Founder of the Indiana India Business Council
As a speech-language pathologist turned community servant and economic development leader, Raju Chinthala created the Indiana-India Business Council (IIBC) to strengthen relations through economic growth and cultural exchange.
Founded in 2016, the Indiana-India Business Council has sparked a new wave of foreign direct investment in Indiana. In less than a decade, their work has helped create billions in economic impact and thousands of new jobs for Hoosiers. But none of this would have been possible without Raju Chinthala—the founder and visionary behind the Indiana-India Business Council.
Raju Chinthala first moved to the United States in 1994, working as a trained speech-language pathologist in Kokomo, Indiana. He spent 25 years helping patients across the state, all while becoming more and more involved in his local community.
Chinthala has always been a passionate volunteer, dedicated to building relationships and creating connections across borders. He worked closely with the local Indian, Asian and international communities of Indianapolis. And in the early 2000s, he became involved in the Indian Association of Indianapolis when his son joined their cultural programs.
Around that time, Chinthala approached an Indianapolis city councilman with an idea—a proposal to establish a sister city relationship with a city in India. Chinthala ended up with a call from the Mayor’s Office and an invitation to join a new committee focused on exactly that. In 2010, their work came to fruition, and Indianapolis officially became a sister city of Hyderabad, India. That year, Mayor Greg Ballard became the first Indiana mayor to visit India, while Indianapolis hosted the Mayor of Hyderabad, Banda Karthika Reddy, in turn.
This relationship laid the groundwork for future relationships with India in the coming years. In 2017, Indiana became a sister state with Karnataka, India, and Governor Eric Holcomb became the first Indiana governor to visit India. Chinthala was also involved in establishing a third partnership – this one between Columbus, Indiana, and Pune, India, in 2018.
After the success of these sister relationships, community leaders saw an opportunity to expand Indiana’s partnership with India into more business opportunities. That’s why Raju Chinthala created the Indiana-India Business Council (IIBC) to strengthen relations through economic growth and cultural exchange.
With Chinthala at the helm, the IIBC quickly grew and became a critical resource for the State of Indiana. He traveled to India with Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger four times, helping him establish stronger trade and investment between India and the Hoosier State.
Because of his expertise, Schellinger offered Chinthala a permanent role as the Senior Advisor for India at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and he decided to take the plunge.
“It’s a different path, one I never expected,” said Chinthala. “But I like [my work] and I’ve learned a lot. Of course, learning never ends. It’s an interesting journey to represent Indiana in India.”
Over the years, Chinthala has worked with many non-profits, served on several municipal committees, and still remains Treasurer for his local political party. He was honored with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award by President Joseph R. Biden in 2022. He has also been recognized twice with the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, Indiana’s highest civilian honor by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb in 2017 & Governor Mike Pence in 2015.
But his most proud accomplishments always go back to the community: encouraging people to vote, driving economic impact through investments like Infosys, and collaborating around the world to make it all possible.
“Working together—it doesn’t matter what your community, color of skin or political belief system is,” said Chinthala. “We have to get along so we can sit down together, address problems and find solutions.”