Three Indian Americans honored as Small Business Persons of the Year

Sridhara Gutti (Alabama), Rakesh Srivastava (Nebraska) and Raj Mehta (New York) honored for staying power.

The US Small Business Administration has named three Indian American businessmen as 2020 Small Business Person of the Year for Alabama, Nebraska and New York.

All three — Sridhara Gutti (Alabama), Rakesh Srivastava (Nebraska) and Raj Mehta (New York) — were honored virtually during National Small Business Week Sept. 22-24 along with other awardees from across the US.

The Small Business Person of the Year Award recognizes small business owners who demonstrate staying power and substantiated history as an established business with at least three years of business operation.

Winners must also show growth in net worth and business expansion, increase in jobs and sales, innovativeness of products or services, response to adversity, and contributes to community-oriented projects.

According to official biographies provided by SBA, Sridhara Gutti is Founder and President of Essnova Solutions, a HUBZone-certified firm specializing in IT, full life cycle software development, administrative support, project, and program management, geospatial environmental, healthcare solutions and staffing.

Gutti started Essnova as a home-based business and has grown the business to 25 employees with more than $3 million in revenues.

Gutti credits SBA’s Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama district offices, Mississippi district office, and Procurement Technical Assistance Center for “providing the education and the guidance necessary to navigate the federal sector.”

The counseling that Gutti received compelled him to apply for certification in SBA’s HUBZone and 8(a) Business Development Programs.

Essnova received its first federal contract in 2017 and is assisting several civilian and Department of Defense agencies with promoting health and quality of life, acquiring software and hardware products, training and facilitating Army recruitment, and providing healthcare services to the US Armed Forces.

Gutti has also participated in SBA’s highly successful Emerging Leaders program for business leaders and was named Top-40-Under-40 by the Birmingham Business Journal in 2015.

Gutti said, “Simply put, without SBA’s timely assistance, Essnova would not be what it is today, a thriving diversified small business. We are immensely grateful to the SBA.”

Rakesh Srivastava, President & Founder of Innovative Prosthetics & Orthotics in Hastings, Nebraska, became familiar with prosthetics as a young child in India, according to SBA.

When he was 10 years old, his left leg was amputated after an accident. This experience led to a life-long passion for orthotics and prosthetics.

After completing his education at the University of Nebraska Kearney, he was certified by the American Board of Certified Prosthetics and Orthotists.

Srivastava opened his 600-square-foot clinic with two employees in 2006. Since then, the Hastings clinic has grown to 3,000 square feet. In 2009 and 2011, he opened two additional locations in Omaha and Grand Island.

Srivastava received assistance from the Nebraska Business Development Center in Grand Island. He met with NBDC Procurement Technical Assistance Center staff in 2013 to help him pursue government contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 2015, NBDC’s Technology Commercialization Team helped Srivastava obtain a prototype grant. NBDC consultant Sara Bennett worked with Rakesh in 2018 to help him expand his current operations to include 3D print manufacturing of prosthetic devices.

Srivastava is invested in his community both in Hastings and in his native India, including helping four companies in India set up prosthetic and orthotic clinics.

Raj Mehta, Chief Executive Officer Raj Technologies Inc., Commack, New York came to the US from India in 1978.

He knew he had to make money, so he took a minimum-wage job in the Washington, DC, suburbs before earning a college degree.

In 1986, Mehta started his own company, Infosys International in Plainview, New York, now Raj Technologies Inc., with a computer and a determination to succeed.

RTI, a certified minority business enterprise, has been offering IT products and services to equip federal, state, and local governments in the US with modern technologies.

RTI also offers platform integration and network management services for government departments.

For Mehta, nothing is more important than upholding superior work ethics, SBA release said.

By treating his clients as partners and working closely with them, RTI has earned a reputation as a successful, results-oriented company by its 32-year track record of performance and delivering value to its loyal clients.

Mehta produces, hosts and funds a TV show called “Interviews That Matter,” to help the community.

His corporate headquarters also serves as the home of LISTnet, helping grow the Long Island Technology ecosystem.

Mehta also serves and volunteers for many other community and charitable organizations.

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