Friday 22 September 2017

Day 78 of Mentor on Road, USA

“The mistake is that we want to tie the whole world down to our own plane of thought and to make out mind the measure of the whole universe.”
-Swami Vivekananda
Day 78 of Mentor on Road, USA started with an UN event organized by Rotary club of New York. We were glad to have the opportunity to listen and debate with the Minister of Macedonia on investment opportunities and strategies. Mentor on Road shared about its initiative and how the entire journey has turned out to be very beneficial and promising for both the countries, India and the USA.

Known as the "Host Club of America", the Rotary Club of New York is comprised of 200 leading international business and professional men and women who meet weekly at a luncheon to advance the interests of New York City, to keep informed on key world, political, economic and social issues, and to serve the community. Founded in 1909, it is the sixth oldest Club in the Rotary International organization.

From Rudolph Giuliani to the Russian Ambassador, Rotary speakers from the widest range of civic and international interests provide insight on local, national and world issues.

Fellow Rotary members of many nationalities who are top executives represent a broad range of private business, government and professional activities in New York City furnishing a unique personal network of resources.

Volunteer activities and other contributions to civic, charitable and service organizations offer an unparalleled opportunity to serve the community of New York.

We then discussed on several ways of working in Macedonia with micro, small and medium companies to create competitiveness and connect them to global markets. Mentor on Road would soon be submitting a proposal on the same.

In the evening, Mentor on Road was honored to receive a book in New York on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “The Making of a Legend” at the hands of Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak whose organization, Sulabh International is doing trend setting work on sanitation in India. 

Sociologist, social activist, and Founder of Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, Dr. Pathak believes the toilet is a tool for social change. He has received a great deal of national and international recognition for his work, including the Stockholm Water Prize in 2009, and he is considered a pioneer for social reform.

Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, a non-profit voluntary social organisation founded in 1970 by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, is dedicated to Gandhian ideology of emancipation of scavengers. Sulabh has been working for the removal of untouchability and social discrimination against scavengers, a section of Indian society condemned to clean and carry human excreta manually. 

Sulabh is noted for achieving success in the field of cost-effective sanitation, liberation of scavengers, social transformation of society, prevention of environmental pollution and development of non-conventional sources of energy. 

Environmental friendly two-pit, pour-flush compost toilet known as Sulabh Shauchalaya that is socially acceptable, economically affordable, technologically appropriate and does not require scavengers to clean the pits and implemented in more than 1.2 million houses all over India that has helped liberate over a million scavengers.

Construction and maintenance of public toilets at public places and in slums on ‘pay & use basis’ is a landmark of Sulabh in the field of sanitation. So far it has constructed and is or maintaining over 8000 such public toilets in India and has constructed 200 biogas plants all over the country. Production of biogas from public toilets and recycling and reuse of effluent through simple and convenient method is the major breakthrough in the field of sanitation and community health.

As we are coming closer to the end of this journey, Mentor on Road would like to thank all those people who have been a part of it and have shown their support towards the many initiatives approached by us to strengthen the ties between both the countries, India and the USA. It’s been a marvelous journey throughout and Mentor on Road feels extremely grateful to come across all the opportunities till date. 

Jai Ho! (Let victory be yours)

Thursday 21 September 2017

Day 77 of Mentor on Road, USA

All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.
-Swami Vivekananda
Day 77 of Mentor on Road, USA started with a mind-boggling session with Renee Mehrra at her television show in New York. Mentor on Road enjoyed answering to all the questions which included speaking about the motivation behind Mentor on Road – USA trip, our achievements so far, our best experiences, issues relating to women empowerment in USA and India, what are going to be our next steps and how will Mentor on Road sustain the momentum which we have created of bringing both the nations, India and USA closer.

Thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. Mentor on Road would soon upload the interview. Heart-felt thanks to Renee for bringing us this wonderful opportunity.

Mentor on Road then headed to an one to one meeting with Anuj Preet where we discussed about the smart village program and how it can help creating a positive impact in the entire country. Mentor on Road was highly impressed with the passion and sincerity of the intentions shown by Anju towards this project. Those two qualities are enough to impact the lives of people in any village. 

Mentor on Road has already starting working on several villages. We would keep the audience updated for the same. 

In the evening Mentor on Road headed towards the closing event of Mentor on road - USA in New York. It was a super success event with participation of 53 companies and friends. The gracious hosts and airline partner of Mentor on Road - Etihad airways started the evening with a welcome address and by sharing how their airline can make the business connection between USA and India better. 

Then the Director of US Commercial Service from US department of commerce in New York introduced the services of USCS for American companies. USCS Mumbai and Delhi offices supported the program from day one.

