Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hina Shah – so much and more…

Social entrepreneur Hina Shah is a noted Odissi dancer and a painter. Her novel institute has helped over half a million women to their feet and turned them into successful entrepreneurs.

Hina Shah dares to be different. A home maker, a classical dancer, an entrepreneur, a painter, an academician and the director of ICECD, she is perfectly comfortable in each role. In a man’s world, she has created a niche for herself with path breaking innovative ideas.

A young, energetic, qualified woman, with a desire to become independent, empowered and successful, Hina Shah faced many an odds when she decided to become an entrepreneur in 1976. 30 years back, society was not prepared to see women being independent. However, her determination and grit converted these difficulties into opportunities, and she emerged a successful entrepreneur in the field of plastic packaging. This was her first crucial step towards acceptance and recognition in society. With a belief that economic empowerment is the tool for overall empowerment of women, she piloted a development strategy in 1980, that viewed women as an active participant in economic development. The pilot was called Entrepreneurship Development program, conducted for 25 women of Gujarat, of which 16 women established their non-traditional businesses, and are still in business in 2009.

In 1986, she transformed her vision into an initiative “International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD)” which today is recognized as “Centre for excellence” by United Nations. She has thus facilitated thousands of deprived women to become entrepreneurs all over India and the developing world. By the year 2009, ICECD has reached out to +75,000 women directly and +1150 organizations in India, who have in turn trained +500,000 women. Hina institutionalized Women Economic Empowerment strategy in over 60 countries of Asia, Africa, Pacific and Caribbean, and lately, USA.

Having committed a lifetime to “entrepreneurship”, she has also initiated the Satyamevajayate International School, where students learn the nuances of entrepreneurship from as early as class 1! Her mission is to create these students into capable, successful, persistent and responsible entrepreneurs of the country who will emerge as job creators and not job seekers.

While Hina is not at her desk, you may find her dancing on the tunes of the pakhavaj, for she is an accomplished Odissi Dancer. With many felicitations on national and international platforms, she set new standards for this rich form of Indian classical dance, and has also passed on this art to her two daughters, who have recently accompanied her on stage at the National Dance festival at Modhera.

Hina Shah has inherited yet another art, the art of painting. Her oil paintings are part of many art collectors around the world, and her art gallery is proud of over 100 paintings created by her. Her painting exhibitions have been extremely well received all over India.

It is indeed a wonder how Hina combines such diverse dimensions with such agility, grace and precision! The dynamism that she personifies, the charisma that she presents, and the exuberance and leadership which she exhibits, makes her a true inspiration for many…

Hina Shah has been selected among the 6 finalist for the TITAN-India Today Be-More Legends Contest. A contest to recognise those who have lived more than one life in this one lifetime.

To Vote for Hina Shah, log on to:
or SMS: TITAN HS to 53636
“Bharat Excellence Award” and Gold Medal (Certificate of Excellence) for the year 2009 by Friendship Forum of India.
“Rashtriya Shiksha Samman Puraskar” 2009 by World Economic Progress Society
“Rashtriya Ekta Samman” by All India National Unity Conference in August 2009
“National Achievements Award for Education Excellence” by IEDRA, Delhi – March 2009
“The Bharat Jyoti Award” for contribution to Global Economic Development - 2009
“Gujarat Women Development Award” by the Government of Gujarat, Women and Child Development Department. 2007
“Gujarat Mahila Vikas Puraskar Award” For Outstanding Performance Under SHG Bank Linkage Programme – by NABARD 2006
“National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Award” for “Outstanding Performance” under Self Help Groups (Poor Women) Bank Linkage Programme2004
“SAKHI Award “for “Excellent performance” in Contribution for Women Entrepreneurship Development – 2003 (State level, Gujarat, India)
“Entrepreneurs International Award For Global Contribution In Women Entrepreneurship Development” 2002
“Entrepreneurs International award” “for global contribution” in Women Entrepreneurship Development – 2001
Recognition Of The Services Rendered To Humanity By UN-ANGOS - 2001

“Woman of the Year 2000” award by American Biographical Institute, USA
2000 - Woman of the Year 2000 Award By American Biographical Institute, USA.
1999 - The United Nations - Economic And Social Commission For Asia And Pacific (ESCAP) selects ICECD As A Centre Of Excellence For Human Resource Development (HRD) Research And Training
“Recognition of International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD)” as a “Centre of Excellence” by UN-ESCAP – 1997. I am the founder member and working Director.

Hina Shah in her own words...

"My vision continues to be THE ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN, but the final mission is the achievement of FULL EQUALITY and TOTAL ALROUND DEVELOPMENY of WOMEN. My efforts will culminate only when women from all strata of the society, particularly the disadvantaged and the poor, will achieve a sense of overall empowerment through meaningful participation and decision making at family, community and policy levels.

