Being influential does not necessarily mean being ‘famous or popular’, but rather having the capacity to impact others through your presence and actions, and at Goan Insider, we love to celebrate those who are positively influencing others, no matter how small. There have been a few individuals who managed to contribute to the global recognition of Goa in 2021. Here’s Goans Insider’s list of the 50 Most Influential People of 2021 in no particular order.
Shri Manohar Parrikar
Remembering and honouring a true visionary and son of the Goan soil who has contributed a lot to the state. Former Defence Minister of India and former Chief Minister of Goa, Shri Manohar Parrikar was awarded Padma Bhushan posthumously in 2021. He was the first IITian to become the Chief Minister of a state in India, the first Goan to become a cabinet-rank minister at the Centre, and also the first Chief Minister of a state to continue in office for over a year despite being diagnosed with terminal-stage cancer.
The Indian Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses was also renamed the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses
Odette Mascarenhas, also popularly known as the ‘culinary queen of Goa’, is a celebrated author, television host, food critic and a well known food columnist. She is also the president of the Goan Culinary Club, a non-profit organisation working towards preserving the authenticity of Goan cuisine and also researching long lost recipes of the past with local chefs. She is an author of 12 books and the curator for Serendipity Arts festival for 3 years with an objective to showcase food as Art. She is also the Food critic for the Times of India in Goa till date and is the author of the Times food guide since 2012. She has hosted her own local TV ‘food’ series on Goa 365 and also International TV shows with celebrity Chefs Vikas Khanna, David Rocco, and Ranbeer Brar to promote Goan cuisine internationally.
She is the winner of the Gourmand World cookbook awards 2008 (the Special Jury award) for her book ‘Masci the Man behind the legend’, which was the same award won by Julia Childs in 1993. A few other awards to her name include: Goa Woman of the Decade (Achievers award) by the Woman’s Economic forum, National ‘Unsung Young Entrepreneur’ initiative of CNBC TV 18 and Lufthansa, Trinity Medallion for outstanding contribution towards Goan cuisine presented by the Chief Minister of Goa.
Rajesh Kumar is the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Goa Police. He was awarded with the President’s police medal (PPM) in 2021 for his meritorious and distinguished service in 2015. PPM is the highest award given to the police officers in the country for their professional competence and dedication. Kumar’s meritorious and distinguished services earned him the President’s medal for 2015.
Kumar was posted at various locations including the UN mission in Kosovo for the year 2007-2008, as assistant commissioner of police (ACP) – traffic, sub-division Punjabi Bagh, personal security officer (PSO) to the President of India, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) North-east region, DCP Supreme Court security, chief vigilance officer at New Delhi among other posts.
Sahil Adwalpalkar, the heir of the renowned Adwalpalkar Constructions ventured into hospitality with SinQ Nightclub in 2012 and never looked back ever since then. Goan nightlife would not be the same without some of the most buzzing pubs like Soro, Showbar, SinQ Beach and Soho, all credited to his name. Likewise, the resorts and restaurants under the SinQ hospitality chain offer a wholesome and satisfactory experience. In 2021, Sahil launched SinQ Nautica which has it’s first yacht ‘Aurora’ hosting some blissful parties by the serene river Mandovi.
Vince started his journey in the mid-’90s as an audio engineer and then moved to Australia to study Music Business Management. A few years after returning, he released his debut album “Saint & Sinner”. Always searching for his next story, he spent over four years producing his debut documentary, “Saxtticho Koddo – The Granary of Salcete”, an ethnographic film about the agrarian culture of his village Curtorim and the intrinsic relationship rice has with the Goan people.
In 2021, he devoted his time entirely to his latest project, “Get Creative Goa”, an online platform that unifies the various creators in Goa across multiple genres. When Vince started back in the early ’90s, he hardly had any support as a creative guy and was mostly discouraged from expressing his creative side. He still sees the problem persisting in Goa today where so much or great talent is going unnoticed or pressured into doing other things. Hence he launched Get Creative Goa, where the goal is to shine a light on the immense creative potential that Goa has and support them to get discoverable so that they may get work, collaborate and have their creativity positively impact our Goan society.
