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Of India, in print

A local woman's glossy magazine called WE Indians has a growing list of fans in the Indian community, with an international circulation of more than 10,000 readers.

By JANE BOKUN
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 25, 2002


TOWN 'N COUNTRY -- Ronica Jaipershad had a mission.

Born in Guyana, she was tired of the lack of interaction among the many different U.S. communities rooted in the heritage of India. So two years ago the Bayside businesswoman started a tabloid magazine called the Indian Connection that was aimed at the local community as well as abroad.

The magazine failed after a year because of its local focus, but Jaipershad remained undaunted. She decided to expand her focus internationally.

Her latest venture, a colorful, glossy 40-page monthly magazine called WE Indians, now has an international circulation of more than 10,000 readers and recently celebrated its first successful year.

Jaipershad estimates its international circulation at more than 10,000. Advertisers include shipping enterprises, travel agencies, even a medical school in Virginia.

"My job before was as a district manager for network services for a national company," said Jaipershad, 45. "I quit my corporate job and started my own IT business."

That business, housed on Town 'N Country's Paula Drive, includes an Internet Cafe and computer training center under the umbrella, Ronica Business Enterprises Inc. "More local people are finding out about us, but we've been here for three years," she said. "Now we find they're using the computers and getting their resumes done. We also teach classes in end-user applications such as Windows, Microsoft Office, Act and Quickbooks."

But what Jaipershad is most excited about, she said, is the magazine.

"This magazine is making it big," Jaipershad said. "We are in Guyana, Trinidad and India as well."

Indeed, a quick glance through last month's issue reveals stories about a classical dance recital at the Hindu Temple on Lynn Road in Carrollwood and an insider's view into the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

"Indians all over want to be interconnected," she said.

"The differences we bring are that we aren't interested in just people from India, we're also bringing news of what's going on right here in the United States to the Indian people."

For WE Indians, Jaipershad has a small local staff consisting of a marketing manager and assistant editor. They also get some help from Jaipershad's sister, Geeta Leo, in Toronto. Together, this small group handles every aspect of the magazine except the printing. For national stories they rely on a wire service. Currently the $2.50 magazine only is sold through subscription and at select local venues such as the India Bazaar convenience store at 11620 N 22nd St. and the Bombay Masala restaurant at 4023 W Waters Ave.

"We use bulk mail to send out the magazines and we also have distributors in the local communities," said the magazine's marketing director, D. Nageswarao.

"I get calls from as far as New York, New Jersey and Texas," Jaipershad said. "I have even heard from the Indian consulate's general office in New York, and the Guyana consulate in Toronto.

"The best part of the magazine is that we bring news about different life topics whether it be technology, beauty, love, life or laughter. Since Sept. 11 more Indians have been taking on their role as Americans and wanting to make a difference."

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