Commerce & Industry

Dr. Jagat Shah, an International Trade Expert Advising Foreign Governments on Export-Import, Technology Transfer, Joint Ventures and Investment

Chief Managing Director, Global Networkahmedabad

I have never believed in receiving any award, I have always believed in giving awards.
Visit my website
I have never believed in receiving any award, I have always believed in giving awards.
Visit my website

An influential entrepreneur and foreign trade expert, Dr. Jagat Shah combines his business acumen and strong sense of social responsibility to work towards the upliftment of the Indian economy by training MSMEs for export business. He is running eight successful companies today, of which four are commercially oriented while the rest focus on non-profit initiatives. As the CMD of Global Network he has successfully taken 180 business delegations to various countries, hosted several delegations for B2B meetings, and trained 6,200+ companies in the past 27 years.

Dr. Jagat Shah is the Chief Managing Director of Global Network, one of his four commercial companies. Currently, he resides in Ahmedabad but works from all over the world. He runs eight companies, out of which four are commercial businesses, while the other four work on a non-profit basis, which he personally enjoys working on.

Dr. Shah describes that Global Network represents foreign governments in India. They have worked with the government of Manitoba, a province in Canada, the United States Department of Commerce, the Government of Brunei, the Government of Senegal, the Oman Government, and with many other countries.

Global Network is a consultancy firm that primarily advises on imports- exports, joint ventures, technology transfers, and investments. In this firm, they have taken 180 business delegations to various countries and also hosted several delegations for B2B meetings.

Foreign trade expert Dr. Jagat Shah’s 2nd profit-based company is Global Network Institute where they train small and medium scale Indian enterprises about export business and also take them to various countries. Till now, they have successfully trained a whopping 6,200 companies in the past 27 years. He shares that for the development and growth of our nation, it is of utmost importance that our exports keep growing. He proudly shares that all the entrepreneurs trained by them are exporting their products and services successfully to date.

Talking about his 3rd company Cluster Pulse, which is a not-for-profit company, Dr. Jagat explains that it mostly deals in the economic development sector. Here, they engage with various industrial clusters of small and medium enterprises, taking them to the next level of competitiveness. This results in improving their production processes, access to the latest technologies, and better HRM practices. Cluster Pulse has worked with 80 clusters in India and 20 clusters abroad.

Cluster Pulse also runs a poverty elimination programme where they work with 2000+ people who are below the poverty line (BPL). They train these people to produce handmade items and sell their products, which helps them get out of poverty in a 1-year time frame. Dr. Jagat mentions that activities like poverty elimination programmes are funded by international donor agencies like the World Bank, the United Nations, GIZ India, the Department for International Development (DFID), the USAID, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Asia Development Bank, and the Africa Development Bank.

Talking about another of his companies, ‘Mentor on Road,’ Dr. Jagat elaborates that he drives around the world mentoring women in businesses, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), start-ups, and various Indian diasporas. He mentors these people about the latest changes happening in India and how India is becoming a favorable location to do business with.

The next company he talks about is ‘Vibrant Markets by Dr. Jagat Shah’, where they do market research for events like ‘Vibrant Gujarat’, ‘Vibrant Kutch’, ‘Vibrant Saurashtra’, ‘Vibrant Goa’, and ‘Vibrant Tamil Nadu’. They plan to organize such vibrant events in every state of the country that primarily focus on trade and investments. In this company, they also do market research outside India.

Another company, ‘’ is a podcast company headed by him. They do podcasts on international business-related topics and exports. He strongly believes that trade can solve the challenges faced by India and many other countries by generating employment opportunities and changing societal mindsets. He adds that only when we build prosperous companies will the nation and its people become prosperous proportionately.

Dr. Jagat highlights that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of developing India by 2047 will only be possible if a high percentage of the GDP comes from the export sector. He stresses the fact that his primary mission is to increase export numbers, and hence all his companies are working with this objective.

Speaking about the economic development of the nation, Dr. Shah says that there was a time when India was called 'Sone ki Chidiya’ and used to contribute up to 25% of the world's GDP. During those times, we were predominantly exporting a lot of things like knowledge, spices and herbs. According to him, these were not merely products that improved the taste of food but products that improved health along with many medicinal benefits and held a significant part in India’s heritage.