Aneesh Gera is a Music Producer, DJ, Radio Presenter, Nightlife Consultant, Audio Engineer, Record Label Owner and a very well known personality in the entertainment industry. Aneesh’s biggest personal project has been breaking the stigma related to mental health by carrying out several awareness campaigns. Along with the assistance of his friend Remo Fernandes / Dr Vikram Patel ( Harvard Medical School ) Dr. Nandita De Souza, Manasi Scott, Suchitra Pillai, SP Sammy Tavares, David D’Souza, Dr, Peter & Donna from COOJ & so many more, he put together the ‘Break the Stigma’ campaign. In 2021, he managed to merge his work & passion project with the music video for his song Cocoon which was released on TV via VH1 in June. It ended up hitting the World Top 100 Chart. What was even more rewarding was his other records Zulu, Hallucinogen, Memory all hitting the World Top 100 Chart with Memory peaking the highest at #13. His music is streamed worldwide and his record with Mangal Suvarnan TIME passed the 100,000 stream mark globally. In 2021, he also passed the 5 million streaming mark on Spotify worldwide. Another highlight for Aneesh was getting the opportunity to remix one of his all time music heroes, Music Icon & Multi Grammy Nominee – BT for Black Hole Recordings, founded by Tiesto. He has also performed at the Formula1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and signed for ‘rcrdshp’ to moving into the NFT world for his music.
During that horrific 2nd wave of Covid19 in India, Aneesh used his social media reach to help anyone in need whose requirements ranged from beds to O2 to basic medicals to blood etc. He did a lot of grocery runs to pharmacy errands with the help of his Shruti Chatruvedi and Arnold Wilson who had both started COVID Relief campaigns. Aneesh is a huge advocate for the adoption of street dogs or rescue dogs and in 2021 I was asked by CWATY to endorse their national adoption movement along with John Abhraham, Farah Khan & Poonam Mahajan to name a few.
Vinayak Vishnu Khedekar
Vinayak Khedekar is Goa’s noted folklorist, author and scriptwriter and former journalist. He was named recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri in 2021 by the Government of India. Vinayak who hails from the village of Savoi-Verem, has been chronicling Goa’s cultural forms, including folk dances, tribal craft, through plays in Konkani & Marathi, research articles and books.
Having more than two dozen publications to his name, Khedekar was also a journalist writing for local Marathi daily Gomantak and The Navhind Times and was the Goa correspondent for Kesari, a Marathi Newspaper from Maharashtra. He has been the correspondent for the news agencies Samachar Bharati and Hindustan Samachar besides also contributing to Loksatta, among others. He has also worked on the advisory panel of ICCR New Delhi for folk Art and Puppetry for Festival of India in USSR.
Lianne Texeira Singh
Lianne Texeira Singh is the founder of Feisty Lu, a boutique and custom clothing brand. Feisty Lu promotes sustainability through vintage wear, something that is new to Goa. She is also a writer, having written for series and graphic novels, with most of her projects being based on Goa. She was awarded the 2020 Comic Con silver award for best writing and graphic novel for her superhero book called ‘The Beginning’. The book is about a local Goan girl who fights for the environment and forest lands in Goa. Her goal is to promote and create narratives around the Goan culture into the mainstream business and media industry.
Picture Credits: Aditi Tailang
Albino Giovanni Gomes is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters. Albino assisted for the goal scored by Jordan Murray against SC East Bengal in January 2021, making him the first Indian goalkeeper and second in overall goalkeepers to have an assist in Indian Super League (ISL). During the match against Mumbai City in 2020, Albino saved a penalty in the 78th minute, making him the only goalkeeper to save 3 penalties in a single Indian Super League season since 2015. He made a mark in the 2021 Durand Cup, making two appearances in the historic tournament.
Nolan Mascarenhas is an award winning photojournalist, a PhD holder, has 2 Masters degrees, 2 Post Graduates and 3 Diplomas. He spends his days managing client financial portfolios through his Edelweiss Franchise in the world of Finance. Having held multiple exhibitions across, he loves to capture the essence of a meal or moment through his lens. His work added vivid dimensions through his contribution to the book ‘The Culinary Heritage of Goa’ which won the ‘Gourmand Best in the World for Historical recipes’ in 2015. His love for journalism and writing saw him create the ever popular food/travel blog ‘nolansatwit’ along with features in leading magazines such as Lonely Planet Magazine India, Travel & Leisure India, Conde Nast Traveller, Lifestyle Asia and Upper Crust to name a few.