This empowerment process starts with changes in consciousness and in self perception of women. This has been the most explosively creative, energy releasing transformation, one from which there is no looking back. Our Women Empowerment Strategies have tapped powerful reservoirs of hope and enthusiasm among women who used to view themselves negatively.

I perceive a very positive and vibrant future for the women of India. They will enjoy better status in family, community and society as well as in the professional field. We have successful women role models, who have proven that they have the capability to succeed in any given field, be it politics, economics, or social sphere.

In future, I see myself having reached out to every woman of India, realising my dream of seeing these women as independent decision makers, entrepreneurs and socially and economically empowered in the true sense."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hina (Bhuptani) Shah was born to Mr. Dilip Bhuptani, metallurgical engineer working as the manager with TATA Steel, and Mrs.Pushpa Bhuptani, an artist and social worker. While she was born and brought up in Jamshedpur, she studied her MSc. at the Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) – Vadodara.

Having been brought up in Jamshedpur, she grew up to learn classical dance at Ravidra Parishad, and won numerous awards with her natural and graceful dancing skills even as a child. She has 3 younger brothers. Raj Bhuptani, who is an engineer from IIT Kanpur is an entrepreneur by profession, Vijay Bhuptani, who is an academician and Ajay Bhuptani who is a part of the Union National Bank – Abu Dhabi.

Being the eldest of the 4 siblings, and being the only girl, on one hand, she learnt to take responsibility at an early age, while on the other she also experienced challenges in being a “girl”. But this played a positive role in her development, as she took it as a challenge and learnt to emerge a winner.

Married to industrialist Ashok Shah, she has two daughters. Shital, who is an MBA, and has joined her in her institute, and Shaina is pursuing her Chartered Accountancy.

Ms. Hina Shah. She dares to be different. A home maker, a classical dancer, an entrepreneur and the director of International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development(ICECD). Hina Shah is perfectly comfortable in each role. In a man’s world, she has created a niche for herself with path breaking innovative ideas. With verve and panache, she moves from strength to strength breaking new grounds with her bold initiatives. A progressive personality, but who believes that the sari is the most graceful attire a woman can wear, one invariably finds her in her trademark silk sarees.

With the kind of impact that her developmental initiatives have created on the world map, Hina Shah is a name to recon with at a global level. However, she has many more dimensions of herself, which, put together define her vibrant self.

· Hina Shah – the painter

The canvases painted by Hina Shah form a part of many a art collector’s pride, around the globe. Her paintings occupy important places at various art galleries of India. Majority of her paintings are oil paintings which are a blend of impressionism and contemporary work. Her paintings reflect joy and vibrancy, and have received applause and recognition by art lovers and critics.

A recent exhibition of the paintings at Nehru Centre – Mumbai was extremely well received, and was visited by over 7000 art lovers. Having won several awards for painting, Hina Shah continues to add to her collection of over 50 paintings created by her.

She desires to promote Indian Painters through an Art Gallery which she wants to create, where deserving Indian artists would get international recognition and global platform.

· Hina Shah - the academician

Being an entrepreneur herself and having taught entrepreneurship to thousands through her initiatives at ICECD, Hina Shah started a school called “Satyamevajayate International School” in 2001. Through this school she teaches ‘Entrepreneurship’ to students, 1st standard onwards. She has designed specialised modules, through which she teaches the students the nuances of Business Management and Entrepreneurship from an early age of 6, whereby, the child would develop into a person with capability to be able to start his own enterprise by the time he/she passes out from the school. Thereby, he/she, instead of looking for a job for himself/herself - would be developed into a job creator for others.

Students at Satyamevajayate International School also learn skills like carpentry, electrification, classical dance(including boys) and gardening, whereby they develop independence in day to day activities and also grow up as socially responsible citizens of our country. Maximum strength of the classes is limited to 15 per class, in order to be able to truely develop these children as per Ms Shah’s vision.

Besides, Hina Shah has also designed syllabus of Entrepreneurship Courses for various schools and colleges.

· Hina Shah – the danseuse

She took her first step of dance at a tender age of five. Attracted by the marvel of this art, Hina’s intuition and innocence led her from the thrill and excitement of her first steps at Rabindra Parishad to the specialised steps in the Odissi style of Indian classical dance. Since then, Hina has stepped from mastery to originality. She went on to winning district/state and national level prizes and was chosen to direct a dance drama for All India Radio(AIR) at the age of fourteen.

The meticulous dance training by her guru Sri. Indrakumar Patnaik Mohanti in Orissa coupled with her passion for dance gave Hina’s talent an extra sharpness and richness. She has given dance performances all over India, and in Europe, and has received acclaim from both-people and press.