After this, Mentor on Road presented the overall work done in this journey of Mentor on Road - USA. We have met 4400 companies in 35 states and 35 cities of USA in 115 events on 82 days driving 10,000+ miles. The break-up of which includes the following:

Met 1800 American companies and have connected 300 of them to India with Quick market research reports ( QMR ) and introductions.

Met 700 women owned businesses and connected 55 of them to Indian women owned businesses.

Met 400 start-ups and invested in 11 and in talks to invest in 16 more through the mandate which we are carrying from many Indian and American investors.

Met 1500 persons of Indian diaspora who have adopted 52 villages where we are now working on identifying pain points of village people and will then work on an action plan to solve these pain points.

The best moment was when the entire audience stood up to give a standing ovation to my team of Mentor on Road back home in Ahmedabad, who had worked tirelessly for last 6 months to make this happen successfully. Thanks to the young team on Mentor on Road and to my wife, Rupal shah who drove along with me with enthusiasm in the entire journey in USA. Also to my son, Nisarg Shah who was part of Mentor on Road leg one tour from Boston to Tampa to San Diego.

Thanks to all the partner institutions in USA who hosted us in 35 cities from morning to evening with event packed days and interactions and for mobilizing participants. There were days when we had five seminars in a day and we were glad that all participants got their worth of time attending it.

Thanks to Start-up India, Ministry of Commerce, government of India for being a partner of Mentor on Road - USA.

Thanks to media in India and USA for spreading the word of Mentor on Road all over.

Jai Ho! (Let victory be yours)

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Day 76 of Mentor on Road, USA

“The powers of the mind are like the rays of the sun when they are concentrated they illumine”
-Swami Vivekananda
Day 76 of Mentor on Road, USA started with a beautiful morning in Central Park, New york. Mentor on Road will be staying near Central Park for the next three days to explore the touristic sites nearby and also, attend the events as scheduled.

Central Park is an urban park in ManhattanNew York City. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States and one of the most filmed locations in the world.

The park was established in 1857 on 778 acres of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, a landscape architect and an architect, respectively, won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they titled the "Greensward Plan". Construction began the same year and the park's first area was opened to the public in the winter of 1858. Construction continued during the American Civil War farther north, and was expanded to its current size of 843 acres in 1873.

Central Park was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1962, which in April 2017 placed it on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The park, managed for decades by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, is currently managed by the Central Park Conservancy under contract with the municipal government in a public-private partnership. The Conservancy is a non-profit organization that contributes 75 percent of Central Park's $65 million annual budget and is responsible for all basic care of the 843-acre park.

A wooded section of the park, called the Ramble and Lake, is popular among birders. Many species of woodland birds, especially warblers, may be seen in the Ramble in the spring and the fall.

Central Park has two ice skating rinks, Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink; during summer, the former is the site of Victorian Gardens seasonal amusement park, and the latter converts to an outdoor swimming pool.

The park drives are used as the home course for the Century Road Club Association's racing series. The CRCA is a USA Cycling sanctioned amateur cycling club.

With the revival of the city and the park in the new century, Central Park has also given birth to other arts groups dedicated to performing in the park, notably Central Park Brass, which performs an annual concert series, and the New York Classical Theatre, which produces an annual series of plays.

In the evening, Mentor on Road prepared for the valedictory event which is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon with Etihad Airways and special guest Carmela Mammas, Director of US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration to celebrate the successful conclusion of the Mentor on Road USA Tour.

Looking forward to an exciting day tomorrow.

Jai Ho! (Let victory be yours)

Monday 18 September 2017

Day 74 of Mentor on Road, USA

“God Gave Me Nothing I Wanted. He Gave Me Everything I Needed.”
― Swami Vivekananda
Day 74 of Mentor on Road, USA is a rest day in New York. Since there are no meetings or events scheduled for today, Mentor on Road has decided to take a break from work and enjoy the tourist sites of this beautiful city.

The first point that we visited in New York was Bryant Park. Mentor on Road enjoyed taking a walk in the park and witnessing the serene views of the city.
Bryant Park is a 9.603-acre (38,860 m2) privately managed public park located in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan. Although technically the Main Branch of the New York Public Library is located within the park, effectively it forms the park's functional eastern boundary, making Sixth Avenue the park's primary entrance.

Bryant Park is located entirely over an underground structure that houses the library's stacks, which were built in the 1980s when the park was closed to the public and excavated; the new library facilities were built below ground level while the park was restored above it.

Even though it is part of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Bryant Park is managed by the private not-for-profit corporation Bryant Park Corporation. The park is cited as a model for the success of public-private partnerships. The park was redesigned in 1988 by landscape architect Hanna/Olin Ltd. and architect Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates.

After this, Mentor on Road headed towards Times Square which  is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center and neighborhood in the Midtown Manhattan section of New York City at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. 