While on Jury Duty, one can find him as a juror for Culinary Culture, INCA (India Nightlife & Convention Awards), CondeNast Top 50 Restaurants India and 30 Best Bars India. His passion projects involve showcasing Goa to India and the world via its cultural tapestry through Food & Drink. Nolan is currently involved with the Mahindra Open Drive, a music and cultural charity driven festival as its Food Curator. ‘The Poder Chronicles’, is an outreach program, his latest giveback to society – an ode to the local Goan Poders, bringing social economic focus to the dying art of baking process in Goa. He is the recipient of the prestigious REX Karmaveer Chakra and Karmaveer Puraskar award, India’s second and third highest civilian award for social service by the United Nations.
Starling Dsouza is no stranger to the colorful landscape of Goa. Blazing a trail from a very young age of the finest entrepreneurship via his steerage of Hilltop Goa. He takes his role of running the family business in his stride with the leanings to always be creative through day to day running of innovative procedure, that speaks of a wide range of activities in an iconic venue in the party capital of India, first and foremost always offering new entertainment to society.
Starling manages to redefine his large and social company to new heights and make a success story out of it by being a recognizable figure in nightlife as a prolific musician/artist. He also fulfills a large part of his business life to being a restaurateur alongside Luna, his gracious wife and partner with their latest venture Luna’s Ristorante. Luna’s Ristorante is an avant garde Italian eatery that enjoys much patronage in the city. Known as a youthful figure in Goa’s business backdrop, Starling not only utilizes his role as creating work opportunities for many, he also identifies and develops growth and performance based ideologies making him an undisputable entrepreneur for all ages.
Warren is a serial entrepreneur, investor, & among the pioneers credited with the massive growth of stand-up comedy markets across India. As the Founder and CEO of LVC, Warren spends his time negotiating with OTT platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime) regarding some of the biggest collaborations in the comedy genre. He personally Manages Abhishek Upmanyu, who is among India’s highest selling live acts and has toured arenas around the globe. Disney+ Hotstar IP, the first big comedy project in India was Warren’s brainchild. This project enhanced the entertainment quotient of India’s most favourite cricketing event, VIVO IPL, with an exclusive commentary feed titled Hotstar Dosts. Being a manager, he has closed 3 comedy specials for Abhishek Upmanyu, Bassi, Jaspreet Singh with Netflix & Amazon Prime amounting to 10 crores.
In a short span of time, LVC has become one of the most reputed agencies in the comedy business today handling live tours of their artists in the US, Middle East, Australia, Europe. Growing from 2-3 employees to a network of over 120 producers worldwide, LVC has built relationships across multiple business verticals, and gets a turnover of 10 crores yearly. Viegas has won numerous awards & received critical acclaim from his peers, including features in Business Insider and Forbes. Other comedians in LVC roster include Anubhav Bassi, Jaspreet Singh, Rajat Chauhan, Harsh Gujaral among 20 others. The company has also worked with other well reputed brands such as Swiggy, Bingo to name a few.
Makenzie Eudes Pereira is an entrepreneur, event manager, MC and of course, a professional DJ, popularly known as MacAttack. A popular face who spent most of his early days organizing and promoting gigs, throwing some of the coolest parties, and hosting festivals like Sunburn, Krank, Supersonic. Apart from making a name in nightlife, he also co-owns Goa’s highly reputed event management company and a tech rental company namely EMC and LUMASONIC.
In 2021, he received a certificate of appreciation from the United Nations for his humanitarian work in Goa during the Covid19 pandemic. Mackenzie co-founded the Giving Goa Foundation, an NGO set up during the Covid19 pandemic. With the help of his partners, Fred D’souza and Marsha, he organized various blood donation camps around the state as there was a critical need for blood supply at the time. The camps saw a fantastic response from the community and together they managed to gather over 300+ pints of blood. He also worked around the clock with his team to get concentrators into Goa when oxygen supply was scarce. The core focus of the foundation is to provide education for young girls and for those that are battling mental health problems. Another core aspect of the foundation will be helping individuals suffering with substance abuse and addictions, and creating a safe space for them to open up and deal with these issues.
Anish Sood also known by his alias Anyasa is an Indian music producer, songwriter and DJ. He is currently signed to English deep house London-based label ‘Anjunadeep’ and released his debut Gaya EP as Anyasa in July 2021. He is the first Indian artist to be signed to the label owned by English electronic music group Above & Beyond. DJ Mag included him in it’s 12 emerging artists to watch list in October 2021.
In the past, Anish Sood has toured alongside world renowned music producers and DJs such as David Guetta and Kygo, performed at global festivals and even co-wrote the track “Be Nice” with American dance-pop group the Black Eyed Peas. His successful 12 years career as Anish Sood has seen him play at global music festivals such as Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland Unite, and Sunburn Festival to name a few.
