Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Day One: Enterprise Dubai 2014

Enterprise Dubai 2014 is a two day event planned by the Zarathushtis of Dubai to highlight the entrepreneurial opportunities in the region, and specifically the city of Dubai. Over two days, leaders of industry and business are gathering to discuss and debate their journeys into running their own businesses. And it also provides those in the audience with opportunities to learn about setting up their own businesses in Dubai and the UAE.

[Proceedings from Day Two covered here]

553292_10152430882602035_5180010439761585807_n10850248_10152430897707035_3018330553107669338_n

The event got underway on Friday December 19th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dubai. Over 500 attendees, sponsors, and invited guests from industry and government witnessed a great opening ceremony. Films about Dubai and its superlatives, opportunities and possibilities introduced the city to the audience. The ceremonial lighting of the lamp was done in the presences of H.E. Mirza representing the local government and other dignitaries like Lord Karan Bilimoria, Fali Major and Vada Dasturji Khurshed of the Iranshah.

An operatic rendering of the Ashem Vohu and Yatha Ahu Vairyo by Farah Ghadially accompanied by Jamshed Turel on the piano provided the musical element of the opening.

10351252_10152430897562035_5873776273911405167_n

Meher Bhesania who heads the organizing committee welcomed the delegates and promised a fun filled two days.

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi sent in a congratulatory message acknowledging the millennial alliance and cohesiveness of Parsis within the Indian fabric.

A few events really stood out in the first day’s program. The first was a fantastic presentation by one of the most eminent legal luminaries of India Fali Nariman. He spoke about ethics in business and in life. He said that this is the age of distraction where all of us are bombarded with extraneous distractions of the digital kind.

10868290_10152431006627035_6565691719920347554_n

Fali Nariman narrates an example of how ethics is a necessity in a leader. It is said of JRD Tata …..when told that a certain business practice was not illegal to pursue….quipped back…but is it right ??.

The organizers hopefully will put up the video recording of the speech, as an inspiration to the youth around the world.

Lord Karan Bilimoria spoke of various virtues that have helped him in his entrepreneurship journey. One of the most important was integrity which he said is the cornerstone of Zoroastrian Parsis over the centuries. He also emphasized that it is not only necessary to universalize human rights but also to universalize the respect of them.

There is a very interesting mix of well known Parsis here at Enterprise Dubai 2014. Besides Lorrd Bilimoria there are folks from all over the world including Dastur Khurshed the Vada Dastur of Udvada Iranshah, Dinshaw Tamboly, Bachi Karkaria, Katayun Kapadia, Nadir Godrej, Fali Major, Fali Nariman and many others. And the Parsi press it out in full force with Parinaz and Jasmin from Parsiana, Shernaaz Engineer from Jame and Freyaan Bhathena of the Parsi Times.

The afternoon session had a power packed panel on Corporate Social Responsibility. Nozer Buchia moderated the panel that has Lord Karan Bilimoria, Minoo Shroff, Behram Jeejeebhoy, Homa Petit, Neville Shroff and Dinshaw Tamboly.10388190_10152431092172035_4716251029482676427_n

10599368_10152431124802035_7300633588165594635_n

Later in day Yazdi Tantra chaired a session where the 6 finalists of the Business Plan made their presentations to the judges and answered their questons. The results of the competition were announced later in the evening and Darius Aga of Ahmedabad won the first prize and Rashne Pardiwalla took the runner-up prize.

10300265_10152431161947035_5208935684888072714_n

A lively entertainment program post dinner regaled the crowd.

10676166_10152431560612035_8006914286140448995_n

Some candid observations from Day One:

The success of any event depends on many factors. And running things on time is one of the most important ones. It becomes a disservice to those who actually show up on time, to find out that the entire schedule is running very late. The first day saw a lot of it. Hopefully things will improve the next day.

While some of the talks and panels were fantastic, there were a few that did not serve any purpose besides being infomercials for Dubai Tourism and Dubai as a business attraction. I dont think anyone attending the event ever had a doubt of that as Dubai’s potential. However, in such a tightly packed event, it took away from what is otherwise a great program layout.

A few people in conversation observed what was apparent in the lack of visiting youth. Even though its a business oriented event, a better participation from visiting youth would serve well.

The hosts have been fantastic to a fault 🙂 Every question is immediately answered or resolved.

Looking forward to Day Two