WZCC Pune Hosts Global Conclave

The World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce (WZCC) held a power-packed Global Conclave / AGM 2024, ably hosted by its Pune chapter, from 4th to 6th January, 2024, attended by 150 delegates and other guests, promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship. The conclave commenced with a morning Jashan at the Kadmi and Shahenshahi Agiary (Komra agiary) performed by Pune chapter’s committee member Ardaviraf Sinor and his brother Porus, who’s commitment was lauded in keeping with the fact that they had just performed the ‘paidast’ of their father who passed away the very same morning.

Delegates were provided with a kit comprising goodies and books – ‘The Everlasting Flame – Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination’ by SOAS and ‘The Navjote Book’ by FEZANA. A pre-AGM Directors’ Board meeting was followed by a Humbandagi led by Er. Marazban Hathiram and Monajats by Zarathushti Seva Mandal children.

A discussion by Perin Pudumjee Coyaji and Er. Marazban Hathiram on the esoteric knowledge of our religion vis-a-vis business, was moderated by Dr. Adil Malia. This was followed Boman Irani’s (Rustomji Builders) keynote address on ‘Agile Entrepreneurship in Enchanting Boundless and Ambiguous Markets’, sharing motivational life experiences and highlighting the fear of failure as the leading cause of a non-starter for the youth.

Day 2 started with a welcome address by Global President, Capt. Percy Master, reinforcing WZCC’s mission to energize the Zarathushti entrepreneurial spirit and make WZCC an economic engine for the prosperity of the community. He shared WZCC’s local and global achievements in 2023 and provided updates on developing new WZCC chapters globally, concluding with the wise message, “We cannot build the future for our youth, but we can surely build our youth for the future.”

The day comprised a panel discussion on ‘Vigility, Fragility And Agility In Business’ with panelists Dick Readymoney, Delna Avari, Edul Daver and Zubin Sethna, moderated by Dr. Adil Malia. CERE’s Dr. Rashneh Pardiwalla spoke on climate change and carbon foot print in her topic, ‘Green Is The New Gold’ – Environmental Sustainability In Business’. WZCC’s Women Entrepreneur Wing (WE) presented a session on women empowerment, moderated by Behroze Daruwalla, Global Chair – WE, with panelists Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, Lila Poonawalla and the mother-daughter Rati and Ria Forbes, sharing inspirational experiences proving the significance of women in management positions and as industrial leaders. Armene Modi and members of her NGO – ‘Ashta no Kai’, dedicated to the empowerment of Pune’s rural women, spoke about women upliftment and confidence-building. The day ended with senior WZCC leaders sharing their vision and the way forward for WZCC, followed by an open house.

In his keynote address marking the start of Day 3, Dr. Naushad Forbes, Co-Chairman of Forbes Marshall, encouraged the youth with words of wisdom emphasizing on personal growth leading to progress in business. An enthusiastic youth delegation from Iran presented ideas on restoring the city of Yazd, their own business ventures, and a potential WZCC Trade Mission to Iran. Next was ‘Tiger’s Den’ – WZCC’s take on the popular ‘Shark Tank’ – put together by Jehaan Kotwal, Rashna Sanjana, Hormuz Charna and Rashna Jehani, where four budding Parsi entrepreneurs made business proposals to a panel of investors comprising Dr. Naushad Forbes, Sam Balsara and Mandar Joshi.

Capt. Percy Master then unveiled the detailed Strategic Plan for WZCC’s progress and its implementation, saying, “Hard work and skill work together can create success.” Next was the highlight of the Conclave – The Outstanding Zarathushti Awards for 2023, held at The Royal Western India Turf Club lawns. Winners were announced by Global Corporate Secretary, Behroze Daruwalla, with ‘Outstanding Zarathushti Entrepreneur’ awarded to Cyrus Rivetna (USA); ‘Outstanding Zarathushti Professional’ awarded to Tehmasp Printer (India); Outstanding Young Zarathushti Professional’ awarded to Jehan Daruvala (India); and Outstanding Zarathushti Social Entrepreneur awarded to Rasneh Pardiwalla (India). A Citation of Honour was awarded to East Africa-based Zarathushti Entrepreneur, Berjeesh Surty, originally from Pune, for making a difference to lives in East Africa, through his commitment and vision in the field of Industrial Boilers, Solar Energy, Waste Water Management and Agriculture, including the world’s 10th largest rose farm. In keeping with WZCC’s endeavour to extend its horizons and establish trade relations, an MOU was signed with Asian African Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI), for mutual benefit.

In his address, Chief Guest for the evening, Supreme Court Justice B N Srikrishna (Retd) fondly reminisced his relations with the Parsi Community since childhood, blossoming into friendships with eminent Parsis in the legal field. Speaking on, ‘Why Zoroastrians Make Good Businessmen’, he extolled the Parsi community for its entrepreneurial spirit and for leaving an indelible mark on India’s landscape. He praised Parsi businessmen as nation-builders known for their generosity, honesty, patriotism, taking care of employees and workers and seeking the good of India and all its people. He then presented the Outstanding Awards to the winners announced earlier.

The evening ended with music and a sumptuous ‘patra’ style dinner. The Conclave was conceptualized and executed by Tehmasp Bharucha – Chair, WZCC Pune; Viraf Deboo – Global Director, and the efficient team of Committee members and volunteers. The next Global Conclave, which celebrates WZCC’s silver anniversary, will be held in Toronto, in April 2025.

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