Ali Mohamed, a resident of Caranzalem, Goa is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a defender for FC Goa in the Indian Super League. In the past, Ali had won a promotion from the I-League 2nd Division twice, in two consecutive seasons with both Dempo and NEROCA respectively.
Trevon Dias is a model, fitness trainer, health specialist and a social media influencer with over 120k online followers. He rose to fame with his participation in the 13th season of the dating reality show, MTV Splitsvilla.
Indra Costa is the managing Director at Costa & Co. Pvt. Ltd., a popular food manufacturing company based in Goa and the proprietor at Costa constructions. When he lost his father at the young age of 15 years, he took it on himself to grow the family business. At the age of 19 years, Indra took over Costa’s food factory and worked tirelessly for over 8 years to build the infrastructure that the company has today. Established in 1885, Costa’s is a 135 year old business which needed scaling. With the efforts of Indra and his team, in 2020, Costa’s rebranded and added new products. Indra digitized the family business and today, the brand is available pan India and also has its own e-commerce site.
He started his first real estate project at the age of 18 years. Starting with small real estate projects of 600 sq mtrs, over time he has grown Costa constructions to do projects not less than 12,000 sq mtrs. Indra is also an avid car lover and enthusiast.
Fred Beldon D’souza is the founder of Major Milkshake, a well known event management company in Goa as well as Giving Goa Foundation, an NGO he set up during the Covid19 pandemic. With the help of his partners, Mackenzie Pereira and Marsha, he organized various blood donation camps around the state as there was a critical need for blood supply at the time. The camps saw a fantastic response from the community and together they managed to gather over 300+ pints of blood. He also worked around the clock to get concentrators into Goa when oxygen supply was scarce. Giving Goa is a foundation co-founded by Fred whose core focus is education for young girls and for those that are battling mental health problems.
Fred’s earlier venture, major Milkshake has been known to organise some of the best and most unique events, having worked with major artists and venues in the nightlife industry from both India as well as international.
Nathan Mendes (Tsumyoki)
Nathan Mendes, popularly known as Tsumyoki, is a Goan rapper, singer and one of the founding members of the Goa Trap Culture. His songs together have been streamed over a million times on various music streaming platforms. He recently got signed onto Divine’s Gully Gang Entertainment for his maiden EP ‘Way Too Messy’, in collaboration with MC Kidd Mange (Daniel Sequiera). This youngest member of the Gully Gang family has produced and performed in the ‘Goa Rap Cypher’ which featured nine talented rappers from Goa.
Dale Dias is a teacher by profession and the founder of ‘The Goan Pao’, one of the most trending meme pages from Goa with over 33.7k followers. Beyond memes, the page also aims at creating awareness and sharing announcements pertaining to Goa. The page regularly puts up adoption posts to help dogs and cats find homes and creates awareness about fundraising campaigns to help people who need financial help in medical treatments.
Through financial help from his followers, Dale managed to collaborate with an NGO (Sparsh) and distribute sanitary pads to girls in Goa and Assam during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Lenny Rodrigues is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for ATK Mohun Bagan in the Indian Super League (ISL). Lenny was one of the top five passers in the Indian Super League in 2018-19 ISL season for FC Goa. He recorded the highest passing accuracy of nearly 85% among Indians.
Lenny made his international debut for India in 2012 against Oman. He has also played for I-League clubs Dempo and Mohun Bagan and ISL teams Bangalore FC and Pune FC in the past.
Moses J Saldanha
Moses J Saldanha is a Goan Vlogger and Youtuber who has achieved a great amount of success in a short period of time. Within a year, Moses became Goa’s No 1 Vlogger with over 135k subscribers receiving the Silver Youtube Creator Award. His videos showcase the authentic version of Goa and has also helped various local businesses by showcasing them on his platform. He is now trying to explore more of India and showcase the best locations to visit.
Mitanshu Kawlekar, 22, is a final year Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering student and the founder of the trending meme page, ‘Maiche Kazar’. Maiche Kazar is the first Goan meme page on instagram and also the first Goan Instagram account to reach 50k followers. The page was started by Mitanshu in June of 2017, wittily choosing a famous Konkani expression for a name, such that it’s abbreviation matches his initials. He currently runs the page along with his 2 co-admins, Aryavrat Malhotra and Nishad Hegde Desai.
