Friday 11 January 2008
Pune’s Zoroastrian entrepreneurs will have a reason to celebrate this weekend as the city gears up to play host to over 200 Zoroastrian businesspersons and professionals across the country and the world. The occasion is the annual general meeting of rare chamber of commerce — the World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce’s (WZCC) — where veterans get to meet novices, potential business partners get to strike deals.
Going by past records, what ensues are enriching discussions on various sectors like manufacturing, IT and financial services where the participants exchange tips, discuss problems and even secure funding for their ventures. According to the organisers, some of the previous meetings were successes ending with several businesspersons and professionals having forged partnerships, which continue successfully even today.
The WZCC was launched in 2000 as a part of the legacy project of the 7th World Zoroastrian Congress and has been holding its ensuing AGMs with a view “to nurture the community across the world”. The meeting has been organised on Sunday at the auditorium in the Ruby Hall Complex.
«The Zoroastrians were originally good businessmen, and have diversified into various professions. The AGM was conceptualised as an attempt to facilitate, encourage and promote the spirit of entrepreneurship amongst Zarathushtis across the world, and enhance the cooperation between the Zarathushti business communities», said Adi Engineer, former Managing Director, Tata Power Ltd and one of the organisers of the event.
Designed as a platform for entrepreneurs across ages and sectors from the community to interact, the two-day event which is being held for the first time in the city will commence on Saturday, with a “Gala Night” at the Ladies Club, where prominent entrepreneurs and professionals will be lauded for their achievements.
«Every year we award an honorary membership to someone with commendable achievements to his credit. This year the membership is being conferred upon Dr Jamshed J. Irani, Director, Tata Sons who will grace the event», said Engineer.
Dr Khodi Irani will be receiving the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, while Dr Roshan Bhappu, internationally renowned metallurgist will receive the outstanding professional of the year award and Dr K. B. Grant, founder of the Ruby Hall Hospital will be conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award. In a bid to encourage and acknowledge young achievers, the WZCC is also conferring the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award on musician Shayan Italia.
The chamber has held annual meetings in India and abroad, the previous one in Mumbai, last year. «Pune has a sizeable amount of Zoroastrian resident population and also sees frequent Parsi visitors who bear a nostalgic connect to it. Many have been educated here, while a number of Zoroastrian NRIs still have some members of their family tree in Pune, whom they often visit», said Engineer.
With the Zoroastrians focusing their attention on developing the business acumen of the youth, these annual jamborees also act as a mentoring programme for generation next.