He further adds that during that golden period of our country, we were exporting our heritage by exporting fine fabrics that could be even passed through a ring, which was all part of the traditional knowledge Indians had. Later, when foreign countries ruled us, India lost its heritage. But now, India has again become a “knowledge-based economy.” Dr. Shah elaborates that today, India’s highest exports are in the IT sector. By exporting IT services on such a vast scale, India has proven to the world that, in a true sense, the country stands true to the term “Vishwaguru.”

Pointing towards the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, he says it was expected to take 10 years to be developed by other countries; but India developed it in merely one year and even gave it free to 100 other countries. According to Dr. Jagat, this shows the soft power of India. He adds that the vaccine that we developed is nothing but the knowledge power of the country. Developing and producing the COVID-19 vaccine at such a mass level denotes that the country is going back to its knowledge era.

He says he usually gets suggestions that Indian companies should expand in India first, at least in 3 to 5 states, and only then start exporting. On the other hand, he advocates manufacturing their products in the country and promoting exports because when a company starts exporting, they come to know about the best practices followed in the world for their product. This will help them adopt newer technologies, improve business practices, and also prevent foreign companies from entering the Indian market in that segment.

Dr. Jagat advises the Indian MSMEs that in order to grow their business, they will have to add the “knowledge factor” to their business and then start exporting their products. He shares that exports are a benchmark of competitiveness, which helps make the process efficient, beats global market demands, and, in turn, raises the standard of living globally, along with promoting sustainable practices alongside.

Dr. Shah divides SMEs into groups (also called clusters) and educates them about the market opportunities available to them. He emphasizes the point that many enterprises enter the market directly without doing much research. But he prepares them for six months. Here, the process of preparation relates to checking if the processes are ready, marketing tools are in place, the website and all social media handles are up to the mark, and customer video testimonials and brochures are updated. In the next step, they take them to a particular country personally, set meetings with the buyer, and oversee everything so that the enterprise gets as much business as possible.

Thus, he says that it is a complete hand-holding process. He also brings to attention that SMEs are usually afraid of exporting to international markets, but once they fulfill one export order, they usually tend to fly. Dr. Shah proudly shares that his trainees, who are established business people, have accounted for about 1000 crore of export business every year.

He reveals that today India contributes 2 to 3% to the GDP of the world, but our “Sone ki Chidiya” era is coming back when we can increase these contributions to 25% again. He assures that small and medium enterprises will be largely contributing to this era again.

He happily shares that the children of well-established MSMEs are studying abroad today. Pointing towards the shift in mindset today, he quotes that in the past, students went outside to study and never came back to India. But this trend has changed now. Students go to study outside and then come back to India and contribute to their family businesses, thus taking their businesses a long way. He advocates that this is a very righteous approach, and coming back and making a contribution to India is a wise decision. Dr. Shah proudly says that there is no better place in the world than India when it comes to culture, family values, ethics, morals, and principles, which were thoroughly proven during the pandemic as well.

He says that India has always worked for global welfare, and not just for its own. Hence, he stresses the fact that MSMEs must take their business all over the world.

When asked about his achievements, Dr. Jagat Shah shares that in his LinkedIn profile (Global Jagat Cluster Pulse), in his achievements section he has written, “I have never ever believed in receiving any award, I have always believed in giving awards.”  Based on that point, he never accepts any awards. Even when he was nominated for the Padma Shri Award, he refused to accept it. He believes that his real Padma Shri will be the day when corruption goes away from India.

Dr. Jagat says he rather docks on non-materialistic achievements like the satisfaction he derives from his work. Reiterating that he believes in giving more than receiving, he says he is giving 90% of his time to non-commercial activities. He mentions that whenever any person in need comes to him with a problem, he is able to offer solutions to those problems just out of his gut feelings, which is like a God-gift. It may be due to the positive and selfless intention that these solutions work out for the people. Dr. Jagat believes he can understand people’s pain and provide solutions to release those pains. Dr. Shah has a meeting scheduled every hour where he only helps people and takes no charge from them.