Along with memes, we often include information about people in distress, such as missing people, people who require blood urgently, donations for orphanages, flood relief, missing pets, beach cleanup, animals in need of adoption or any other information that needs immediate attention. Recently, the page has started sharing daily news highlights on stories called ‘Khuti Chau’. During the severe days of the Covid19 pandemic, Mitanshu and his team did their best to help the patients and their families with beds, food and other supplies. They collaborated with other trending pages and influencers to reach the maximum number of people.
Adil Ahmed Khan is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a centre-back or a defensive midfielder for the Indian Super League club East Bengal, on loan from Hyderabad FC. Adhil also plays for the Indian national team, making his senior international debut against Azerbaijan for India in February 2012. He scored the only goal for India in a 1–1 draw against Bangladesh in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, at Salt Lake Stadium.
Munna Ruknuddin is the founder of Bullseye Entertainment Oktoberfest Goa. in 2021, Bullseye Entertainment completed a Decade in the Industry. Despite the pandemic, they also had the opportunity to host their annual home grown beer festival ‘Oktoberfest Goa’ in the best possible way, thus beginning the revival of entertainment and other tourism activities. From curating, planning, designing, technical, hospitality, entertainment and every other allied services, Munna and his team always aim to please.
Ruben Rodrigues, popularly known as Mr. Kurkurit, is a young food content creator who shot to fame with his unique and entertaining food related videos on his Instagram handle, ‘masterclass.de.R7’. With over having 29.7K followers on Instagram today, he has been featured on multiple media publications, FM radio and has collaborated with UNICEF and Instagram. Ruben runs a YouTube channel along with his mother called ‘The Food Diary’ where they make cooking simpler and fun for all.
Joyner Lourenco is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a defender for the Indian Super League club SC East Bengal. Born in Goa, Lourenco began his career with Goa Velha, a local club in the state. In 2010, Lourenco joined professional I-League side Sporting Goa and further went on to ply for several clubs like Bengaluru FC, Mumbai City FC, and Jamshedpur FC respectively.
Lourenco was also selected in the 20 man India U23 side for the 2014 Asian Games where he proceeded to make his debut for the side on 15 September 2014 against the United Arab Emirates.
Lana de Souza
Lana de Souza is an entrepreneur from Goa who is not an unknown face in the hospitality industry. She launched Ananás, a popular clothing brand from the state of Goa, with her childhood friend. Their collection is styled in the Goan “susegad” way of life – beach during the day & party at night! Hence their clothes are ideal for vacations with outfits for resort wear, beach wear & evening wear. Most of their clothes can be mixed & matched to create multiple boho, comfortable yet stylish looks. Their retail outlet is based at Thalassa in Siolim and they also recently launched their website through which they ship pan India.
Afran Sayed is a media and culture entrepreneur, an aspiring Creative Director, a full time Creative Lead and a freelance Director. Using his knowledge as well as his experience working with big media houses such as Netflix, Sunburn, and Homegrown, he presently chairs a cross-platform Community of 2000+ young and aspiring artists from around the country called ‘CRIO’. With a strong internal peer-to-peer network at CRIO, his aim is to build the largest self-sustaining community of artists where you can learn, connect, and grow with your fellow artists and creators. Using multiple imperative online and offline tools, he curates content, events and workshops that aid the members in boosting their knowledge in certain areas and provide them with the required push to grow as an artist, everything pro bono.
Romeo Fernandes is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a winger for Sporting Club East Bengal in the Indian Super League (ISL). Before joining East Bengal, Romeo played for FC Goa’s 28-man squad at the 2021 AFC Champions League. In 2015, Romeo made his debut for Atletico Paranaenese, a Brazilian football team, in the Campeonato Paranaense against Nacional PR in the local state competition in the state of Parana, becoming the first Indian to play in South America professionally at a senior level.
After spectacular performances in the 2012 I-League U20 season, he was selected to the India U23 team for the 2013 AFC U22 Qualifiers in Oman. Romeo also became the 500th player to debut for the senior Indian team against Guam in a Group D 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in 2015.
Rahul Gomes Pereira (Chef Picu)
Rahul Gomes Pereira, popularly known as Chef Picu, is the Executive Chef and Partner of New Delhi-based Pass Code Hospitality that owns and operates renowned restaurant brands across Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta such as Jamun, Pings Cafe Orient, Saz Cafe, Pings Bia Hoi, Saz on the Beach, A ta Maison and one of the countries foremost cocktail bars PCO. Passcode Spirits Co. has most recently launched Indias first 100% agave spirit called Pistola, aged and bottled in Goa.
