The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, GOPIO, (www.gopio.net), together with the New York Consul General of India, announced the U.S. launch of GOPIO’s International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) at the Indian Consulate in New York, April 28. Some 150 people attended the event.
The GICC was inaugurated earlier at India’s business capital in Mumbai on Jan. 10, by the Governor of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu Vidyasagar Rao.
Prakash Shah, co-chair of GICC, kicking off the event, said “GOPIO has tapped into a long-felt need for an international networking organization for the business people of Indian origin.” After the GICC was launched in Mumbai in January, there were requests from around the world to open GICC chapters in all the major cities, Shah said.
“GICC aims to bring together the business people of the Indian diaspora, providing them the networking opportunity on a common worldwide platform,” Shah emphasized.
Consul General of India Riva Ganguly Das welcomed the attendees noting, “GOPIO is the only organization that truly represents the interests of the worldwide 30 million Indian diaspora.” She called the latest initiative “most timely and very much needed at this time.”
Other speakers at the event included H. R. Shah, chair of the GICC launch; GOPIO “Life Member” and Parikh Worldwide Media Chairman Dr. Sudhir Parikh, recipient of India’s Padma Shri award, and New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. H.R. Shah, chairman of TV Asia, who received a Padma Shri award this year, is chair of GOPIO’s Board of Advisors. In his speech, he quoted statistics on diaspora businesses and explained why GICC was a much-needed organization.
The State Bank of India’s new U.S. Country Head Ashwini Tewari, extended full support to GOPIO, and said the SBI sees great opportunity ahead to work with Indian-owned businesses.
Dr. Thomas Abraham Chairman of GOPIO International presented the details of GICC including its genesis. “The Biennial Convention in 2016 held in New York became a corner stone for GOPIO to be more involved in business, technology, investment and philanthropic activities to mobilize diaspora resources for the common good,” Abraham said. It was at that meeting that the GOPIO General Body decided to initiate GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) as a business platform for the Indian Diaspora, Abraham said, noting that GOPIO is the “only globally networked” Indian chamber of commerce, with a brand recognition unlike other chambers of commerce.
According to a press release from GOPIO, there are more than 3 million businesses owned by people of Indian origin around the world. Becoming a Sponsor Member or Life Member of GICC it said, would be a great opportunity. The new chamber plans to set up chapters in neighborhoods with large number of Indian-owned businesses and services, and hopes to launch chapters in small towns, cities, counties, states/provinces and countries, GOPIO said.
The launch program was put together by GOPIO’s Tri-State New York Area Coordinator Lal Motwani and GOPIO New York President Beena Kothari and was supported by other GOPIO Chapters in the New York area– GOPIO-Upper New York, GOPIO-Connecticut, GOPIO-Central Jersey and GOPIO-North Jersey. The event was sponsored by the State Bank of India in New York