The Victorian chapter of the Australia India Business Council has undergone a shake up with self-made millionaire Intaj Khan taking over as President after the sudden resignation of Primus founder Ravi Bhatia.
Khan has strong business credentials. He steers economic development in the southwest as an elected councillor for Wyndham Council, founded a training college, Western Institute of Technology, that twice made it onto BRW Magazine’s Fast 100 list of Australia’s fasting growing companies, and made headlines last year buying the debt riddled Mowbray College in Caroline Springs.
Khan was appointed President of AIBC Victoria at a special meeting on September 19 that saw the entire board refreshed.
Gurdeep Singh Dhillon was appointed Vice President, Gurpal Singh as General Secretary, and Sam Alamiki as Sport Chair person. The meeting also confirmed Carlos Quiroga, John Perera and Manoj Kumar as committee members.
AIBC Victoria is the state chapter of AIBC National, a peak business association for companies in the Australia-India space that works with government to foster trade ties between Australia and India.
Khan joined AIBC three years ago and was previously Vice President of the Victorian chapter.
He told the Indian Sun he was determined to boost AIBC’s membership in Victoria and get bigger companies on board.
“We will be calling a members gathering and having more member consultation on how we can improve the image of AIBC Victoria and work with the members.
“Obviously my target is to increase the membership… We feel the membership is not at the level it could be for Victoria, given the size of the industry and business here, we think there is room for improvement.
Khan said the current membership consisted mostly of smaller companies. “Our challenge now is how we can attract big businesses?” he said.
He also wants to encourage companies from different industries to join so AIBC Victoria has members from across the spectrum.
“It’s a new team now… with my coming up as President of AIBC in Victoria, I know, because I’ve been myself in business, that there will be many businesses who would want to join.
“We’ll we working very closely with the National AIBC. We share the same values so [what we want] it’s not hard to achieve.”
Another priority for Khan is better promoting Victoria to India and vice-versa.
“We haven’t promoted enough of Melbourne and what it has to offer to Indians, there’s much more to show.
On the other hand, “Australia has not promoted India as they should. Tourism is something achievable we can do,” he said.
Khan floated the idea of taking a delegation from Australia to India to showcase what the country had to offer.
He is also planning to form new chapters within AIBC Victoria to focus on different business segments. “We will do things differently, such as we will have active chapters for education, health, trade and investment, real estate, marketing,” he said.
Each mini-chapter will consist of AIBC members as well as an industry expert and will host a regular event for its industry.
Khan was elected to Wyndham City Council in 2012 for a term of five years and holds the economic development portfolio. He also sits on the MAV Multicultural Policy committee and Victorian Local Government Association.
Khan migrated to Australia in 2008 on a student visa and founded Western Institute of Technology in 2007, cornering the market for VET certificate courses in building and construction.
Last year he bought Mowbray College for $6.7 million after it collapsed with reported debts of $28 million. He plans to reopen it next year as a grammar school teaching years 7 to 12.
Khan currently lives in Truganina with his wife and five children.
Published in The Indian Sun, Sydney