RUPA NAIK, Executive Director World Trade Center Mumbai and Director – World Trade Point Federation

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Last year, we hosted 26 exhibitions and 19 promotional activities, besides several business events at our conference and exhibition facilities

ES. Having an extensive years of professional career, you have undertaken several roles in Trade Promotion and Trade facilitation, how did you land up here? Please give a brief overview of your background and your role in the company. What were the past experiences, achievement or lessons that shaped your journey as a successful leader in this industry?

Rupa Naik. My passion for developing a dynamic trade support ecosystem for MSMEs, women entrepreneurs and also for start-up firms has shaped my journey as an industry expert. It is also my conviction in people and the ability to inspire my team members to work for a long term vision, instead of focusing on the immediacy of the problem that supported my professional leadership. I started my career in the tourism industry after graduating in Economics and pursuing a Diploma in Travel and Tourism from IATA. My stint in the tourism industry helped me acquaint with the cultures, cuisines and traditions of different countries. Even as I enjoyed a career in travel industry, I always nurtured passion for trade promotion and strategic alliances that urged me to explore opportunity in chambers of commerce and trade organizations.

My trade promotion career started more than 30 years ago with a directorial role in AIMO (All India Manufacturers Organization), which equipped me with skills to handle higher responsibilities at AIAI (All India Association of Industries) and subsequently in MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai. The vision for WTC Mumbai is to develop a dynamic trade support ecosystem anchored on the four pillars of trade promotion, trade research, trade education and trade facilities management. It gives me great pleasure to say that this vision fulfills the dream of Bharat Ratna Sir Dr. M Visvesvaraya, who was the inspiration behind the MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai. My vision of a dynamic trade support ecosystem is one which responds to the emerging challenges of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and women owned businesses.

WTC Mumbai has completed more than 50 years of service to trade and industry in 2020. The Center is charting its future course of action by aligning its activities with the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs). As part of this initiative, we have established ‘M. Visvesvaraya Center of Excellence’ to impart vocational and professional skills for persons with disabilities and economically disadvantaged sections of the society, besides providing business acceleration services to MSMEs, women-owned businesses and start-up enterprises. As the practice of sustainability becomes more compelling in future, I look forward to shaping a futuristic trade support ecosystem that caters to the genuine commercial aspirations of local enterprises to go global while also promoting environment and social interests.

ES. World Trade Centre is one of the well-established Venues in India. Please tell us about the facilities provided by the WTC, Mumbai that makes it apart from other venues in terms of MICE capabilities.

Rupa Naik. World-class exhibition facility and office spaces are the hallmark of a premier World Trade Center. Our trade facility is located at a premier location in the southern business district of Mumbai, with proximity to iconic hotel brands, renowned tourism spots and fine dining restaurants. This makes WTC Mumbai a promising venue for both national and international trade shows, besides consumer fairs. We have a world-class, centrally air-conditioned 26,916 sq. ft. Expo Center that is backed by round the clock support services. The venue houses all the facilities, ranging from store rooms, telephone connection to reception area, freight elevator and multi-cuisine restaurant. We assure state-of-the-art support and technical services through our panel of contractors for stall design and construction.

Apart from Expo Center, we also have a 13,735 sq feet garden lawn, 2,800 sq ft North Lounge, 5,043 sq ft Conference Hall and 5,600 sq ft South Lounge to host exhibitions and conferences. The Expo Center hosts around 65 Exhibitions and several Promotional activities every year. WTC Mumbai is also an ideal location for hosting several B2C trade shows such as Kidtown Fair, Kanakavalli Saree Show 2021 and Elite Clothings, to name a few. Our exceptional trade facilities have earned us several accolades and awards, some of which are: the Fastest Growing Venue (2017), Corporate Excellence (2018), Excellence in Services ( 2019) and ‘Star in MICE’ Category Award in 2020 at the Exhibition Excellence Awards organised by Exhibition Showcase.

ES. How has WTC Mumbai aided the industry in inclusive engagement and trade development in the country?

Rupa Naik. WTC Mumbai is at the forefront of internationalizing the business operations of local companies by offering integrated trade service, ranging from trade facility, trade promotion, trade education and trade research. The pandemic created a compelling need to introduce digital tools to connect local businesses to global partners for B2B networking, lead generation and knowledge sharing. Therefore, we launched our new age digital platform wetrade.org to connect local MSMEs to global buyers at minimal cost. Through this platform, we connected local companies to potential buyers and business partners in Vietnam, Mauritius, Latin America, Zambia and other countries across the world.

We have also launched a hybrid trade show Connect India 2022, where we have so far connected more than 150 exhibitors to potential buyers across 10 countries. Apart from these special initiatives, WTC Mumbai also conducts regular networking meetings, interactive meetings with inbound trade delegations and supporting women entrepreneurs, home-preneurs  and start-up firms by offering venue to showcase their products and services.

Further interview in next edition