IWD2021: Australia India Business Council Women in Business & Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry FLO MoU to boost bilateral trade & business

10 March 2021

Sydney, Australia – The Women in Business (WIB) Chapter of Australia India Business Council Ltd (AIBC), the peak body facilitating bilateral trade and investment between the two nations, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Ladies Organisation (FICCI FLO) for the two organisations to collaborate to boost bilateral trade and business. The MoU was signed by Sheba Nandkeolyar, National Chair of AIBC WIB and Jahnabi Phookan, National President of FICCI FLO on International Women’s Day 2021 at a Consul General of India Sydney boardroom luncheon in the presence of His Excellency Gitesh Sarma, High Commissioner of India (virtual); Mr Manish Gupta, Consul General of India Sydney; Ms Rowan Ainsworth, Consul General of Australia Kolkata (virtual); and Ms Jodi McKay MP, Leader of the Opposition NSW among other high-profile attendees. The MoU aims to: 

  • Increase demand for goods and services supplied by women entrepreneurs in the bilateral Australia – India corridor
  • Create platforms for increasing trade
  • Support, initiate or improve integration of women vendors into Australia-India value chains
  • Build the capacity of trade support institutions to provide better services to women clients, 
  • Increase awareness among policy makers of the potential of women entrepreneurs and raise awareness of barriers that hamper their participation in bilateral trade
  • Partner the two organisations for Women of 7 Continents, FICCI FLO’s forum for the exchange of information, experience, visibility, and connectivity among women business owners

His Excellency High Commissioner of India to Australia, Sri Gitesh Sarma said: “Women have broken through and touched all frontiers that can be conquered. Today, as we recognise the contributions of women, I offer congratulations to Australia India Business Council Women in Business and FICCI FLO. It is great to see women in both countries are joining together to take our great bilateral ties even further – and what a timely initiative too. This will inevitably bring to life the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership that Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison began when they last met.”

Mr Manish Gupta, Consul General of India – Sydney said: “In the Australia India corridor, women have left an indelible imprint. Congratulations to AIBC WIB and FICCI FLO. This MoU will be key to supporting the women-centric chambers that are operating here in Australia as well as in India.” 

Ms Jodi McKay MP, Leader of the Opposition NSW presented Sheba Nandkeolyar with a Certificate from NSW Parliament recognising the role that women play in business. McKay said: “On International Women’s Day, we recognise how far we have come, and how far we have to go. FICCI FLO and AIBC WIB are showing that women have a great role to play in the bilateral relationship.”

Sheba Nandkeolyar, National Chair of Australia India Business Council Women in Business Chapter and CEO of MultiConnexions Group said: “I am confident and optimistic about the remarkable potential of this new MoU between AIBC WIB and FICCI FLO to fast-track bilateral trade and business between the two countries. Empowering women could lift the GDP of any country by 1- 2 per cent. 

“AIBC WIB vision is 50-50 involvement of women in bilateral business and trade, and I am pleased to see this reflected in the gender diversity of the AIBC National Leadership team, where the board composition is fifty per cent women,” added Nandkeolyar.

Jahnabi Phookan, National President of FICCI FLO said: “I am delighted to sign this MOU today on behalf of FICCI FLO with AIBC WIB. The trade possibilities and potential between Australia and India are endless. Australia and India’s ambitions are possible, with women business leaders playing a strong role. The digitisation of the world post COVID has made it even easier to take advantage of the opportunities and FICCI FLO’s Women of 7 Regions (W7) initiative is working hard to take women into the value chain to make these opportunities easy to grasp.”

Sanushka Seomangal, National Vice Chair of AIBC representing AIBC National Chair Jim Varghese said: “This MOU between Australia India Business Council Women in Business Chapter and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Ladies’ Organisation will further cement the strong bilateral business and trade relationship between the two countries, and provide women entrepreneurs in the bilateral space with solid resources to fast track their plans. Australia India Business Council is committed to promoting and facilitating initiatives that increase trade and business between the two countries, and I am confident today marks a solid step in the right direction with the support of government and business leaders.”

The boardroom session was extremely insightful, with attendees sharing experiences of doing business with India, attendees’ experience of Brand India and business and trade possibilities that India represents. 

Other high profile virtual and in-person attendees included Dianne Tipping, Chair of Export Council of Australia; Rose Kerlin, Group Executive Membership, AustralianSuper; Nick Hockley, Interim CEO, Cricket Australia; Sonia Gandhi, AIBC NSW WIB Chair; Julia Niblett, NSW Director of DFAT; Vik Singh, Digital Education Director at Austrade; Helen Hamilton Jones, Managing Partner at Deloitte; Harriet Diana Richards, ANZ Head of Corporate Affairs at TCS; Kavita Singh, Chief Executive, Bank of Baroda; Nimeesha Gupta, Educator and Linguist; Debra Singh, Board Member; Prof. Veena Sahajwalla of UNSW Research; Mala Mehta of IABBV Hindi School; Prof. Neena Mitter of QAAFI Centre for Horticultural Science; Dr Meena Scindia Chavan of Macquarie University; Deputy Consul General of India Sydney Mr Sanjay Muluka; and AIBC WIB leadership Reet Phulwani, Tamanna Monem, and Preeti Daga.

– Ends –

About Australia India Business Council: 

AIBC was founded in 1986 and is the only national body representing bi-lateral trade and investment relations between Australia and India. The AIBC is a national membership organisation with active chapters in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra and maintains close relationships with federal and state government agencies, the diplomatic corps and industry bodies, and showcases opportunities to the Australian business community through an active program of events throughout Australia. For further information, please visit www.aibc.org.au 


AIBC Media Contact: AIBC National Secretariat secretariat@aibc.org.au