In business today, there are certain keywords which keep coming up again and again – relationships, networks, leadership and trust. I hope you will not be surprised to discover that India has always known this from time immemorial and lived it without using these fashionable terms.
However, the world we live in today is directly attacking and disrupting communities so new methods and institutions need to be created to salvage and revive. One excellent example of the is the Jain International Trade Organisation – JITO.
Starting from India, it is now a global hub for entrepreneurs, professionals and young aspirants keen on starting careers or businesses with meaning, purpose and a reliable trustworthy network. JITO directly helps businesses to connect with one another through a professional office headquarters, which hosts national and international conferences. In addition, there are ‘Dragons’ Den’ like pitch events, there is practical help and mentoring and a vast reservoir of talent grown over generations. This talent comes from a culture of self-discipline and enterprise, where no challenge or barrier is too much, and a profound understanding of interdependence NOT independence.
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Yes, there are many kinds of business networks today all over the world but one that springs from a commercial trading community has a very different bank of hope. It keeps a culture alive, revives the sense of belonging and helps members see that business is not just for profit but for the upliftment of the whole of society. JITO keeps people grounded. Charity is a central mission of JITO and many scholarship, education and housing initiatives for young people in India are funded by members.
For me as a scholar of culture and finance, the success of JITO proves my point- that sustainability is rooted in history, beliefs and community and to see it as a NET ZERO technical fix is to completely misunderstand it. We have no choice but to understand and work with communities and nourish them to build the trust and relationships that we have lost today. No modern networking group can reinvent trust out of thin air. To be trusted one has to have conscience and self-discipline, honour and shame too. Business classrooms rarely discuss this and often miss the truth altogether, teaching a transactional science which converts students into greedy profit-seekers.
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We all need to nourish community networks like JITO. They give hope in a dark, selfish and insecure world.