Entrepreneur Aakash Patel founded the fast-growing Elevate, Inc., a Florida-based strategic business consulting firm providing public relations, community relations, targeted networking and social media, in 2012, and he has quickly become well reputed for making connections and achieving client results.
A master networker and community leader, prior to Elevate, Inc.’s launch, Patel served as an Editorial Assistant at the Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau, the Public Relations Coordinator for the Westin Tampa Bay hotel and Aqua restaurant, and was the founding Business Development Director for Chamber.com (an application-based world-wide business networking website launched in 2010 with 5 members, and grew to 1.5 million+ members).
In 2014 Governor Rick Scott appointed Patel to a 3-year term as Chairman, Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County. Similarly, Scott selected Aakash as a gubernatorial appointment to Florida’s Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC). Patel often volunteers time to conduct TV interviews and write opinion editorials on behalf of the coalition in order to make a difference in awareness and action.
A driven life-long learner, Patel is a graduate of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tampa, FBI Citizen’s Academy, Tampa Police Citizen’s Academy, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s Mayor’s Neighborhood University, Tampa Bay Public Leadership Institute, Leadership Tampa Bay (Executive Committee since 2014), Tampa Connection, and College Leadership Florida. He is a current class member in the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership St. Pete program and a member of the Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF) Leadership Academy.
Respected for his engagement, Patel was named a Florida State University Alumni Association top “Thirty Under 30” (2013). Aakash was cited as one of Tampa Bay’s Up & Comers by the Tampa Bay Business Journal (2008), and featured as a “Rising Star” by the Tampa Bay Times. Additionally, he was denoted in The Tampa Tribune as one of “Tampa’s Networking Heavyweights”, in the Tampa Bay Business Journal as “Tampa’s Master Networker”, and in Tampa Bay Metro as the “Face of Connectivity” (2015 & 2016).
In 2015 Patel was installed as an Honorary Commander to the 6th Air Mobility Wing Director of Staff for a two-year appointment, something Aakash takes seriously, as his love for Tampa Bay is only rivaled by his appreciation and respect for those who bravely serve our county.
Patel had voting rights as a UT Board of Trustee when he served as Chairman of The University of Tampa (UT) Board of Counselors in 2015-2016. Under his leadership, the organization grew from 62 to 105 members; the largest historical growth in membership and in revenue (2015-2016). The organization also rose over $50,000 which contributed to scholarships for University of Tampa athletes.
A community advocate, Patel serves as: Vice President, the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, Advisory Board Member, Gasparilla Film Festival, Chair Elect, Centre Club Tampa Board of Governors (where he has been the Bell Ringer, bringing in the most new members 2013 – 2016), and Board of Directors Member, The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce (where he received the Top Performer Award for membership growth 2015 & 2016). Aakash serves on the Tampa Bay Regional Board of Advisors for the James Madison Institute, and currently is in Class 3 of its Regional Fellows Leadership Program. Patel was recognized as a Co-Founder, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bucs Connection Young Professional Organization in 2016. He is actively involved in the Tampa Downtown Partnership, and Tampa Economic Development Corporation.
Aakash was a finalist for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Deanne Dewey Roberts Emerging Leader Award. Additionally, Elevate, Inc. was a 2017 finalist for the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.
An in-demand speaker, Patel has engaged with: The Florida Council of 100 – Florida’s top 100 privately held CEO’s, students at Saint Leo, The University of Tampa and USF, career-seekers at CareerSource Tampa Bay, PPN & TEN. He travels to present for numerous clients, companies and entrepreneur organizations. And his efforts are not only in Florida. Aakash traveled to Guantanamo and, LackLand Air Force Base in San Antonio, and Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, through MaDill Air Force Base, traveled to Dubai with The UT Sykes College of Business, and visited Israel with the Tampa Jewish Federation. Patel has attended six benchmarking trips with The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and another one with the St. Petersburg Chamber Area of Commerce.
In 2009, Aakash co-founded the Leaders’ Friday Luncheon group, an effort that, each month, connects young professionals with seasoned experts in industry, the community, and civil service in a way that forges not just introductions, but true contacts. The annual VIP reception has become a mainstay in Tampa Bay for those who have attended the lunches and those who look to be included.
Aakash has been humbled by the variety of opportunities he has received, prides himself on his pride and determination to succeed, and is unique in his world-wide connections. Aakash is acknowledged for his perseverance and resiliency. It’s Patel’s view that what others may perceive as obstacles, he perceives as challenges, and even opportunities. He is committed to networking and connecting people to others, to causes, to businesses, and to Tampa Bay, because he enjoys helping people and making a difference. Aakash is consistently surprised by how many people truly enjoy meeting new people, and yet often feel as though they cannot gain access to those with whom they seek acquaintance.
With all of the memorable experiences he has been fortunate to have had, Aakash will never forget serving on the Honorary Host Committee for the 2014 Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) Awards which were successfully held in Tampa to international acclaim, and serving as the youngest member of the College Football Championship Host Committee, where he was able to procure six-figure donations!
While at Florida State University, Patel was awarded the Milton S. Carothers Ethical Courage award for his Student Government leadership. A college highlight was spending a spring semester at the FSU London Study Centre. Aakash Patel holds degrees in both English Literature and Political Science.