support for the annual event. People from the Indian community took part in the Street Fest, the Orlando Magic game, and India Day entertainment before, during and after the game. The IACC and Orlando Magic’s Indian fans supported the event with more than seven thousand group ticket sales and several suite sales for the big game against the Wizards, a sold-out game.
March- The IACC cosponsored a cutting-edge enterprise, focusing on existing green initiatives, and implementing more in Central Florida. The Smart and Sustainable Cities Collaborative Roundtable (SSCC) was held at Rollins College. The event focused on high tech solutions to improve services offered by the City of Orlando and cities across Central Florida. The roundtable also focused on how cities can enact more sustainable policies to reduce negative impacts on our environment.
The IACC hosted the roundtable in alliance with the City of Orlando, Rollins College and VHB. Orlando’s efforts are part of a growing national and international movement. Such examples include India, which has set a goal of creating 100 Smart Cities. They are collaborating with the U.S. Government and an American company to implement the intelligent transformation of India’s first smart capital city. Here in Orlando, city leaders have been reducing environmental impact through the Green Works Orlando Initiative since 2007.
IACC President Yog Melwani says, “Our panel of experts at the roundtable offered powerful insights about what we are able to do now and will be able to do in the coming years to improve our quality of life. Smart sensors and other technologies will create new jobs in Central Florida, while helping to reduce negative impacts on our environment.” Panel experts represented: BB&T, City of Orlando, GrayRobinson, Orange County, OUC, Panasonic, Rollins College, Siemens, UCF and VHB.
April- The IACC focused on its continuing efforts to build business ties with leaders in India. On April 20th, UCF, the City of Orlando, Orange County and the IACC co-hosted economic development experts and government leaders from Madhya Pradesh, also known as the “Heart of India.” It has more than 75 million residents, and it is the second largest state in India. Its capital Bhopal, and six other major cities in the state, are among the 100 cities which are slated to be transitioned into Smart Cities.
Mr. Vivek Aggarwal, Principal Secretary to Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, met with a Central Florida delegation to discuss collaborating on economic development opportunities. They include international investments; trade between Florida and Madhya Pradesh; India’s initiative to develop 100 Smart and Sustainable Cities; best development practices for urban housing, infrastructure and transportation.
May- The IACC unveiled a bold, new chamber logo. The logo symbolizes the chamber’s ties to India and its commitment to helping entrepreneurs in the United States expand their business opportunities.
The new logo incorporates the colors of the national flags of India and the United States. The saffron color indicates the strength and courage of the people of India. The white denotes peace and truth with the Ashoka Chakra. The green represents the fertility, growth and prosperity of India’s land. The red, white and blue of the U.S. flag indicates hardiness and valor-red; purity and innocence- white; and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.
June- The IACC was listed as one of Central Florida’s top 25 Chambers of Commerce in this year’s Book of Lists, published by the Orlando Business Journal (OBJ).
The IACC took the 16th spot on the 2018 list, as it joined the ranks of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce and the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, to name a few.
July- The IACC and the Central Florida Association of Physicians from the Indian Subcontent (CAPI) co-hosted the Membership Appreciation and Wine Tasting, for Members and Sponsors.
August- The 3rd Annual IACC and CAPI Business After Hours, at Dr. Phillips Hospital, was sponsored by Orlando Health.
September- The IACC’s 9th Annual Awards Gala brought together more than 300 entrepreneurs and business leaders at the brand-new Intermodal Terminal Facility at the Orlando International Airport.
The IACC honored Central Florida award winners in the following categories:
Gandhi Community Service Award: New Age Group (Hindu Society of Central Florida)
Male Business Professional of the Year: Prineet Sharma (Sharma Eminent Domain Lawyers)
Female Business Professional of the Year: Arti Kalidas (VaxCare Corporation)
Entrepreneur of the Year: Rajul Patel (Fence Outlet)
The Keynote Speaker for the 9th Annual Awards Gala was Dr. Dale Whittaker, the new President for the University of Central Florida. Dr. Whittaker highlighted not only UCF's accomplishments, but he also emphasized the importance of The India Center at UCF. The India Center focuses not only on India's role in the global arena, but it also develops partnerships with universities, companies, and governmental cultural organizations.
Each year, the IACC recognizes charities which make positive impacts within our local community. This year at the Gala, the IACC recognized the Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s Associations of Central Florida. Each group was awarded $1,000.00 for their dedication to patients, caregivers and families.
October- IACC members formed their first team to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, at Lake Eola.
The IACC also brought together more than 140 volunteers to help feed thousands of children at the chamber’s annual Gandhi Day of Service, held at the Orlando City Stadium. Volunteers teamed up to package 40,000 meals to assist the Feeding Children Everywhere relief organization. IACC partnered with CAPI, to purchase the meals and provide volunteers for the community service project. Also involved in the collaborative effort was Orlando City Soccer, which provided the venue at the Stadium, and Pita Hut Enterprises, which provided lunch for all the volunteers. This event was covered by WFTV, WESH and Spectrum News 13.
“Our IACC members worked hand in hand with other volunteers, at the 2018 Gandhi Day of Service. This project made a difference in the lives of thousands of children, at the most basic level, by making sure they have food,” said Yog Melwani, IACC President.
“Not only are we feeding children, but we have children volunteering, from ages 3 and up. We hope volunteerism can be instilled in them, so that when they grow up, they can host similar events and make just as big of an impact,” said Neal H. Patel, IACC Treasurer.
The IACC co-hosted the Consul General of India, Dr. Swati Kulkarni, who attended meetings with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Congressman Darren Soto, representatives from UCF, and at the time, Orange County Mayor Elect Jerry Demings. More than twenty Indian Associations from Central Florida took part in the discussions about creating new business opportunities. Dr. Kulkarni is the first female diplomat posted to this role at the Consul General office in Atlanta.
The IACC Women’s Forum, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, had a strong turnout where attendees were engaged in a personal/professional branding workshop, and enjoyed a distinctive shopping experience.
November- The IACC was a proud Chamber Sponsor of FusionFest. This first-year festival was a free two-day celebration of diverse cultures here in Central Florida. FusionFest was held in downtown Orlando on November 24th and 25th- it is a project of the Downtown Arts District with support from Orange County Government, the City of Orlando, and the Downtown Development Board.
FusionFest featured music and dancers from around the world; a short-film festival about people who moved to Central Florida from other countries; story telling; a fashion show; a marketplace featuring vendors from around the world; and international cuisine.
The Indian American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) is focused on “Connecting People and Fostering Business”. The IACC is widely recognized as the business organization for the Asian Indian community, as well as other individuals and corporations who currently, or in the future, would like to do business with Asian Indians in Central Florida or in India. Visit www.IACCOrlando.com for more information. The IACC is a not for profit 501 (c-6) organization.