Greater business focus for the Ladies’ Wing on the anvil
MUMBAI, India, Aug. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Vanita Bhandari, MD and CEO of DBS Corporate Services, has taken over as the 50th President of IMC Ladies’ Wing. The Ladies’ Wing was established in 1966 as an arm of the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to promote women’s empowerment in India. Over the years, many prominent women from all walks of life have been Presidents of the Wing. As a successful businesswoman and passionate supporter of women’s causes, Vanita Bhandari is all set to change the status quo when it comes to women’s empowerment. Her chosen theme for the year is Me: The Change-maker. It’s a powerful reminder that the change-maker is the face you see in the mirror – you yourself. “I believe there are things each one of us can do right now to make change happen,” says Vanita Bhandari. “Add it all up and you have a change revolution.”
One manifestation of change on the horizon is the Women Entrepreneurs’ Exhibition that will be held at the Dome, NSCI, Mumbai, on August 21st and 22nd this year. This will be the 33rd edition of the exhibition, which started with around 20-30 participants at the IMC building and has grown exponentially year after year to now being held at the Dome, one of the largest exhibition venues, not only in Mumbai but across India. 240 participants have been chosen out of 600 close competitors from across the length and breadth of the country and also from Dubai and Hong Kong. Under Vanita Bhandari’s leadership, the Exhibition will be a showcase of the best products and services in their class, with an emphasis on sustainability.
It is interesting to see the wide spectrum of demographics the participants represent. Some are as young as 20 years and some are senior citizens getting a second innings. “It’s not their age that matters but the quality they bring to the table. And their commitment and reliability,” says Vanita Bhandari, explaining the choice of two senior citizens who competed with the younger generation for a place in the exhibition.
Supporting Sustainability is a cause that Vanita Bhandari is passionate about and it is the underlying theme in the exhibition. Eye-catching installations on Sustainability across the exhibition are a constant reminder that each one can commit to daily actions to help save the planet and also ensure their children’s future. “The installations will be re-used after the exhibition,” Vanita points out. Participants in the exhibition are using eco-friendly materials as much as possible. For instance, the hangers in the fashion stalls have been made from chindi or waste fabric.
Passion lives here
A wide and varied canvas of products and services will be on display at the exhibition. The categories include fashion, jewellery, gourmet (which has 22 participants including 12 first timers) – in fact, every lifestyle category that hasmet IMC’s set quality standards. With modern trends in mind, the gourmet section includes dishes which combine taste with nutrition and health-consciousness in ingenious ways. Textiles will see a revival of traditional Indian art like bandhani, shibori and patola with a contemporary twist. Prominence is given to NGOs supporting causes that matter. And this year, there will be five new NGOs, given guidance and expert advice by the Ladies’ Wing to help them become best in class. An exciting addition this year is The Wedding Lounge which showcases everything you need, want or dream about for a wedding. Wedding Sutra is launching a Wedding Charity Registry at The IMC Wedding Lounge, aiming to empower couples who are passionate about “donating for a cause” to choose from a range of NGO’s, non-profit organisations and causes to create their Charity Registry. “It’s my dream to see The Wedding Lounge” evolve into an exhibition in its own right.
“Passion lives here,” says Vanita Bhandari. “The passion of all the participants and self-belief make the exhibition different.” Mumbai is the mecca of exhibitions in the country, with different exhibitions being held in the city every two weeks. “This represents a great opportunity for participants to make it to the national and even global levels.” None of the participants currently have their own retail presence in the city. The exhibition gives them a platform to showcase their products and also be spotted for their talent and become known. After the two days of the exhibition, many entrepreneurs come out of anonymity and evolve into distinctive brands.
According to a 2015 McKinsey study, with equal participation of women in the economy India’s GDP can rise by 16.60%. The study also shows that women contribute 14% of the total entrepreneurship in India. Quoting Hillary Clinton, Vanita Bhandari says: Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world. And, she points out, “India’s untapped reservoir adds up to half-a-billion – the strength of our woman population.”
Greater business focus
Vanita Bhandari’s vision for the Ladies’ Wing is for women to take the next big step and be entrepreneurs on the world stage. “I want to see ‘woman scale’ successes, benchmarked with the best. The Ladies’ Wing has plans to support women entrepreneurs with masterclasses in different competitive fields (like the Diamond and Retail masterclasses already held). There will be a greater business focus on the agenda with expertise being made available in areas like financial services and IT, not generally considered a woman’s forte. “There’s no reason why a woman can be as good as a man in these areas,” says Vanita Bhandari. “All she needs is help from experts and a little push out of her comfort zone,” she says.
Vanita Bhandari also wants to focus on girls who display the spirit of enterprise early – the entrepreneurs of tomorrow-and believes in giving them all the encouragement and resources they need to blossom.
From moths to butterflies
“Our women entrepreneurs are like moths who break out of the chrysalis and transform into butterflies. Our greatest joy is to see them find their wings with a little help from the Ladies’ Wing,” she says.
About Ladies Wing: The Ladies’ Wing of the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a premier business and professional women’s organization with over 2200 members, consisting of entrepreneurs, managers, professionals and women from leading business houses. What began in 1966 as a forum for creating socio-economic awareness and encouraging the spirit of enterprise is today, a dynamic organization for the empowerment of women.
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