Being the foremost exponent of Odissi in Gujarat, her dance school ‘Moksh’ has trained many odissi dancers in the state. Her most recent performance at the Modhera Dance Festival was highly appreciated, wherein she performed with both her daughters in a three hour concert. According to one of the press reviews, they continue to mesmerise the audiences with the grace and agility on stage.

Though her work has taken her to over 60 countries world over, her heart is at home. She is a proud Indian, and believes India is full of opportunities for those who want to progress and succeed. While she is fond of Indian cuisine, food comes last on her list of priorities. A simple eater, with extraordinary fitness to carry on a dance performance for 3 hours, ensuring a spell bound audience!


· Hina Shah – the Director ICECD

Hina Shah is a Master of Science with further qualifications in HRD areas. A young, energetic qualified woman, with a desire to become independent, empowered and successful, Hina Shah faced many an odds when she decided to become an entrepreneur in 1976. 30 years back, society ( be it parents, husbands, in laws, relatives, neighbors, banks or even market)was not prepared to see women being independent.

Resistance from society, friction at emotional and economic levels, along with financial institutions refusing to give loans made it all the more difficult for her to initially take the plunge towards independence and empowerment. However, her determination and grit to achieve her goal, gradually converted these difficulties into opportunities. She took up the challenge, and emerged a successful entrepreneur in the field of plastic packaging. Hina Shah, while successfully balancing various other roles of a woman – that of a mother, a wife and a daughter, also received acceptance from family and society.

While having experienced empowerment, when she saw a large number of deprived, poor and helpless women suffering socially, emotionally and psychologically due to economic constraints, she took up the mission to lead them towards self-employment and entrepreneurship. This made them main stream partners contributing to the national economy. Thus, she was the pioneer in starting “Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP)” for women in Gujarat in 1982, with 25 women participants, of which 16 established their non-traditional businesses. Encouraged by the success, she refined the model and implemented it in many districts of Gujarat. These women entrepreneurs were recognized as “economic contributors” by the financial/support institutions and the policy makers.

Her dream was to expand this movement so as to take the movement to every nook and corner of the country, specifically to the disadvantaged and poor women. She felt the need of a specific national/international level organization, with no limitations or defined boundaries, to work for these women. The entrepreneurial competencies within her motivated her to create an entity, which could convert these potential women into successful entrepreneurs. Thus in 1986, she transformed her own entrepreneurial experience into a developmental initiative and started “The International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD)”. ICECD is a unique institute for women entrepreneurship, perhaps the only one of it’s kind, and is recognized as a Centre of Excellence by the United Nations-ESCAP and has facilitated thousands of disadvantaged women to become entrepreneurs not only in the various states of India but all over the developing world.


Hina Shah’s relentless efforts to change the face of the deprived, dependent women of rural India created a noteworthy impact. Rural women - working at a measured and contended pace, some are working at their small vending-trading shops, some manufacture garments; spices; leather/Rexene products and packing boxes in their small work places, and some are busy providing services like cycle repair. They go back home in the evening, with Rs. 50-500 profit in their hands : quite a substantial sum for them. These are the women who hardly involved themselves in income generation and always despaired, thinking about how to feed their children and how to lead a better life, before they joined the development programme. They were the poorest of the poor in the village, illiterate, with no land and a ramshackle hut, with many children to support and feed. Some of them were widows or were abandoned by their husbands, with no assets to help generate income. They had few choices : work as domestic help or a farm laborer, depend on relatives who were as poor, or beg. They were subject to exploitation and abuse, and they along-with their children lived at the edge of survival – a spectre of living dead – with no hope.

When these women became involved in the development initiative called “Rural Women Enterprise/Business Development Programme”, for which they were selected based on their strengths as individuals, they learnt essentially two things:

Ø How to take charge of their lives with dignity and confidence

Ø How to initiate/run and manage their micro enterprises/businesses


In the beginning, when the programme was being promoted, these women were reluctant to participate due to their own lack of confidence/initiative, and were also scolded and discouraged by the larger community for trying to go against established social norms. The custom of secluding women from all but their immediate family and not involving them in any economic activity prevailed not only in the villages, but even among well-to-do people. However, the realization that they CAN DO SOMETHING ON THEIR OWN, and careful counseling, helped them to participate in these programmes. They learnt, applied their minds and succeeded in establishing their own niche.

Today, over 10,00,000 women have benefited in India and in developing countries in rural, urban and tribal areas

· Total investments created in India = Rs 195 Crores
· Total Investment created in other countries = Rs 620 Crores

ICECD’s directly trained over 100,000 women entrepreneurs have further created employment for 300,000 unemployed women of India.