Rahul is known for his well-researched recipes, skilled technique and intelligent applications of local ingredients across his menus. He was listed amongst India’s top ten young chefs by the economic times, and most recently won the prestigious Chef of the year at the Condenast Traveller food awards. With an ivy league equivalent career, Chef Picu’s foray into Goa’s restaurant space has gotten us three talked about dining venues in a short span of two years – Pings Bia Hoi on Chogm road, Sangolda which is a mix of a beer garden and a fun asian eclectic menu, Jamun in Assagao which is a celebration of Indian food set in a beautiful 300 year old Goan home and Saz on the beach which is an up tempo sunset bar that has captured everyones imagination. As Picu puts it, all three restaurants are best enjoyed with the homegrown spirit Pistola.
Picu has also recently featured on an award winning show on Discovery plus, alongside one of India’s renowned Comics and storyteller Zakhir Khan. Picu has worked and headed the restaurant kitchens of three of The Oberoi Groups Flagship properties – The Oberoi New Delhi, The Oberoi Mumbai, The Oberoi Bangalore, and the Trident Hyderabad. In 2016, Chef Picu became the Executive Chef of À Ta Maison (ATM), New Delhi where he won several awards and peaked the interest of the coutries foremost critics such as Vir Sanghvi and Mariam reshi, he has since then been a constant on their lists.
Tejas is an Architect, Biomimetic Designer and the founder of the Goa based startup, CarbonCraft. Tejas is on a path to address Climate Change issues through craft and design and to achieve this, CarbonCraft builds products by upcycling carbon. Tejas and his team are trying to discover various methods to capture or collect pollution, and come up with carbon utilization solutions to upcycle this carbon into new useful forms especially for the building and construction industry.
They identified the unnoticed burning of recovered carbon waste from tyre pyrolysis as a behemoth problem especially in India which has become a serious environmental issue. Hence they developed the CarbonCraft Tile, the first tile to be made with upcycled carbon by using recovered carbon waste as a resource. Since this material is only used to be burnt at cement kilns, they create a positive impact by repurposing this material as a building resource. Thus, they prevent air pollution through CarbonCraft Tiles.
CarbonCraft Tiles are essentially addressing Climate Change issues through local craft and sustainable design principles. These tiles are carbon upcycling solutions for architects, businesses, and end customers to take climate action through a commonly consumed building material. The tiles are completely handcrafted for the interior applications from floors to walls. The artisans replicate the unique tile patterns that we designed by taking inspiration from various Indian cities and its industries. The end finishes not only decorate the home, office, showroom, or any other interior spaces but also will remain impactful and contemporary.
Ligia Noronha is an economist with over 30 years of international experience in the field of sustainable development. In 2021, she was appointed as the Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). She has worked since 2014 as Director of UNEP’s Economy Division based in Nairobi, leading UNEP’s work on climate mitigation and energy transitions; on inclusive green economies, sustainable consumption and production, as well as on trade and sustainable finance, and the nexus of environment, pollution and health.
She also served as Inter alia on the National Security Advisory Board of the Government of India on matters relating to resources, energy and climate security. She served as Secretary of the Asian Energy Institute and as Coordinator of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnerships (REEEP), South Asia. Ligia has worked with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada on ecosystem approaches to human health.
Earl Fortes is a young singer-songwriter and musician from Orlim, Goa. He travelled to San Diego, USA to audition in front of Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan for the American Idol. He became the first resident Indian to receive a golden ticket to Hollywood at the music reality show. Earl recently released his brand-new single called “Laid Back”, which delivers a feeling of serenity and emotional calm, expressing his outlook on life.
Ankith Kedar is a serial entrepreneur, event organiser, originally a graphic designer since 2009. In 2017, he founded Flashlab Creative, a digital marketing agency which has been working as content and media consultants for FC Goa and Delta Corp currently. The iconic south side beach bar, Sochi Beach which is known for its private events and nightlife is one of his personal projects. His more recent incubating startups are ‘Workspace Cafe’ (2020), a co-working space based in Margao and one at Sochi Beach, and last but not the final ‘Cyber Creative’ (2021), a tech startup that intends to develop sustainable solutions with IoT (Internet of Things) using the computer method.