Talking about his work experience, Dr. Shah shares that he has worked in different countries throughout his career, particularly for ten years for an American company that was based in China. After this experience, he got very good exposure to working in international business. He was working as the CEO of that company, and that was when he decided that he could either work as a senior executive or start his own ventures and contribute to the nation on a larger scale.

Driven by that thought, he came back to Ahmedabad, India wanting to start a consultancy firm in Ahmedabad for export advisory for small and medium-scale companies. But, Gujarat being an entrepreneurial state itself, he was advised by multiple people that rather than telling other entrepreneurs how to export, he should start exporting himself. He was taken aback by that suggestion, and didn’t have any counter to that. He tried giving consultancy but could not find any success for six months. At that stage, an entrepreneur suggested he train the MSMEs for an export business.

Dr. Shah shares that it took him an unsuccessful six months to realize how important it is to use the right words when pitching a business. He was using the word 'consulting,' but then he started to use the word 'training.' Both words have the same meaning with very minor differences.

Now, he pitched the same clients, saying that instead of giving them consultancy services, they would be training them. Instead of a consultancy firm, he established a training institute, which eventually became a huge success. Dr. Shah shares that he has vast experience from all over the world and in various products. He also adds that most of his businesses started by default and were not planned ventures.

The guy who had suggested Dr. Jagat to start training businessmen now requested  that he be taken to a country for cracking business deals, to which Dr. Jagat happily agreed. He took the entrepreneur to Bangladesh for the first time, along with a team of 10 other “students” of his, and arranged meetings for them. Some of them got good business out of this. After coming back, all the 10 entrepreneurs conceded  that they had finally understood the true meaning of consultancy.

They remained his clients for the next four years, and learned a lot of things about export business from him. Dr. Jagat took them abroad multiple times for business purposes. Thus, his venture, Global Network became a success.

Elaborating further, he explains that in 1991, the Indian economy was opened to the world, but it actually adopted reforms towards liberalization, privatization, and globalization for the first time in 2001. During those times, he used to take a delegation to Canada. While working with the Canadian government, a Canadian minister asked him if a Canadian delegation could visit India for business. Agreeing to this, Dr. Jagat hosted delegations from 10 Canadian companies, and it became a huge success. This is how, eventually, his firm started working with the Canadian government, which gave them a model of ‘2-way trades.’

In 2004, they started working with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). The pioneer project was about the export of Chanderi silk from Madhya Pradesh, which had just started being exported. They formed a cluster of companies that collectively exported the product, which led to good overall economic development.

They worked on similar models for 10 years. He recalls one of the best projects done in Afghanistan. He mentions that his drive has always been to do the work that nobody else is willing to do. They worked on important development projects in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2015. These projects were linked to the US Department of Commerce, the US Department of Defence, the German Government, the British Government, and the World Bank. Here they were working to empower Afghani women by helping them export handicrafts, besides helping carpet weavers and dry fruit farmers. He states that now the world may be booming in e-commerce, but Afghani companies have been exporting garments on e-commerce since 2007.

Working in difficult conditions where nobody else can work has always been Dr. Shah’s inspiration. He also worked in Orissa for a poverty elimination programme, where they worked with people below the poverty line (BPL). He underlines the fact that his companies are known for innovation around the world. They came up with great resources and manpower in hand, which helped them come up with the best possible innovative solutions.

Dr. Jagat Shah says that he believes that any MSME can never grow their businesses without taking risks. Whenever he took a risk, he always succeeded. He shares that he has always worked with pure intentions and keeps his values in mind.

Dr. Jagat shares that he enjoys driving all over the world with his wife. They drove from Ahmedabad to London, Ahmedabad to Siberia, Montreal to Vancouver, and now, in November 2024, they plan to drive to Melbourne, Australia, on a trip encompassing 59 days. During the tour, they also mentor various people. It is a non-profit activity that they enjoy and which helps uplift different businesses, mostly done by women.

