ICCC 2020 Annual Magazine Special
(Click on image to download the magazine)
New Era of Transformation
Resilience ● Rebuild ● Rejuvenate
It would be easy to dismiss 2020 as annus horribilis, which is Latin for “a horrible year”. There is no denying that the Covid-19 pandemic radically transformed the world and sent it hurtling down into an unfamiliar territory and terrain.
Public debt incurred by governments across the world to help sustain a modicum of economic growth and to directly assist people deal with crippling effects of the global lockdown has snowballed to unmanageable levels. It will take serious fiscal discipline measures to restore the public finances of majority of nations globally once the world moves back to post-Covid-19 normalcy.
When the pandemic-induced lockdown started several months ago, I was among the first to laud the federal and the provincial governments for taking swift action to help alleviate the economic malaise that small businesses would begin to feel, and had forcefully advocated that a nuanced approach to dealing with the economic crises was imperative, especially in dealing with small businesses.
And while there are several issues that we need to come to terms with in dealing with the traumatizing and enervating effects of the pandemic, I want to emphasize that there have been a number of positives that have emerged during the year that will have a long-lasting beneficial impact.
In choosing the theme for this year’s annual magazine and the first virtual Gala – New Era of Transformation Resilience. Rebuild. Rejuvenate. – we were certain that we had to focus on the present crisis with a view to its future beneficial fallout.
The pandemic has brought the world together, unitedly we have shown nerves of steel to make a new future that accommodates what has worked in the past but focuses on fresh alternatives. This is transformation that considers resilience, has the zest to rebuild and the zeal to rejuvenate.
Read more: President's Message
ICCC Annual Awards 2020
The Honourable Mary Ng, Canada's Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion & International Trade, accepted the ICCC 2020 President's Award in person at the ICCC office in Toronto, from Pramod Goyal, President, Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.
Minister Ng said she is "honoured to be recognised by the ICCC, an organisation that has done so much for bilateral trade relations between Canada and India."
The ICCC Annual Awards 2020 virtual show livestreamed Sunday 20 December 2020 was a path-breaking event. Never has such a grand program been put together. It is being hailed by everyone for its quality, content, crisp delivery and for its heady mix of entertainment, speeches, and awards presentations.
Pramod Goyal, President, ICCC, in his Presidential address, said, “In our own small way, the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce turned the crisis into an opportunity to reach out to the small business owners and professionals in the Indo-Canadian community. The pandemic transformed our organisation into a re-energized entity that re-established its credentials as a Chamber of Commerce. When we had to decide on the overarching theme that would encapsulate the year, the choice was straightforward. Globally and especially at our Chamber, we have entered an Era of New Transformation where the emphasis is on Resilience, Rebuild, and Rejuvenate.”
A veritable who’s who of VIPs congratulated the award recipients and the ICCC. They included, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, who, in a special message, congratulated the award recipients and emphasized the four-decades-long service of the ICCC to fostering Canada India trade ties. His Excellency Ajay Bisaria, the High Commissioner of India to Canada, strongly advocated for a continued impetus to enhancing trade.
The Honourable Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario, commended the award recipients for their achievements and for their contribution to the fabric of the Canadian society. He also underscored the role of the ICCC in building trade ties between Ontario and India. Similarly, the Honourable Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, and the Honourable Anita Anand, Canada’s Minister of Public Service and Procurement, also lauded both the award recipients and the Chamber.
The Mayors of Mississauga, Brampton, and Markham – Her Worship Bonnie Crombie, His Worship Patrick Brown and His Worship Frank Scarpitti – who work closely with the ICCC to create opportunities for Indo-Canadian businesses in their cities, also sent a special greeting message.
Chetan Sehgal of BDO Canada explained the process of shortlisting the nominations to enable the Advisory Board to make a judicious selection of the award winners.
The Executive Directors of the Board introduced the VIP speakers, and Amin Dhillon, the Master of Ceremonies, introduced the award recipients. Ramesh Chotai of Bromed Pharmaceuticals introduced the Humanitarian Award recipient, and Vijay Thomas of Tangentia Inc. introduced the Male Entrepreneur recipient. He also rounded off the evening with a vote of thanks.
