Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Florida News


Miss India Florida 2017
Janvi Lalani


Mrs India USA Kavita Pattani

Miss Teen Florida
2017 Sara Mitha

Miss India Florida 2017 was recently organized by IFC, Friday Films, Silver leaf Event Planner and Bollywood Dance Academy in Orlando. “The contest was a stupendous success, every contestant brought something unique to the contest,” said Florida State Director Hemant M. Pandya said. “It was challenge to pick one as each and every contestant was a winner.”

The winner for Miss India Florida 2017 was Janvi Lalani. The winner for Miss Teen Florida 2017 was Sara Mitha. The winners for Mrs India Florida 2017 were Kavita Malhotra Pattani and Sheetal Dave. All winners went on to compete in their respective national pageants held in New Jersey in December where Pattani, a physician from Orlando, won the Mrs India USA 2017 title.

The judges on the Florida panel were Jyoti Soni of Flavors by Jyoti Soni, Falguni Parikh and Anjani Pandey. 


Tampa Drybar operating partners
Santosh and Ami Govindaraju

DrybarThe hairstyling salon Drybar recently opened a location in Tampa. Operating partners are Ami and Santosh Govindaraju of Tampa. Drybar is known for providing only blowouts, with special emphasis on the experience. Guests sit on a comfortable chair at a bar where they can watch a movie, charge their phone, and enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne. The menu of style options include The Manhattan, The Cosmo, The Mai Tai, Southern Comfort, to name a few. The menu offers a look for every hairstyle need. The 1,750-square-foot location in the SoHo district has 12 styling chairs and is open seven days a week.

This is the fourth Drybar location in Florida. Drybar is at 711 S. Howard Ave. For more information, call (813) 675-2253 or visit www.thedrybar.com/locations/tampa/


Radhika Rangwala, a fifth-grader at Tampa Palms Elementary, recently presented her first solo exhibit at Temple Terrace Public Library’s “Artist Corner” for the month of December.

The 10-year-old is inspired by her mother, Shyama Rangwala, an accomplished painter in Tampa. Radhika, who has more than 50 paintings to her credit, likes to do zen tangles, water colors, sketching and acrylics. She has exhibited at Carrollwood Cultural Center for the last five years as part of Shyama’s Art Annual Show. She also has won first prize at the Florida State Fair art exhibition for last two years.


Emkidz, Inc. organized an International Music and Dance Show, "Musical Sensations” on Nov. 19. The evening raised money for local foster care children in the Tampa Bay area through Eckerd Connects Raising Hope, as well as for children in Atma Vidya Ashram, a Bangalore orphanage. 

The non-profit organization was founded by three high school students who are trained in Indian classical dance: Charvi Sharma (Berkeley Preparatory School), Esha Babu (Robinson IB High School), and Kiran Ganga (Palm Harbor University IB). Through their love for dance, the trio started the organization to "empower kids" around the world with events like cultural programs and dance recitals. Their motto: “from kidz, for kids.” The teens performed Indian classical dances and invited a variety of local talented youth who volunteered representing many parts of the world.

More than $10,000 was raised and all proceeds will go toward the orphanage in Bangalore and Eckerd Connects Raising Hope. Using those funds, the girls bought and donated boxes of requested basic necessities for foster care children and donated to Eckerd Connects Raising Hope. Kelly Rossi, director of Raising Hope, thanked Emkidz for their generous contributions. Also, with the donated funds, the orphanage in Bangalore can start a computer lab for the ashram children.

For more information, visit www.emkidz.org

USF, TiE Tampa Bay Enter 5-Year Collaboration Agreement to Support Startups


Executive Director of TiE Tampa Bay Raj Rajendran, left, TiE Tampa founding President Kunal Jain, joins Allison Madden, director of the USF Research Park, and Valerie McDevitt, USF Associate VP Technology Transfer & Business Partnerships, in celebrating the new five-year partnership between USF and TiE.

The University of South Florida’s Tampa Bay Technology Incubator and the entrepreneurial-support organization TiE Tampa Bay have entered a five-year collaboration that will strengthen efforts to unite investors and mentors with local startups. This agreement formalizes and expands upon what has been a successful partnership around the shared interest of growing the Tampa Bay Region’s knowledge economy.

TiE Tampa Bay is a chapter of the non-profit, global organization originally founded in Silicon Valley in 1992 by a group of successful entrepreneurs around the ideas of changing “the face of entrepreneurship and growing business through our five pillars: mentoring, networking, education, incubating and funding.” TiE currently has 13,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 61 chapters across 18 countries.

The agreement will help establish and grow successful, high-growth technology based ventures in the Tampa Bay Region and promote regional economic development by providing access to angel investment groups and funding forums, mentoring opportunities to facilitate entrepreneurship, and a global networking platform to help nurture and expand company success.

“TiE is currently the world’s largest volunteer-led entrepreneurial organization, and we are thrilled to partner with TiE and collaborate with their network of entrepreneurs across the globe to encourage the success of our companies,” said Valerie Landrio McDevitt, USF associate vice president for technology transfer & business partnerships.

USF and TiE Tampa Bay have informally collaborated over the last two years, bringing mentors and investors together with student, faculty and community innovators. Since October 2016, six events were held by TiE Tampa Bay with the support of TBTI including the successful Startup Shuffle, which paired a Silicon Valley venture capitalist with local venture capitalists and provided 20 Florida tech startups an opportunity to give 60-second elevator pitches.

“TiE Tampa Bay has enjoyed working with USF on joint programs over the past several months,” says Ramesh Sambasivan, chapter president. “We truly cherish this relationship and partnership of TiE + USFCONNECT and are looking forward to this collaboration doing great things for the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in the Tampa Bay area and in Florida.”

The new agreement and broader collaboration paves the way for TiE to establish a larger presence working with USF’s TBTI, a University-driven community partnership providing early stage technology companies with a multitude of services to succeed and grow. USF’s TBTI has demonstrated significant results in the areas of job creation, new business development and facilitation of research-based commercialization. In the past year, TBTI served more than 75 startup companies, which hired and retained almost 360 employees and received over $54 million in external funding.

The TiE agreement also creates mentoring and investment opportunities for USF students who are part of the university’s Student Innovation Incubator.

To become a TiE charter member or a part of its Tampa Bay Angel Fund Inc. investment group, visit http://tampa.tie.org or www.ttbaf.com

For more information on USF’s Tampa Bay Technology Incubator and USF CONNECT, visit http://www.usf.edu/research-innovation/rf/usf-connect/tbti/index.aspx

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