IABCA celebrates Australia India relationship

By Neeru Saluja

With a vision to take the annual India Australia Business & Community Awards (IABCA) to India, IABCA Founder Sonia Sadiq Gandhi is taking one step closer every year.

A flagship event of the community, IABCA celebrates Australia India relationship while honouring migrant entrepreneurship and community leadership. The director of Gandhi Creations, Sonia Sadiq Gandhi felt the need to showcase success stories in our Australian Indian diaspora.

“When we launched the event in 2013, we had a 10-year strategy and though we are in our fifth year, our progress indicates we have reached our eighth year. This has made us realise that there is not only a gap in the market for success stories, but also a gap to showcase the challenges when you are taking your business to India. Traditionally, the diaspora was focussed coming to Australia, working hard and becoming successful, but now that diaspora wants to take their successful Australian business models to India,” acclaims Sonia.

The fifth IABCA platform recently held an exclusive event ”˜IABCA Stars’ in honour of the 2018 finalists at Nanda/Hobbs Art Gallery. As the event witnessed the who’s who of Sydney in a contemporary setting, it also provided a platform to meet the finalists, past winners and dignitaries from across the nation.

The audience also got to hear from Julian Leeser MP, B. Vanlalvawna Consul General of India, Former Premier of NSW Barry O’ Farrell, Sheba Nandkeolyar, Chair of Australia India Business Council and former diplomat, journalist and writer John Zubrzycki, who has recently launched his book ”˜Empire of Enchantment’ in Australia and ”˜Jadoowallahs, Jugglers and Jinns’. While the finalists were congratulated for their achievements, everyone voiced that there could not be a better time to be involved in the Australian India relations.

As the finalists travelled from interstate to come for this event, IABCA is also travelling across Australia and the 2018 gala event will be held on October 12 in Brisbane. “Our strategy is led by the diaspora of people heavily involved in Australia India relations and they are telling us we cannot call ourselves national unless we go to other cities. We want to take IABCA to each state which logistically can be a challenge in itself. But when you see success stories and how people from NSW are doing business with Victoria due to the IABCA relationships, it’s worth all the effort”, says Sonia.

And while it is travelling from city to city, IABCA has also grown from one event to three events. “Due to the demand and popularity, we host three events ”“ a round table discussion, the STARS event and the awards night. We also started off with six judges and now every year the panel is different for credibility perspective,” tells Sonia.

As few of the IABCA finalists will become stars on the gala night either for their business leadership or community services, we hope they repeat the magic of the ”˜Chai Vali’ Uppma Virdi, IABCA 2016 Businesswoman winner who created headlines as her story was picked up by Times of India leading to an overnight success in her tea business. “The time has come when we need to showcase our success to India and my vision is IABCA being held at a venue chosen by the Department of Foreign Affairs in India. IABCA will always be the platform to highlight the success stories and community work”, says Sonia.

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