Bharat Desai: From Ahmedabad to USA, achieving tech and philanthropic success


(September 13, 2023) Bharat’s childhood was a perfect blend of Ahmedabad and Mombasa, which was quickly outgrown as he shifted to Michigan for his MBA. Soon after, Bharat Desai and his wife Neerja Sethi established Syntel, a multinational tech provider, in Florida. Despite the company’s success, they began to shift their focus toward philanthropy through The Desai Sethi Foundation (DSF), to improve the well-being of marginalized individuals by promoting education, entrepreneurship, and wellness.

Bharat Desai | Global Indian

Bharat Desai from The Desai Sethi Foundation.

“We have supported places like Princeton University, Harvard, and the University of Michigan. Through The Desai Sethi Foundation we assist young children in Miami and Florida City area, especially the ones from underprivileged families or orphanages suffering from developmental disorders,” informed the American billionaire businessman.

The couple started expanding the foundation to India by offering support to various organizations. They have backed the American India Foundation, a U.S.-based non-profit dedicated to advancing social and economic transformation in India. Additionally, they have provided support to organizations such as the IIT Bombay Heritage Foundation, South Asian Youth Action, Friends of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, and Indiaspora, which focuses on fostering community engagement and assisting underprivileged Indian Americans.

Bharat Desai | Global Indian

Bharat Desai and his wife Neerja Sethi.

“Since 2006, the DSF has been backing the American India Foundation’s crucial education initiatives. In more recent years, the DSF has been actively involved in enhancing educational outcomes by collaborating with AIF’s STEM-oriented Digital Equalizer (DE) program in 30 schools located in Amreli, Gujarat,” said the Global Indian.

The Desai Sethi Family Foundation had also pledged $20 million to support the renowned Department of Urology at the Miller School. This generous contribution will help in establishing a leading Urology Institute within the Miller School, with a focus on advancing ground-breaking research, expanding clinical services, and preparing the next wave of urologists.

“The generosity of The Desai Sethi Family Foundation elevates the University to a prestigious position among institutions dedicated to urologic disease research and treatment, both locally in South Florida and on a global scale,” said Julio Frenk, President of the University of Miami.

Desai won the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ from the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He was also honoured with the ‘Michigan Entrepreneur Award’ by the Harvard Business School and was acknowledged as the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by both USA Today and NASDAQ.

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