Dr. Saroshi Dubash, a Director of the Abans Group of companies, was unanimously elected as the new Chairperson of Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) at the Annual General Meeting held recently.
She succeeds Vidyani Hettigoda who raised the WCIC to great heights during her tenure and was also the recipient of the honourable distinction of Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Merit (Knight in the French National Order of Merit).
Dr. Dubash has plans to initiate programs to uplift and enhance the standards of women entrepreneurs and their businesses by developing and strengthening relationships with other women’s chambers in the country. She also intends to liaise with Women’s Chambers in other countries to facilitate and promote the export of products of women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. During her tenure, she will extend invitations to guest speakers from the international community to help impart their knowledge and expertise to the members of WCIC with special emphasis on how business processes can be enhanced by technology.
Indian High Commissioner Ashok Kantha was the Chief Guest at the event.
The WCIC is a non-profit organisation with a membership of over 150 business and professional women of Sri Lanka. It has emerged as a permanent organisation in Sri Lanka for advancing the interest and views of business and professional women of our country and become a powerful voice for improving and advancing the business environment for women entrepreneurs. It was established in 1985 with the support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as one of the first Chambers in the world to be set up specially for women. Most of the members of WCIC are engaged in small and medium scale enterprises such as textiles, leather products, handicrafts, soft toys, travel trade, cosmetics, garments, flora and horticulture.
The WCIC’s priorities are to link together women who own and operate businesses, thus providing opportunities to develop their potential and to exchange ideas, participate in conferences, training programs and trade fairs, as well as to identify new markets at home and abroad. WCIC also assists with advice and consultancy services.
WCIC conducts ongoing projects in poverty alleviation, rural entrepreneurship development, savings and credit, migrant women training, agribusinesses etc. It also organises several important events such as ‘Women Entrepreneur of the Year’ for large, medium, small and micro categories, ‘Women in Business’ trade fair and exhibition and ‘Buyer-Seller Meetings’ creating forums where entrepreneurs could meet prospective buyers.
WCIC assisted three students and one trainer from the Nuffield School for Deaf and Blind in Jaffna to successfully complete a course in Hair Dressing and Beauty Culture.
WCIC also helps to uplift the livelihood of war widows in under developed areas in Mannar District through Colombo Plan under the micro credit project. It also conducts a chick farming project in Batticoloa funded by the German Embassy in Sri Lanka. This will be conducted in the Mannar District as well.
WCIC is planning to organise the fifth Annual Conference of the South Asian Women’s Network (SWAN) in Sri Lanka in July 2013, with the assistance of Prof. Veena Sikri, Convenor of SWAN.
The vision of WCIC is to become a strong organisation that is accessible to women from all parts of Sri Lanka and help them solve important issues related to business and to network with organisations in other countries to enhance its reach.