Mendota Heights, Minn. (April 1, 2014) — Karai Chinniah Sukumar, President and CEO of TAJ Technologies, Inc., based in Mendota Heights, has been named the Minnesota Entrepreneurial Success of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Entrepreneurial Success Award is selected from individuals who own and operate or who bear principal responsibility for operating a business. Nominees for this award must own or operate a business that initially was defined as “small” under the applicable SBA size standards, developed into a large business and must have received SBA assistance to help the business grow.
Doug Eden, President of Cargill Malt, nominated Sukumar for this award.
Karai Chinniah Sukumar was born in India and grew up in a large family with very limited means during the post-colonial years. He attended a local school where he learned English and later went on to college and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Supported by his friends and family, Sukumar arrived in the U.S. in 1973 with the proverbial suitcase and a few hundred dollars in his pocket. He continued to work hard and was determined to make a go of it in the Twin Cities. He graduated from University of Minnesota in 1980 with an MBA – all while he was working full-time as an engineer.
Sukumar worked at Control Data from the late 70s until 1986 working his way through manufacturing, systems development and marketing. In 1986, Control Data was downsizing rapidly and as a result Sukumar lost his job.
With the challenge to make a decision on his next steps, Sukumar started his own company, TAJ Technologies, Inc. with the vision to help customers manage automation.
TAJ’s success comes from being an honest and trustworthy vendor for IT services for all its clients and by treating their employees well. Customers know when they hire TAJ they get value for their investments and TAJ stands behind its service. Employees show their loyalty when they know TAJ follows the rules and deals with all employees fairly.
TAJ was a participant in SBA 8(a) program from 1991 to 2000. In 1999, SBA awarded Sukumar the “Minority Small Business Person of the Year” award. During the early 1990s, SBA assisted TAJ with formulating a business plan and implementing an accounting system which they still use today. As the business grew and when they needed a larger space, TAJ received and SBA-guaranteed 504 loan to build their own office building which they have occupied since 1999.
TAJ ranked in the Inc. 500 listing of fastest growing companies in 1997 and 1998. With the substantial growth it experienced in the years since then, TAJ ranked in the Inc. 5000 listing in 2009 and 2010. TAJ has posted a profitable operation every year since it began.
In addition to his work, Sukumar is an active member in the community who volunteers during his off time to numerous charities. During his time as the International Service Director for Rotary World Community Service, he helped to provide healthcare, sanitation and education to India.
Through his dedication and leadership, he was recognized by the Rotary District with the “Service Above Self Award.”
Sukumar will be honored at the Minnesota Small Business Week Awards program on May 6, 2014, at the Marriott Minneapolis Northwest.