In addition to this, he shares that he believes that life is like a vessel; we cannot always keep on receiving, but we must also have a tendency of giving back, otherwise the water might overflow from that vessel. He believes that he has received a lot in life, and to give back, he does such not-for-profit activities. He mentions that he feels very content and satisfied by helping people and giving back to society. He shares that sometimes he receives such messages in the morning saying that by adopting Dr. Jagat's practices, which he advised them six years ago, they are running a successful venture today. These kinds of messages always motivate him to do more for society.

When it comes to his personal life, Dr. Jagat Shah mentions that he was born in Ahmedabad and comes from a Gujarati-Jain Baniya family. His father was working in the construction sector on contracts for the Indian Army. Hence, his childhood was spent in various states of India. In his first 4 years, he lived in Shillong, Meghalaya; the next 5 years in Kolkata; and then in Madhya Pradesh, in Korba in Chhattisgarh, in Surat; and then settled down in Delhi. He gained top-quality schooling from Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Delhi. He feels fortunate to have studied at the No. 1 school in Delhi. Later, he studied for a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Delhi University and pursued an MBA degree as well, after which he started his career.

Continuing with the education part, Dr. Shah observes that when it comes to education, teachers can be game changers in one’s life. But he observes that in today's times, teachers are not being respected as much. He says that we must always respect our gurus, and during his childhood and even today, he bows and touches his teacher’s feet. He recalls a fond memory about an advice given to him by a teacher of his. While he was studying at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Delhi, he  was poor in mathematics, but somehow managed to pass the subject by merely memorizing the calculations. In 11th grade, when he had to choose a subject, he chose Science and Mathematics. But, one of his teachers, Grace Madam, called him to ask why he had chosen math despite not being good at it, to which he replied that he had chosen it only because everybody was choosing it. Grace ma’am taught him that day that even if everybody else was doing something, we should only select what suits us. She advised him to select Geography instead, which suited his thought process and nature.

He proudly mentions that, due to that decision, he topped in Geography all over India in the CBSE Board. Now, Geography has become his career. In international business, having a knowledge of geography proved to be a useful integral part of working all over the world. He underlines the fact that a teacher’s advice can change a student's life. He thinks that teachers must be treated as gods. Even today, whenever Dr. Shah visits Delhi, he makes sure to meet Grace Ma’am. He believes that he owes his success to her and the advice she gave him to choose geography.

Dr. Jagat Shah shares that, like many people, he admires the principles, life, and work of Nelson Mandela and also takes inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi’s life. Talking about mentors, he says that Umesh Kapadia has been his mentor throughout his life. He was the Senior Vice President of Standard Chartered Bank in the US. Dr. Shah says that very few people stand beside us when we fail, and Mr. Kapadia was beside him during his failures when he guided him out of them, and to date, he follows the advice given by Mr. Kapadia.

Dr. Shah also mentions that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inspired him in a way nobody else has. He worked closely with PM Modi during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat. He traveled with him and met many foreign delegates along the way. Recalling those days, he says that all those times and meetings with him have been unimaginable and amazing for him.

Dr. Jagat has delivered an audio podcast stating why PM Modi is a “Yugpurush.” He shares that a “Yugpurush” is someone who is born once every 1000 years. Adding to this, he says that calling PM Narendra Modi a “Yugpurush” is always for the right reasons. Dr. Jagat is simply in awe of how PM Modi has managed himself as a person and as a leader of the country. He feels that India is very lucky to have a person like PM Narendra Modi and the country will definitely rise under his leadership.

He explains that there have been several incidents when he has closely seen what a great man PM Narendra Modi is. Highlighting the fact that we have an Akshardham Temple in a Muslim city like Abu Dhabi and many such incidents put him in awe of the work of Prime Minister Modi. He adds that there are many amazing stories attached to him, like the release of the diamond merchants from China. He hopes that India takes advantage of his presence to develop itself.

Dr. Jagat Shah also has a flair for writing and has written several books as well. He spends 30 minutes writing short poems every morning, and the rest of the 23.5 hours are for others. He says that the best part of his book, ”शब्दों की ज़िम्मेदारी" (Shabdon Ki Zimmedari), is that every poem you read feels like it is written according to the life of the reader itself. He suggests keeping this book at the place where we have our coffee and reading only one poem every morning. The poems are as short as 2 to 3 lines. He guarantees that reading one poem every morning will make you feel positive throughout your day. The lines written in this book are based on his previous day’s experience, and whatever he writes is a gist of society and his experiences as a whole.

