BANGKOK, THAILAND :The second meet of WHEF was held at Bangkok on 10th and 11th August 2013. H.E. Dr. Olarn Chaipravat, Former Deputy Prime Minister and the President of Thailand Trade Representative, inaugurated the conference. In his inaugural address, he emphasized that Thailand is re-shaping its future by improving its economy and growth and invited WHEF to be a partner in this endeavor. Dr. Olarn further said that Thai government has recently established the Venture Capital Fund that will provide a capital access to more than 1.5 million young entrepreneurs within next 20 years. He mentioned that sharing of knowledge is the key to success and it is essential to develop the youth as a human asset for the future.
H.E. Anil Wadhwa, Ambassador of Bharat congratulated the organizers and gave a message of ‘Look East’ policy of Bharat and expected the present business of the country with Thailand to go up to 14 billion USD from the current 9 billion USD in 2014 under the FTA. The first day session began with the inspiring speech by Mr. Susheel Kumar Saraff, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, in which apart from welcoming the delegates, he emphasized that Hindus should unite to regain their contribution of 35% to the global economy as before. Key to achieve this is mainly, through individual success leading to more contribution to society, networking and bringing Hindu minds together towards a common goal of economic growth.
WHEF-2013 was attended by over 500 prominent businesspersons, industrialists, economists, bankers, international traders, and business association leaders from more than 20 countries across the continents.
Six eminent speakers expressed their expert opinion on ‘Emerging opportunities and challenges from FTAs and Regional Economic Communities’. The salient ones are the trade barriers in South Asia by Dr. Suman Sahai., President Gene Campaign, who highlighted as to how the poor infrastructure impeding the trade business with neighboring countries in South Asia, Mr. Alpesh Patel explained the importance of Intellectual property in seeking and protecting the business in Europe. Other emphases made by him were on creating intellectual property to win contracts and business opportunities in Europe as it is the biggest trading zone till date. The patents created by any individual country results in strong position for the region with respect to the R&D expenditure and vice-versa. Interesting facts like the values of UK government contracts being much larger than Bharat GDP were highlighted by him. He also ensured to extend support and guidance and pointed out many websites which can help individuals to reach the same. Dr. Jyaneshwur Jhurry, invited the delegates to his mother land, Mauritius and assured that it can play a pivotal role in becoming a gateway for the trade with Africa.
An expert on Africa Mr. Jegathesan emphasized that the Hindu businessmen should consider moving to Africa and especially to Zambia to harness the un-mined opportunities there. He opined that among the 56 countries in African continent, Zambia is the most promising destination for the investors as it is blessed with rich mineral resources such as copper, zinc and lead. The investor friendly policy of the Government has opened doors in other areas such as agriculture, health, education etc.
Mr. Piyabutr Cholvijarn, Vice-Chairman Board of Trade of Thailand, explained the country’s position in the ASEAN region emphasizing on its role as a gateway to the same. The presentation also gave an insight on ways and means which can help expand business intend further. Among other details explained by him were, Thailand holds the 3rd position as far as the ease of doing business is concerned, 4th in ASEAN in trade and innovation and 38th position in the Global Competitive Index. The talk also highlighted the various FTAs which Thailand has entered into with the neighboring ASEAN countries to facilitate good trade and cooperation in the region.
Ms. Khine Khine Nwe, Joint Secretary General, Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce & Industry (UMFCCI) highlighted that her country with a population of 60 million has an employable force of 37.35 million. Its GDP composition suggests that there is an enormous opportunity to grow and its boundary with five counties can facilitate the trade. With more liberal government policies in place, the country will be a promising location for future investments.
The second session began with the chairperson introducing the participants from the business and industry background. Good insights about business opportunities in alternative source of energy were given by Mr. Chintan Shah from Suzlon Energy (India), and highlighted the fact that Asia lacks a good access to fossil fuels which necessitates alternative source of energy as the only practical future for the region. Mr. Ramesh Vangal, Chairman Katra Group emphasized Ayurveda as a great source of business opportunity for India. Mr. Anil Puri , Chairman Purico Group emphasized the importance of brands in creating quality for the business thus leading to ultimate success.
Special mention on the social entrepreneurship by Mr. Nirmal Kumar, MD (Nirmal Group) was also covered in which a case study on the transformation of how a simple means of commutation, the auto rickshaw equipped with the recent IT innovations has transformed into a high tech and safe mode of travel option in many states of Bharat. One of the speakers Mr. Avdesh Goel shared his experiences of association with WHEF and expressed his desire to see new and budding Hindu entrepreneurs to take up ideas seriously in order to ensure a Hindu driven entrepreneurial society. He also pledged to donate generously towards the cause by various means like mentorship, seed capital and business opportunities.
