Nearly 300 Leaders From 36 Countries/Territories Attend World Trade Centers Association And World Trade Center Bengaluru

54th Annual Global Business Forum

The association’s flagship event connected leaders with international business opportunities throughout Karnataka, India

 World Trade Centers Association® (WTCA®) — an international trade organization connecting more than 300 World Trade Center® (WTC®) locations in nearly 100 countries — and World Trade Center Bengaluru have successfully concluded the 54th annual WTCA Global Business Forum (GBF) in Bengaluru, India. The five-day event, which took place March 3-6, brought together WTCA Members, international B2B delegates and local Indian business delegates comprised of leaders in business, government, academia, media and international organizations to hear insights from chief dignitaries representing the state of Karnataka and key experts from around the world; engage in conversations on current trends across AI, agritech and real estate; and explore India’s economic development. Nearly 300 attendees across 36 countries and territories, and 105 WTC businesses gathered to learn about the business opportunities in Bengaluru, Karnataka and throughout India, and to forge new global business connections. The 2024 WTCA GBF marked the meeting’s debut in Bengaluru since its rebrand, further elevating WTCA’s core mission, “Connecting Businesses Globally,” and the highest WTCA Member turnout at the annual event since 2017.

With the theme, “EPIC: Empowering Progress through Innovation & Collaboration,” the GBF included addresses from the Hon. Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka Sri. D.K. Shivakumar and Sri. M.B. Patil, Minister of Large & Medium Industries, Infrastructure Development on India’s economic development, growth potential and business opportunities, especially in the state of Karnataka as the sixth-largest state in India aims to become a USD $1 trillion economy by 2032 by growing at a sustained growth rate of 18 percent. Sri. D.K. Shivakumar’s felicitations stressed that Bengaluru’s association with the World Trade Centers Association symbolizes an enduring legacy of excellence and achievement, and how the GBF would bring attendees to work together, think together, and visit important places in Karnataka, offering them insights to bring back to strengthen their businesses. Sri. M.B. Patil also discussed that the state will drive automation and develop AI-powered subscription products or services, through partnering with technology companies to leverage Industry 4.0 technologies; and introduce a new clean mobility policy that aims to position Karnataka as the premier destination for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing. Romal Shetty, CEO of Deloitte South Asia, also gave a keynote address unveiling the new Deloitte research report, “India as an Investment Destination and Scope of Karnataka.” Other notable speakers included M.R. Jaishankar, Executive Chairman of Brigade Group, who gave the opening remarks with John E. Drew, Chair, Board of Directors of the WTCA, to welcome GBF attendees to the state of Karnataka, known as “One State, Many Worlds,” and to kick off this year’s premier annual event.

In partnership with the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC), the event offered onsite B2B matchmaking services, with over 300 scheduled B2B meetings, connecting delegates with business opportunities in Karnataka and across the international market. 

“This year’s GBF successfully united WTCA Members from around the world with local Indian businesses, underscoring our commitment to establish interconnected business networks around the world. We selected Bengaluru to host our first rebranded GBF as we focused more on B2B matchmaking and implemented it as a new initiative to strengthen the business connections we normally make during our annual events. Having a partner like BCIC ensured the quality of local Indian business delegates for our attendees to connect with,” said Mr. Drew. “The GBF exemplified our dedication to promote international investment opportunities in India and facilitate meaningful business relationships. We learned and witnessed firsthand, India’s strength as the third largest country in purchasing power in the world, and our members are now leveraging the new connections they made to find ways to drive prosperity and innovation between their regions and India. Following this GBF, we left with confidence that this region is right for investment for businesses as well as for our Membership growth as we further expand our Association.”

“We are honored to have hosted so many incredible leaders from around the world, introducing and sharing Bengaluru’s diverse talent pool, growing innovation sector, and world-class hospitality,” said Vineet Verma, newly-appointed WTCA Board Member and Managing Director of World Trade Center Bengaluru, Chennai and Kochi. “India aims to be a global production hub, attracting many global companies to invest here, and we look forward to nurturing new relationships and furthering strategic partnerships with those who attended this year’s GBF.”

Additionally, another indication that India is ripe for investment is the interest in establishing partnerships between India and around the world. During the GBF, a total of 12 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signings between WTCA Members in various regions, and between WTCA Members and BCIC took place – most notably, MOUs were signed between WTC Bengaluru, WTC Twente and BCIC fostering a partnership between the Netherlands and India; and between WTC Bengaluru, WTC Riyadh and BCIC fostering a partnership between Saudi Arabia and India.

The 2024 WTCA GBF concluded with a grand ceremonial announcement of next year’s host. The 55th annual WTCA GBF is scheduled to take place in Marseille, France from April 6-9, 2025, and will be hosted by WTC Marseille Provence.

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