Interview with Saman Dias

Saman Dias

Saman Dias embodies the American entrepreneurial spirit. Upon exposure to the nascent, fragmented San Francisco Bay Area computer training industry in the late 1980s, Saman realized the opportunity for potential growth. In 1992, Saman founded AIM Computer Training, focusing on the lucrative large-scale business training market segment. Through determination, hard work and the successful implementation of a unique business plan, AIM Computer Training became one of the most respected and leading training companies in the Bay Area. Along the way, Saman pioneered numerous innovative business practices, fostered a healthy work environment for her employees and created the AIM Computer Training Global Strategic Alliance to expand AIM Computer Training’s operations around the globe. Her multimillion dollar global training company, which serviced the needs for Fortune 1000 companies, was acquired in 2004.

In 2006, Saman joined NorthPoint Financial Group as Executive Vice President. She built and managed the company’s business development program and its corporate training program. In 2008 she aided in forming a successful e-business concept for delivering analytics and investment ratings for residential real estate. A year later, the venture-funded company was spun off as SmartZip Inc. Saman’s experience also includes successfully leading fundraising, recruiting, public relations and social media efforts.

Drawing on 20 years of success in business, Saman now holds board positions with many startup companies. Having experienced the challenges—and joys—of launching a new business, she gets great satisfaction from helping entrepreneurs navigate the venture capital world, raise funding, market their businesses, and develop growth strategies.

Saman is an advisor for Astia, an innovative global not-for-profit organization whose mission is to foster the full participation of women in entrepreneurship and as accelerators of high-growth companies fueling innovation and driving economic growth. She also is an advisor to Plug and Play Tech Center and US Market Access entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley incubators that assist local and international entrepreneurs expand their venture in U.S. and exposure to venture capitalists.

She received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Saman received Working Woman Magazine's Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for General Excellence and Innovative Solutions in 2000 and its Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Customer Service in 2001. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award chose Saman as a nominee and finalist in 1998. She also received the 1998 National Association of Women Business Owners Adopt–A–Business award and was honored for East Bay Business Times Women if Distinction Award for General Excellence. Saman has been featured by the San Francisco Business Times, Contra Costa Times and USA Today. Her company, AIM Computer Training, was named as San Francisco Business Times Top 100 Women-Owned Company (six consecutive years) San Francisco Business Times Fastest Growing Privately Held Company (three consecutive years).

Interview Subject: Saman Dias
Release Date: October 28, 2010
Duration: 12:37
Interviewer(s): Larry Nelson, Lee Kennedy

Series: Entrepreneurial Heroes