Delhi: Summit on economic opportunities for minorities in new business environment

November 25, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Summit on economic opportunitiesNew Delhi, November 23, 2014: In a step forward from the regular discussions on political and social empowerment of Muslim community, a need for focusing on economic opportunities for the community, especially in the light of new business environment was the main theme of a seminar held here.

The theme was ‘Minorities under New Business Environment: Developing Skills and Entrepreneurship’ and the occasion was the 6th All India Minorities Business Summit & Awards held at the India Islamic Culture Centre (IICC) on Friday, November 21, under the aegis of multilingual Maeeshat Magazine.

“What are the opportunities for minorities in the new environment? What kind of involvement of the minorities should be there in these new circumstances? How minority businessmen can benefit from different government schemes? How and what should be the participation of minority businessmen? This business summit is an attempt to find out such answers,” said Danish Riyaz, editor of the Maeeshat, which calls itself the first magazine of minorities’ business and economy.

“And, we want to play a bridge between the government and the public.”

The event did not see expected turnout but the organizers were not disheartened. “If we had wanted to bring crowd, we could have easily done so, but we invited only those people, who would be interested in entrepreneurship. This event is aimed at giving a platform for engagements with such industry leaders.”

The programme had generated some controversy earlier as many saw it as being ‘sponsored’ by the ruling BJP. According to the organizers, Zafar Sareshwala, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s close aide and CMD of Parsoli Corporation, Ahmedabad was “specially invited” while Union Minister Nitin Gadkari too was likely to attend the event.

Riyaz, however, shirked such criticisms, “Our only aim is to provide a platform to let the community youth avail opportunities from different schemes and available resources.”

He further told, “This is the sixth summit that we organized and in the last five programmes, UPA government was in power and we had engaged with that government as well. Irrespective of which party is in power, the community cannot sit back, but is required to engage with the government.”

As the programme began, Riyaz announced that Sareshwala, Mufti Barkatullah, Shariah adviser, Islamic Bank of Britain, UK, and Irfan Alam, founder SAMMAAN Foundation and former Fellow Harvard University (USA), were absent for “personal and logistical reasons.”

Suhail Lokhandwala, a social and political figure from Mumbai, himself a Memon, who are involved largely in trade, drew attention to the plight of the community in his inaugural speech. Citing references and anecdotes of conservation of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he said, the benefactor is always better than the beneficiary.

Sirajuddin Quraishi, IICC president shared his experience in the meat industry and challenges he faced. He encouraged the youngsters to try hands at entrepreneurship.

Tanveer Ahmad, former president of BJP’s Minorities Cell and Haj Committee focused on the importance of being involved in the task of governance and insisted that Muslims be part of the system. “There are so many sectors where Muslims practically have no presence, he reminded.

The aims and objectives of the Imamiah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) that represents Muslims in the co-operative sector were introduced by its MD Syed M Quaim. “We want to utilize the positive energy of Muslim community and we have gained a lot in short span of six months since our inception.”

Khalid Ali, MD of Multigain Company, spoke about the opportunities for investment in compliance with the Shariah and gave details of how his group of companies works in India according to “Islam’s Dos and Don’ts”.

Later, a panel discussion on the main theme of the programme saw participation from esteemed experts. Dr Javed Jameel, a columnist and scholar, Ishtyaque Ali, an expert with Orbit law firm, Aun Safvi of Imamiah Chamber, Waqar Anwar of Jamat-e-Islami, Mustaqeem Ahmad and Khursheed Alam comprised the distinguished panelists.

Shariqe Nisar, founder of TASIS and former fellow of Harvard University moderated the discussion. Mahbubul Haque, an eminent educationalist and founder Chancellor of University of Science and Technology, Meghalaya, chaired the session. Giving his own example, he said, “Besides educating our children we should also invest in the education industry.”

The evening also saw presentation of awards, including for ‘Best Entrepreneur’, ‘Excellence in Investment’ and‘Best Woman Entrepreneur’.

Woman Entrepreneur Award 2014: Shahina Khan, CMD, Espire Education; Entrepreneur Excellence Award 2014: Mohd. Mustaqeem Qureshi, Chairman, The Al- Nafees Group; Edupreneur Award 2014: Mr Mahbubul Hoque, Chairman, ERD Foundation and Chancellor, University of Science & Technology, Meghalaya; Best Entrepreneurs Award 2014: Dr J K Jain, chairman, Jain TV Group; Social Responsibilities Award 2014: Al Khair Co-Operative Credit Societies Ltd.; Outstanding Innovation Award 2014: Irfan Alam, Sammaan Foundation, Patna.

– tcn

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