He is a well popular face in the Goan nightlife fraternity having founded Goa’s first international/ domestic artist agency labelled as ‘Strobe Nightlife’ in his early 20’s. The agency has booked international Artists, programmed festivals, nightclubs and provided consultancy to venues since its inception in 2013. Strobe Nightlife weekly curated Goa’s popular Cape Town Cafe on Tito’s Lane from 2013-2016. Going beyond just curating events in the nightlife space, Ankith founded a company called Backstage Exchange providing consulting services and production projects for stage design, visual graphic & special FX. During the season time Ankith also works as a part time DJ at Sochi Beach.
Nigel Quadros is a young entrepreneur who has been in the technology industry for over 10 years with his startup AndroGuru. He has now branched out into real estate, hospitality, and also launched iOSGuru. He has big plans for 2022 to do a complete makeover of AndroGuru Media where it is to become a complete comprehensive portal to compare smartphones as well as make buying decisions. In 2021, he made a mark in the Middle East in the Kingdom of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia with his ventures.
Purti Savardekar is a Goan actress and an assistant-professor at the Goa College of Engineering, Farmagudi. She won the Best Actress award for the film ‘The First Wedding’ at the Filmfare Short Film Awards 2021. The film was written, shot, directed, edited and completed in 60 hours, for the ‘60Yearsin60Hours’ film contest on the eve of the 60th Goa Liberation day.
Seriton Benny Fernandes is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a defender for FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL). He has also appeared with Goa in the 2021 AFC Champions League. During his career in the I-league, he established himself as one of the best right-backs in the country.
Kevin Pinto is a Travel & Food Blogger and an Instagram Influencer from North Goa. He has been blogging for almost 3 years and most of his work is portrayed on his Instagram handle ‘wander_with_kevin’. His content primarily focuses on offbeat travel destinations, travel tips & guides, sustainable travel, food recommendations & staycations. Over the last 2 years, he has managed to grow his follower base to over 17,000 on Instagram & reaching out to millions through travel & food reels. He has been featured on various publications in Goa and has been recognised as a ‘Born On Instagram Creator’. Over the years, he has worked with brands such as LBB, Hilton, The Leela, BLive, SoulTravelling to name a few.
Jason Almeida is a Goan entrepreneur and the inventor of Raze, a unique tool that manually cuts grass and at the same time, solves a lot of problems faced by farmers. With the inevitable inflation of prices paid by the customer for automatic grass cutting equipment, Raze provides an easier and affordable alternative to the farmer. As a result it frees up the budget allowing the farmers to do more rounds of cleaning the fields.
Raze is the only manual tool in the world for grass cutting that does not involve one having to endure back pain or wrist pain upon continuous operation and allows for an upright position while cutting. It’s weight distribution allows for stability and for a user to use the weight of the tool to assist them with making the process easier. This manual tool is more efficient than ever before and something that is intuitive and ergonomic. Jason is simultaneously setting up for selling the Raze online and developing a training manual for the same.
Zubin Da Cruz
Zubin Da Cruz is an Artist and Entrepreneur from Goa. He is the founder and frontman of Goa’s most sought after live band, ‘True Blue’. At the tender age of 18, he was part of the World Youth Orchestra 2010 as a violinist/ singer where he performed 17 concerts across Europe. He started his entertainment company BigZ Entertainment (Event Co.) in 2019, and his most recent venture in 2021 is the beautiful Kicks Infinity Futsal in Loutolim.
Younus Shaikh is a BE student at Padre Conceicao College of Engineering in Goa and the founder of the ‘Smilekeepers Foundation’. Smilekeepers Foundation is a youth centric NGO committed to bring about a positive change in the society of Goa, uniting everyone towards a common cause, that is humanity. Looking at people struggling for food, clothes, shelter and all other basic necessities, Younus felt he needed to step in and help in whatever way he could with his team.
People staying in slums and the streets, and orphans have benefited from their programs. Programs they have carried out so far include Mission Apne and Mission Saath since the past 2 years where they distribute food, clothes and other basic necessities to the ones in need, especially those affected by the Covid19 pandemic. They also had cleanliness drives for which they made a machine from scrap to separate microplastics from beach sand. The NGO also provides education to the ones who can’t afford it. Their work has been recognised and featured on various well known media/news publications and channels.
Neil Nevgi is the founder of Captain Martian, a well known company in the entertainment space. Neil and his team were probably the first ones to bring Hip-Hop into the mainstream in Goa. They created one of Goa’s largest Hip-Hop networks connecting individuals from every inch of Goa to each other. Captain Martian founded the Goa Hip-Hop Projekt under which they promote and organise events that represent the key elements of Hip Hop.