Experiencing India for 25 Years
Canada needs more India
By Gary Comerford
Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday, and not 24 years ago, when I first stepped foot in India. Since that first trip I have made 90 others, and through the years I witnessed the transformation of a country.
As I boarded the British Airways 747, I had visions of an exotic India waiting to welcome me. I was both excited and apprehensive, but had no idea how my life was about to change.
The moment I landed in Delhi, all my senses were bombarded at the same time. The smell of what I later learned was burnt kerosene permeated the air. My personal space vanished as I waded into a sea of passengers, relatives, airport workers — and people just looking for a place to sleep. In the background I could hear car horns, lots of them, blasting all at the same time. Why were these horns blowing?
I would learn that this was simply a typical day of organized chaos in a country of 1.3 billion people, 800 million of whom were impoverished . To say that this fortysomething executive had second thoughts would be the understatement of the century. So how is it that, today, I have such genuine affection for India? When I land in Mumbai now, I feel like I am returning home.
I assure you, it did not happen overnight.
My assignment for Sun Life was to help establish a life insurance company in India. A few years earlier, the Malhotra report had been written to evaluate the potential opening of the insurance industry to foreign companies. This meant Sun Life could possibly return to India, after being nationalized in 1956, provided it found an Indian partner.
How do you find an Indian partner? Nowhere in the world are there more consultants willing to use their connections to facilitate a partnership. Everyone — and I mean everyone — in India has a friend that can be of help. The good news for me was when I was introduced to Dan Gupta, the same executive who brought IBM back to India. It was Dan who facilitated a critically important introduction to the AVBirla group, one of the most prestigious diversified business houses in India. But the Birla's were already talking with several other international insurance companies, including mega-players like Met Life. How were we going to convince them Sun Life was the best choice?
Read more: Canada Needs More India
We will be reproducing articles from the ICCC 2020 Annual Magazine in the ICCC Newsletter's Insight section over the next few months.
The ICCC is a member-driven organisation. Here, we reproduce two insightful pieces written by
Ravi Seethapathy, who is a member for over 25 years, and Sangita Iyer, who became a member in 2020.
Learn. Serve. Experience.
By Ravi Seethapathy
The Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) offered me a great opportunity to learn, serve and experience, the various interactions (both govt and business) – first as a volunteer in 1994 (thanks Sudha Berry), then as a Nominated Board Member (thanks Hari Panday) and elected Board member, followed by as a Vice President and finally as the President (1998-2000).
The ICCC primarily serves as a focal point of Indo-Canadian businesses (and its service providers’) interests, allowing others (political, bureaucracy, industry, education, professions) to view its membership in all its strengths and capabilities (business, education, wealth, charity). A second objective is to be a strong voice in the Canada- India bilateral trade corridor.
The ICCC has a rich legacy of hard work, deeply rooted in volunteerism. To this day, the ICCC Charity Golf Tournament, Annual Awards & Gala, and its many business events are comparable with other prestigious events held across Canada.
Headwinds create opportunities.
My presidential term witnessed “rough weather” on the bilateral front. Canada-India relations had hit a rough patch with Pokhran II (May 1998). So, a key challenge was for the ICCC, to make itself more visible to both countries and to be seen as being capable of solutions / thought leadership.
Read more: Ravi Seethapathy
Learn. Contribute. Support.
By Sangita Iyer
I am excited to be part of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC), an esteemed forum that has existed for over four decades; a forum that focuses on the power of collaboration and supports mutual commercial ties between the world’s finest countries – India and Canada.
As an Indo-Canadian filmmaker, a Positive Psychology Educator, and a Learning and Development Professional, I look forward to offering my unique skillset in the art of storytelling, programs in well-being and leadership training, and I am eager to network with fellow entrepreneurs and professionals with diverse experiences and learn about them and from them.
My hope is to be able to share a short documentary GuruCool, written and directed by me, with all of you soon. GuruCool is a conversation about the 21st century education system among Indian educators and stakeholders while making global comparisons. GuruCool has been selected to be screened at several festivals around the globe and we continue to win awards in different categories.
I believe that being a part of ICCC will be an enriching experience for me and succour my vision of making insightful and inspirational films about people, places and events that have social relevance to the community.
Read more: Sangita Iyer
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