Founder and President, Elevate, Inc.
Entrepreneur Aakash Patel founded Elevate, Inc., a Florida-based strategic business consulting firm providing public relations, community relations, targeted networking and social media, in 2012, and he is reputed for making significant connections and achieving client results. Elevate, Inc. has served upwards of 200 companies to date.
Q. Can you share a little about why you chose Tampa Bay?
A. In 2011 after living in Tampa Bay for nearly 5 years, I was not sure if Tampa Bay was going to be my permanent home. I had not started my business yet and was thinking of where my next opportunity would take place. As I was deciding, I turned to my group of friends who truly supported me. Our region has an incredible sense of community leaders. Both personally and professionally they have helped me grow, and I truly believe that I would not have been able to have that level of support in any other city in the world. I leaned on these individuals as I started my business in 2012 and have not looked back!
Q. How would you summarize the overall workplace culture of the Tampa area? Is there something that sets Tampa Bay apart?
A. The two things I constantly mention when talking with others about the Tampa Bay community are the people and its potential. The entire Tampa Bay region is attracting scores of talented individuals. That translates to a growing and diverse work force. That’s great for both existing employers and companies thinking about relocating here. But it also means we are seeing more startups in Tampa as talented men and women are deciding to pursue their dreams here. Which leads to our potential. I think we are just starting to scratch the surface of what this community can become. Water Street, the development of Midtown, Ybor, Westshore, the transformation is unbelievable and I don’t expect it to slow down.
Q. To what do you attribute your success?
A. My family. My mother and father emigrated to this country from India and Uganda respectively. They studied hard and became pharmacists. They each owned independent pharmacies before the age of 30. They have been a guiding and steady force in my life. My father and I both serve on the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce board and my dad has taught me that there is nothing more rewarding than helping to grow our collective business community. This was one of the first organizations I became involved with when moving back in 2006, and my father and I are the first father-son duo to serve on the board in the organization’s 20 year history. My mother also taught me not to have fear. I was just 27 years old when I founded Elevate, Inc. in 2012. Eight years later, I’ve worked with and coached more than 200 companies in the Tampa Bay area. That would not be possible if I feared introducing myself, making a phone call or asking a question if I needed help or didn’t know the answer.
Q. What advice would you give to young people who just moved to Tampa and are looking for ways to familiarize themselves with the business and social scenes here?
A. Learn about your community. Get involved. Find ways to give back and stay positive. For me personally, I find it exciting to help Tampa’s startup scene grow. We are creating jobs and opportunities for the next generation. It’s a great feeling to be part of the new energy in Tampa. I also encourage young people to volunteer for an organization that is giving back. For me, I have been Chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County for the past 6 years. I believe that everyone deserves a quality education, especially during the early years. I am proud to be an advocate for this amazing cause.