In his 4 years as an event organiser, he has managed to organise/work on 100+ events, working closely with Hip-Hop talents & personalities from all over the country.
Ivo Goncalves is the co-founder of Goeankar Sangathi, a group that conducts various cleanliness drives in Goa with the aim to reach out and spread awareness among the youth about the importance of responsibly participating together in order to make a difference to society. He was also the finalist of Goencho Avaz 2018 and Alfred Rose Awardee of 2019. Having a postgraduate degree specialising in welfare of child, family and youth, he is currently pursuing a postgraduate diploma in Disaster Management. His goal is to combine both these fields with a focus on research inorder to introduce new policies that will better the Goan community.
Gajesh Naik is creator of PolyGaj, a cryptocurrency money managing ecosystem. At a young age of 13 years, Gajesh today manages millions of dollars in cryptocurrency. This class 8 student at People’s High School in Panaji started creating online educational content when the country was under lockdown due to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The content produced by Gajesh was meant to help primary school students from vernacular schools as physical classes were shut down due to the pandemic. In 2021, Gajesh developed two dapps (decentralised applications) on the Polygon network. These apps, namely PolyGaj and StableGaj, provide users access to crypto-investing.
Jovel Michael Fernandes
Jovel Michael Fernandes is a Goa based photographer who loves to create moody content in fields of commercial Fashion shoots, Celebrity Editorials and Weddings. He goes by the brand name ‘Swanky by Jovel Fernandes’, and aspires at bringing out candid yet carefully assisted, ageless and timeless moments from a shoot to the forefront. He has photographed a couple of top celebrities as part of his latest Editorials like Nakuul Mehta, Raveena Tandon to name a few. Jovel’s style in wedding photography will bring out portraits of luxury and grandiosity, while retaining earthy and rustic tones to make your moments of joy ageless, down-to-earth, classic and authentic for years to come.
Very recently he concluded a project where he pre-planned and executed a shoot with 7 plus-sized women from Goa. They belonged to different walks of life and were draped in sarees, all of them aged between 30 to 63 years. This project was an initiative to empower plus-size women in not only the fashion industry but also the society at large. In the shoot, each woman photographed came from a different profession – painter and poet, journalist, teacher, researcher and national-level archer, psychologist, retired banker, and police inspector – and each of them has made strides in their respective profession.
Viraj Phadte is a comedy content creator who went viral with his videos on his Instagram handle ‘_we_raj_’. Consistency and relatable fun content has helped him gain an audience of over 13.6k online.
Asha Arondekar is the founder of Global to Local, a social entrepreneurship venture to support women and their livelihoods in Goa. Many Goan women in rural areas make excellent homemade items, but it is difficult for them to sell their wares, given that they are homemakers, and it is not possible for them to come to the city every day. Asha wanted to provide these women with a platform where they could put up their products for sale where people in cities could reach out to them. Thus she launched Global to Local, a store exclusively for local women to stock their produce and is the only store in Goa which is selling authentic Goan produce. The store has suppliers of at least 70 plus independent women in the age range of 17 to 70 years.
She has numerous awards to her credit and has worked towards the upliftment of women in Goa by conceptualizing the Orchid Awards for Women Achievers to honor women from various professions.
Ajay Chekhalia is an entrepreneur who co-founded ‘Flyboard India’ and introduced the extreme sport of flyboarding to Goa and the rest of India. He has been featured in various travel blogs and shows over the years such as CN traveller, Tripoto, Curly Tales, Discovery Channel, Star Sports to name a few. He has been promoting the sport of flyboarding to Indian and international tourists in Goa for the last 6 years. Flyboard India has been visited by various television personalities, actors and influencers, top Indian YouTube travel channels, military, navy personnel and many more. Ajay also founded Soundcraft Music Project in 2021, conceptualizing music events and bringing light to some top established and upcoming indian artists at entertainment hotspots like House of Chapora (Chapora jetty) and Ukiyo resort (Ashwem).
Daniel Hiremath is the proprietor of ‘The Funktion Junction’. He started his company back in 2016 and today, they provide one of the most unique and the best team building activities in Goa. The Funktion Junction has also organised and executed major conferences, events and various team building activities for Reliance Health Insurance, Dell, Asian paints, Regus, Pidilite, PWC, P&G, Rotary Royales, SRL Diagnostics and Mahindra & Mahindra to name a few.. Daniel and his team executed the first Bird Festival Of Goa for the Goa forest department as well as the Fifa U17 World Cup – Host City Launch Event for the Government of Goa.
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