It was a night to remember.
In the evening of March 3, 2011, around 70 guests gathered at the Ambassador’s Residence in South Forbes Park to witness and celebrate the inauguration of the Philippines Norway Business Council. H.E. Norwegian Ambassador Knut Solem gave a welcome speech, and congratulated the Filipino-Norwegian business community for having envisioned the creation of the council, and for providing the steam that led to its actual formation. He expressed his enthusiasm about a body that will enable Norwegian and Filipino businesses alike to have a platform to discuss issues, share and exchange experiences and information about each other’s businesses, and even do social responsibility activities together. “The PNBC is of the business, by the business, and for the business.” the good Ambassador said.
PNBC President Stein Eriksen presented the achievements of the council from the time the interim board of directors and officers were voted into office by its initial members on November 12, 2010. Mr. Eriksen explained that the Board has met regularly every month throughout the period and simultaneously secured the official registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, while working on the beefing up of the ranks of PNBC. The organization has more than 35 duly-registered and paying members, and the figure is expected to reach around 50 in the coming months as more membership interests are received from companies and individuals.
An official PNBC bank account has been opened with HSBC in Makati City.
“For the time being we plan to continue with the monthly board meetings, the hosting for which is rotated among the directors or even other volunteering members. The water holes that we have after the board meetings as a social activity is open to all PNBC members, so please join us!”, the PNBC President said.
Mr. Eriksen also presented some future activities envisioned by the board, which include, formation of sub-committees that will be focused on Shipping, Renewable Energy, and CSR; organizing of business luncheons with external speakers; an event showcasing Norwegian cuisine or culture; a Christmas lunch or dinner; and possibly a PNBC golf tournament. The members were encouraged to bring further ideas to the BoD before the AGM in May. The group was also informed that the PNBC Annual General Membership Meeting (AGM) where a new Board of Directors will be elected is scheduled for May 2011. Members were encouraged to propose candidates for the election of board members.
After the PNBC presentation, Thor Sodha from the Embassy presented a new section of the Embassy’s website, entitled “Doing Business in the Philippines”. The Philippines and Norway have robust, although still limited, bilateral economic and commercial relations, which the Embassy would like to further enhance, among others, through this initiative.
“We invite you all to visit the new section of our website, and we hope that this will be a useful instrument for interested companies and help bring about an increase in the trade relations between Norway and the Philippines.”, Mr. Sodha said, at the end of his presentation.
Active mingling and cordial conversations among the guests ensued amidst fine wine and sumptuous finger foods. It would not be a surprise if some business deals have been sealed on this night as well.