The ICBC Gala: A Classic Evening Celebrating India and Canada
The quaint and historic Bangalore club, at the heart of the city, was lit up with strings of lights welcoming guests to the Indo Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC)’s first Annual Gala Dinner held in Bangalore on October 13. Guests made their way through one of the colonial Club’s most special places - its meticulously preserved ballroom to another of its charming sections – its outdoor gardens, where the evening unfolded. The gardens have served as a place for many evenings of get together and camaraderie over the years. Starting from hosting homesick British soldiers in the 19th century to later Indian club members, the outdoors made for an elegant and airy backdrop to enjoy a welcome drink with the right company to kick off the Gala.
The evening was soon abuzz with an eclectic blend of people. The ICBC is the only organisation in India dedicated to promoting Indo-Canadian economic and bilateral relations and at the event, it brought together Indians and Canadians alike. The evening saw diplomats, businessmen, members and supporters of the ICBC - Indians, Canadians and friends from other parts of the globe all making the best of the opportunity to interact and network with one another.
As the Gala progressed, the crowd convened indoors in the beautiful ballroom for addresses from select speakers. Designed in 1905 and completed in 1907, the space was built as a tasteful annex to the club. With its high ceilings, well preserved Burma teak wooden floors, antique windows, arched doorways and grand chandeliers, the ballroom was an elegant and appropriate setting for the Gala. Even in the old days, it served as a venue for socialising – bringing together English men and women, and later Indians, for magic shows, flower shows, cabarets and cinema.
The evening was formally unveiled with a brief welcome by Renato Cudicio, Chairperson, ICBC, Bangalore, and the CEO of TBC-World Group. Cudicio who moved to the city from Montreal three years ago reminisced the business responsibility that brought him here as well as some priceless business lessons he’s learnt on this journey. “The complexity of working in India is directly proportional to the vast business potential that the country can offer”, he said. “In this very sensitive country, the five Ps of marketing (Product, Place, Promotion, Price and People) don’t work the way you expect. Everything will be different. Also, if you want to source in India you have to double or triple your control processes – in the end, what is magic is that it will work.” Cudicio concluded with a valuable piece of advice for getting it right in business in India: “Take nothing for granted and be ready to reassess your business model from scratch!”
The ICBC Annual Gala evening was also a special one, hosted to welcome Jennifer Daubeny, the incoming Consul General of Canada in Bangalore. Stanley Gomes, Senior Trade Commissioner, welcomed Mrs. Daubeny with a warm introduction.
Jennifer Daubeny who made a transition to her new role a few months ago spoke eagerly of the vast potential in building bilateral ties between India and Canada. “There is room for advocacy on issues such as climate change, clean energy, good governance and human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls,” she said.
As for business ties, she pointed out that the Consulate’s trade offices, including in Hyderabad and Chennai are focussing on priority sectors such as aerospace, education, life sciences, innovation and infrastructure. While commitment and energy from an organisation such as the ICBC provides a crucial platform for networking and engaging with business partners on either sides, she said.
The evening also saw the presence of Dominic Marcotte, the new Consul of Québec based in Mumbai and Nadira Hamid, CEO of ICBC, who flew down from Delhi to be at the event. Starting the Bangalore Chapter was a challenge, she admitted. “It was hard to get just a few people together for a chapter in Bangalore. Today, we have this moment here, the total testimonial we have to the efforts of the Chamber,” she said to a packed audience.
Following the talks, the Club’s graceful ballroom turned into the perfect setting for dinner. Moon Arra, a fusion ensemble that brings together influences from Indian Classical music as well as Jazz performed adding pleasant strains of music wafting through the air.
While this was the first ICBC Annual Gala in Bangalore, going by the strong business ties between India and Canada, the ICBC is looking forward to many such events in the future.
Elizabeth Raj | Blogger – Arsha Consulting