In 1991, India went through its biggest economic liberalization since its independence in 1947. This economic liberalization instituted major economic reforms, and it attracted the attention of the Canadian government and business community. With the chance to improve Indo-Canadian ties arose the need for a voice to facilitate the knowledge exchange between governments and businesses in both countries. So, in 1994 Indo-Canadian Business Chamber was set up in New Delhi to promote trade and business relations between India & Canada and to provide resources to the companies of both countries concerning trade and business contacts.
Since its inception, ICBC has been instrumental to the ongoing increase of bilateral trade and its diversification by exchanging trade and investment delegations, power launches, interactive sessions, and creating tie-ups with bilateral chambers of India’s neighboring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka.
The Dynamic Leader
Currently, ICBC is being led by its dynamic, experienced, and visionary CEO, Nadira Hamid. As the CEO, Nadira has steered ICBC as the voice of change in the India-Canada economic relationship. With nearly three decades of experience in corporate affairs, she has positioned the Chamber as a prime interface for the business interests of both Indian and Canadian companies wanting to tap into bilateral opportunities. She actively takes a lead role in encouraging Indian companies to explore the Canadian market and supporting them in establishing their presence in Canada, and vice versa.
Nadira started her career with the ITC group of hotels, looking after their corporate affairs across India. A few years later, she founded Lafance Overseas Private Ltd to capitalize on her entrepreneurial skills, while managing the corporate affairs for Mitchell Group for India and Bangladesh. Nadira then joined ICBC as the CEO in 2011.
Since then, during her tenure of eleven years at ICBC, Nadira has championed the Chamber’s commitment to serving as the industry’s voice and facilitating knowledge exchange between businesses and governments in both countries. She has successfully led, promoted, and coordinated many delegations to Canada that saw the participation of more than a hundred delegates from various business sectors in India. She has successfully arranged many business missions to build a higher level of business engagements and B2B platforms for SMEs to guide them effectively. Nadira has been instrumental in building the image of Brand Canada in various Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India. She has also signed MoUs with multiple government and industry bodies to build better business engagement between the two countries.
Advice for Young Entrepreneurs
Nadira Hamid is a firm believer in inclusion, diversity, and women empowerment. She says, “My advice would be to follow these and see how it can change your life and help you contribute to a successful enabled organization. Being a working woman, I am always very conscious of the challenges and issues Indian women face.” She also adds, “It is also essential to be passionate and frame your passion in a structured and effective way. Last but not the least – network, network, and network! Spending time with people is a valuable way to expand your knowledge, learn from the successes and failures of others and form long term relationships, all of which are essential for personal development and professional success.”
Preparing for the Future
The Government of India has decided to reduce its dependency on oil and gas by approving faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicle schemes, to help the country reach its goal of 30% EV penetration by the end of 2030. As the premier Chamber in the India-Canada economic corridor, ICBC hopes to facilitate enhanced stakeholder relations and joint partnerships with major automakers, EV component makers, battery manufacturers, and service providers.
manufacturers, and service providers. Nadira Hamid also explains that ICBC strives to promote sustainability, as ignoring sustainability can lead to the exhaustion of natural resources. Under her leadership, ICBC has conducted multiple sessions with various builders and developers in India to educate them about the quality of environmentally responsible wood products from sustainably managed forests.
ICBC has brought together many policymakers, influencers, and industry leaders in various summits to identify the areas where India and Canada can work alongside. It is also working to create awareness regarding the importance of ESG in business nowadays. As it feels, ESG is one of the most important conversations of our time.
Indo-Canadian Business Chamber is currently working to match the skilled labor demand in Canada. Now, it is holding talks with the relevant authorities in both countries to connect the employers to the employees and conduct workshops for the required certificates.