The third session was basically focused on discussing the various business opportunities in Alternative energy sources. The panel consisted of Dr. Suresh Prabhu, Former Union Minister and Chairman Council on Energy, Environment, and Water, Bharat as the session chair, Dr. M.S. Babel from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, and Mr. Chintan Shah from Suzlon (India). The session proved to be very useful as it educated the participants about the various possibilities of future unconventional sources of energy. Many of the existing sources like hydropower, solar energy, and wind energy were also discussed. The forum also consisted of Mr. Sushil Jiwarajka, Chairman, Artheon Group who highlighted a successful case of solar energy applications in the rural electrification of Bharat and its potential to be replicated at every level to reverse the existing technique of grid to distribution philosophy, thus emphasizing on the fact that in future each individual will produce energy for his own usage helping the grid build-up.
At the dinner on 10th August, Mr. Sanjeev Sanyal, Economist, Deutsche Bank, Singapore spoke on the future of Hindu economy and preparedness of Hindu businesses. Mr. Phairush Burapachaisri, Vice Chairman Board of Trade of Thailand addressed the business environment and investment opportunities in Myanmar.
The fourth session covered topics on patents, SME, good governance, biological farming and their roles in building a strong entrepreneurial set-up. Under the session, the speakers panel consisted of Dr. Siddharth Jabade, Dr. Bibek Debroy, Professor, Centre for Policy Research who pointed out that even today in Bharat; the economic policy is informal and unorganized which seriously is affecting the growth of MSMEs. The role and importance of patents for creating intellectual property rights with quality being the focus to make any business successful were briefly discussed.
Dr. Guna Magesan from Fiji National University gave a talk on biological-farming which attracted considerable attention from the participants. It is a technology between the organic and conventional farming and enables cultivation without the use of synthetic fertilizers. The idea gained a good prominence and promised to be an efficient venture capital investment.
The session five focused on how affordable capital can be created to facilitate scaling up businesses and industries. Mr. Subhash Thakrar, Chairman, London Chamber of Commerce & Industry emphasised on the need for businessmen to confidently invest during the recession period as businesses that have done the same in the past have always out performed the ones who opted out.
Mr. S.N. Bansal, CEO of Barclays Wealth gave a good insight on traditional method of fund collection to start private businesses in Bharat with details on concepts like crowd funding and angel funding. He also gave a strong message that ‘Execution is more important than mere ideas’.
Special emphasis on the availability of human capital in countries like Bharat, Indonesia, Vietnam as an opportunity was given by Mr. Kamalkant Agarwal from Siam Commercial Bank, Thailand. He also highlighted a matter of concern about the possible reduction in the fund availability to businesses in future from banks and other financial institutions as retail investors are not ready to partner with the banks on fluctuating returns on their investments. A case study by Mr. Ram Sahasranam presented on how existing IT technologies can be applied to the medical industry, water management and cleaning technology and pointed out that these can be very promising venture ideas.
A special session was focused on how the Hindu youth can contribute to the growth of Hindu economy as a part of the Hindu entrepreneurship. The session began with a brief report on the World Hindu Youth Conference (WHYC) Bali conference 2013 by Mr. Amit Kumar Srivastava, Coordinator, Hindu Student Youth Network (HSYN). Ms. Nitika Sharma, President, HSYN, New Zealand and Ms. Liza Bhansali discussed on how the social entrepreneurship can strengthen the Bharat economy with established Hindu businessmen sharing their knowledge and support with the budding entrepreneurs to generate wealth through Knowledge powerhouses. Ms. Pritika Sharma, Joint Secretary, Hindu Council New Zealand (HCNZ) focused on how the youth of Bharat envisages the Hindu economic development and through these exercises can ensure a dignified presence of Hindu society in the world. A special case study on how a small university project can be converted into a promising venture idea was highlighted by Mr. Vinayakjeet Kumar from One Beep One buzz.
The program ended with a brief discussion on what is the way forward to implement all the ideas discussed during the two day event. The concluding session also highlighted on the different initiatives taken by the Hindu Business Network (HBN) portal team to put the forum on the front end through their website and networking sessions. The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr. Rakesh Sodhia, member of the organizing committee and invitation to World Hindu Congress 2014 which is scheduled to be held at the Hotel Ashoka, New Delhi, Bharat during November 21-23, 2014.
The World Hindu Economic Forum – Strengthening Economy and Shaping Future was organized during August 10-11, 2013 at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel, Towers – 2, Charoen Krung Soi 30, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand.
For further information, please contact: WHEF 2013 @ BANGKOK SECRETARIAT
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