IAICC’s 30th Anniversary, Annual Convention on October 17-19, 2022, in Washington DC

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K.V. Kumar, entrepreneur and philanthropist speaking during an interview on ITV Gold with host Nidhi Kathuria. Photo: videograb from ITV Gold interview of May 19, 2022.

Executive Chairman of the Indian American International Chamber of Commerce (IAICC), KV Kumar, in an interview May 19, 2022, with ITV Gold host, Nidhi Kathuria, spoke on a range of important issues including addressing challenges for small businesses in the US, and his impactful role in US-India relations over four decades.

The 30th Anniversary Celebrations and Annual Convention of IAICC are scheduled to take place October 17-19, 2022 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington DC. According to Kumar, the Convention planned earlier, with a White House briefing, dinner hosted by the Indian Ambassador, and a reception on Capitol Hill, was postponed due to COVID restrictions.

IAICC has been working closely with the Embassy of India in Washington DC over the years to improve India-US trade relations. Kumar said Ambassador Sandhu has done an exceptional job during the pandemic that has severely affected the entire world including India and the US. “I think Ambassador Sandhu is a man who does more and talks less. He has done good work on US – India relations and has been a very good friend for Indian-Americans. He is representing India at a difficult time,” Kumar said.

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Kumar, who is also the Managing Partner with Starr, Mclaughlin, Kumar & Ackerman Group, is popularly known as ‘KV’. For over four decades, through his volunteering and mentoring roles, he has been engaging with small businesses, entrepreneurs, people with brain injury, youth, and community organizations. He is the only Indian American who has served six US Presidents in important positions in their administrations.

Kumar said the pandemic has decimated small businesses since March 2020. IAICC, he said, would be much larger today but for COVID-19. During the peak Covid season, he has traveled thousands of miles to help small businesses. “These businesses, especially the mom-and-pop stores and restaurants, who are suffering need help desperately,” he told ITV Gold.

Knowing which businesses to invest in is a “tough call” involving risks. The individual involved must show commitment, work ethic, and possess knowledge of the business.

Kumar added, “you have to be concerned about everything, and have knowledge of a little bit of macroeconomics, and how to cut costs.” “The right niche, right approach, and hard work,” are what pays off, he indicated.

“Business is not easy, but you need to have determination and a good implementation strategy to succeed. Don’t back off if you are not sure of what you are doing. Even if many things are right, one might fail. So analyzing what is wrong and working on proper strategies are very essential,” Kumar advised.

Currently, irrespective of what the President does, there is a limit to its effect, because of the many exogenous factors, such as energy constraints caused by global conflicts, Kumar noted, adding that all US Administrations usually work with “good intentions.”

All Presidents have different approach as to how they deal with other countries but they are all faithful to the US, despite their criticisms hurled at each other, Kumar pointed out. “At the same time they have to have a humanitarian approach including rendering financial support to the needy. Small businesses account for more than 60 percent of employment in the country. So governments need to pay attention to them, and leaders should be engaged more at the grassroots level.”

In 1992, Kumar suffered an automobile accident, and had to undergo rehabilitation for a decade. He helped the passing of “1996 Traumatic Brain Injury Act” by the US Congress.

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