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GIACC’s new initiative — a women’s business forum

Devika Rao
April 2009
GIACC’s new initiative — a women’s business forum

The Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce plans to develop a women’s forum that will help women already owning businesses and those looking to become entrepreneurs interact and address issues that affect them.

The organization unveiled the initiative, part of its new mission, at its New Year samosa-and-chai mixer, held Thursday, February 26, at the offices of Eshco Global Investments, LLC, and Newport Design Group, LLC, in Alpharetta.

The event presented a restructured GIACC, which introduced its new mission and new goals to work within the Indo-American business community. Holding a strategy session helped to reenergize the GIACC’s focus, explains Ila Gandhi, co-chair of the Women’s Initiative. “We clearly designed our strategy and mission to what we want to accomplish this year,” explains Gandhi. The newly designed mission focuses on two objectives for the GIACC this year. One is to help organizations that are coming from India to Atlanta to set up and build their businesses and the second is to promote all Indian issues within the community and involve all communities in order to help businesses succeed, explains Gandhi.

One of the outcomes of the restructuring and furthering of GIACC’s initiative is tapping into resources that were not thought of before: women. As the economy hurts memberships of chambers all across Georgia, the GIACC plans to develop a women’s forum aiding the development and supplementing the knowledge of those women who may want to develop, already own, or are looking for a new path in business. “The plan is to hold a forum once a month or every two months that address any issues that women business owners may have,” says Gandhi. “We would like to have speakers, specialists, connecting with other women.” This group will also help bring newly arriving Indian women to connect with one another as well as allow American women business owners connect to the chamber and network in a growing market.

The mixer hosted approximately 50 people who came to engage in social networking, a major requisite for businesses looking to expand these days. The tough economic situation was the underlying breath of the evening as the State of the GIACC address given by President Ritesh Desai focused on such concerns and the GIACC’s mission amidst the struggle. “Our members are hurting as they lose their jobs and businesses; the task ahead is hard, but with our resources and team they can use the GIACC for further growth,” said Desai. Companies looking to work with India can tap the GIACC for resources or vice versa. Mike Siuda, a first-time visitor to a GIACC mixer, checked out the networking event to research alternative business opportunities. “I came to the event to learn how the import-export business works and what steps I may need to establish my own business,” says Siuda, a director of sales for the Kohler Company at The Home Depot.

Alongside working in international trade from India and Atlanta, the GIACC is enhancing its mission statement to incorporate growth of business to include domestic relations. According to Desai, among the GIACC’s long-term goals are to open offices in India, and retain several interns for research and development. For more information on the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, please visit www.giacc.org.

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