Times Square is sometimes referred to as "The Crossroads of the World", "The Center of the Universe", "the heart of The Great White Way", and the "heart of the world". One of the world's busiest pedestrian areas, it is also the hub of the Broadway Theater District and a major center of the world's entertainment industry.

Formerly known as Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly erected Times Building – now One Times Square – the site of the annual New Year's Eve ball drop which began on December 31, 1907, and continues today, attracting over a million visitors to Times Square every year.

Times Square is the most visited place globally with 360,000 pedestrian visitors a day, amounting to over 131 million a year. Even excluding residents from the visitor count, Times Square is the world's second most visited tourist attraction, behind the Las Vegas Strip.

An immediately recognizable location, Times Square has been featured countless times in literature, on television, in films, in video games, and in music videos.

In the evening, Mentor on Road headed towards Pennsylvania Station which is also known as New York Penn Station or Penn Station, is the main intercity railroad station in New York City.

Serving more than 600,000 commuter rail and Amtrak passengers a day, it is the busiest passenger transportation hub in the Western Hemisphere. Penn Station is in the midtown area of Manhattan, close to Herald Square, the Empire State BuildingKorea town, and the Macy's department store. Entirely underground, it sits beneath Madison Square Garden, between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue and between 31st and 34th Streets.

The original Pennsylvania Station was built from 1901 to 1910 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, and featured an ornate marble and granite station house and train shed inspired by the Gare d'Orsay in Paris (the world's first electrified rail terminal). 

After a decline in passenger usage during the 1950s, the original station was demolished and reconstructed from 1963 to 1969, resulting in the current station. Future plans for Penn Station include the Gateway Project and the possibility of shifting some trains to the adjacent Farley Post Office, a building designed by the same architects as the original 1910 station.

Overall, Mentor on Road thoroughly enjoyed the day visiting the famous touristic sites of New York City and meeting friendly and humble tourists from across the world. Mentor on Road would like to conclude with a well-known quote of Eileen Caddy, “Live and work but do not forget to play, to have fun in life and really enjoy it.”

Looking forward to a constructive day tomorrow. 

Jai Ho! (Let victory be yours)

Day 73 of Mentor on Road, USA

“When an idea exclusively occupies the mind, it is transformed into an actual physical or mental state.
― Swami Vivekananda
Day 73 of Mentor on Road, USA started with a remarkable event with New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

Mentor on Road enjoyed a qualitative discussion on wide range of challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in USA and India and how to overcome those challenges, with the board of New York women's chamber of commerce.

Mentor on Road has successfully come up with several strategies on these areas and would be executing them soon.


The New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce (NYWCC), established in 2002, is a not-for-profit charitable tax exempt organization dedicated to assisting women and other disadvantaged minorities achieve success and economic independence through small business, micro-enterprise ownership and self-employment. 

Furthermore, NYWCC advocates and actively works to create equal and fair business opportunities, while striving to foster an environment that nurtures the growth of women and minority-owned businesses in the city and state of New York

NYWCC is the only chamber of commerce in the city of New York that provides direct business development services to small businesses and microenterprises through its Minority and Women Business Center and its Women’s Microenterprise Institute. Both the MWBE (Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise) Center and the Micro-enterprise Institute have been successfully operating since 2005.

NYWCC works with the MWBE Community, with public and private entities as well as with the elected officials, business advocates and community organizations to ensure the participation of M/WBE contractors and workforce in city, state and local projects. 

Since its creation, the Women’s Chamber has provided business services and training to more than 20,000 individuals, assisted with the creation of more than 5000 new businesses and aided entrepreneurs in accessing 35 million in capital and 45 million in procurement contracts. The organization has also assisted more than 500 entrepreneurs in applying for minority certification and has incubated 30 new businesses. 

The organization, has worked with more than 1000 contractors to help them with bid proposals, cost estimates, contract resolution, payment disputes, scope clarification, financing and more. 

The NYWCC is a network of over 5,000 businesses, and growing. Their programs, seminars and trainings help business owners build the skills they need to achieve economic independence through business, micro-enterprise ownership and self-employment. The NYWCC has provided such services to more than 10,000 individuals. 

NYWCC advocates and actively works to create equal and fair business opportunities, while striving to foster an environment that nurtures the growth of women and minority-owned businesses in the city and state of New York.

Mentor on Road feels extremely thankful for having the opportunity of meeting a bunch of highly motivated and passionate women who are working really hard on the issue of women empowerment. We would soon start working with them for the same and connect them to India.

The journey till now has been tremendously fruitful and memorable. Mentor on Road hopes it continuous to be the same till the end.

Jai Ho! (Let victory be yours)