Early Learning Coalition: Mission

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Aakash Patel, Founder and President of Elevate, Inc.: Wow! That is so interesting. I love that market research story.

Congratulations on the Florida Governor’s recent appointment of you as Chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough.

Tell our listeners about the Coalition’s mission in terms of early learning.


Aakash Patel

As you know, early learning education around the world is a big cause.

Early Learning Coalition: School Readiness

In Florida in particular, with the volunteer pre-kindergarten program and the Head Start Program, school readiness is what they call it here.

It has been a big mission of every Governor, regardless of their party affiliation. The legislature here in the state founded what they call the Early Learning Coalitions of each region.

Hillsborough County is where I live in Tampa, Florida. We’re the third largest Early Learning Coalition in the state. We have a budget of about $72 million. We have a board of about 24. We also have about 24 employees.

Early Learning Coalition: Affordability

Our mission is to make sure those who cannot afford to send their children through the VPK program and the Head Start Program have the ability through state dollars and voucher programs.

The Governor is an amazing entrepreneur. I learned a lot from him. I met him once he got elected. We talked commonly about India.

I grew up in New Jersey. My family is Indian. This Governor has a healthcare background. He had a background of being in India. We first chatted about that.

We talked about the importance of Indian education and the values we have in our system.

He asked, “Would you chair this important cause?” I was honestly amazed. I’m a single gentleman without any children.

I said, “Are you sure?” He said, “Yes, you can take it on. We need private sector folks involved in the political process.”

That’s really been my philosophy. Try something when you’re not expecting it. Take it on and own it. Put in 110%.

The Governor called about a month ago. I chatted with him for a while about it. I am one of his youngest appointees in the state of Florida.


Tell Us:

Do you appreciate the work the Early Learning Coalition is doing in Florida? Tell us what your community does in the comments section below.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Aakash Patel

The entire interview transcript is at: Aakash Patel NetIP (Network of Indian Professionals) Interview – Entrepreneurship: How He Did It, How You Can Do It, Too

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: NetIP