He meets a lot of people every day; he visits numerous universities and also interacts with youngsters there. He shares a few lines that he tells to the children of MSME owners: “नौजवान दौड़ तो सकते है तेजी से, लेकिन दिशा दिखाने के लिए आज भी बुजुर्ग चाहिए।” He explains that the parent who started the business and the child who works on it today both play an integral role. Neither of them will be able  to sustain a successful business single-handedly.

He recites a few poems from his book शब्दों की ज़िम्मेदारी (Shabdon Ki Zimmedari), which go like,

"सुंदरता सस्ती है, चरित्र महंगा  है,

घड़ी सस्ती है, समय महंगा है।"

"आपके शब्दों की कदर वही करेंगे,

जो आपके मौन से परेशान हों।"

“चाहे बेहिसाब हसरतें पालिए,

लेकिन जो मिला है उसे भी संभालिए  ।”

He has also written a book for MSME owners, which is named "जब पूरा जगत कैद में था" by Dr. Jagat Shah. In this book, he talks about the pandemic times when he was at home for three months. This book shares his experiences of the lockdown and what he did in the first 90 days of the pandemic, staying at home despite being a person who always kept on traveling throughout the world. He notes that in his 25 years of business experience, the highest growth was achieved in the first year of the pandemic. To this day, he does not go to his office and enjoys working from home. Hence, this book "जब पूरा जगत कैद में था" is for all the small and medium enterprise owners who are engaged in work throughout their day and don't get to spare much time with their families despite earning good money.

Thirdly, being a Jain, he has written a book on Jain Dharma which is available by the name  “Jain Philosophy & Dharma for the Youth of 21st Century.” Once, when he was driving in America for an 82-day tour, which covered the East, West, North and South regions of America and covered 35 cities, he met Jain families in the evening. When he met them, he used to ask what their biggest pain was? And  they told him that their biggest regret was that they could not imbibe in their children the values of Jainism as they were too busy setting up their lives and making money. People also lamented that their children make fun of the Jain ceremonies and rituals as they have no understanding of the religion. Perturbed by that, he  did a lot of research about it.

He started taking sessions on Jain philosophy every Saturday with about 2000+ followers listening from America. In those sessions, he talks about the relationship between science and Jainism. He talks about Jain dharma and artificial intelligence, space technology, genetic engineering, genomics, nanotechnology, quantum computing, AR, VR robotics, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), IoT, Blockchains, Web3 (Web 3.0), sensors, drone technology, 3D which was all written in Jain scriptures 3000 years ago. In his sessions, he also asks his followers from the US about what is the latest thing they are doing which Dr Shah relates to how it was mentioned in Jainism scriptures 3000 years back. In his book, he describes all the Jain ceremonies and their relation to science.

Talking about his hardships, Dr. Shah shares that after having a successful career of 10 years, he failed in his very first venture which he had started in India. From being a star performer to suddenly failing in his own business was very challenging for him to handle. Those six months of failure were very difficult for him to overcome. However, from then onwards he never looked back. He adds that there were always some physical hardships which he had to go through, like when he took part in an agriculture-food exhibition held at a remote place in Afghanistan which was 40 kms away from Kabul. He had taken 50 companies from India with him. He recalls that the 5 pm bus was the last bus that left for Kabul and, being engrossed in discussions, they missed the last bus and hence they had to walk for 15 kms with their heavy bags in a desert. But he shares that despite the physical hardships, they tried to enjoy every part of it. Fortunately, they got transport help after 15 kilometers which facilitated them in reaching their destination.

Being an avid traveler, he travels all around the world and there are a lot of physical hardships involved in these travels but he finds his energy in interacting with so many people he keeps on meeting while he travels. He recalls that recently he met one of his entrepreneur students on a flight who mentioned that after following Dr. Jagat’s advice, he was successfully doing a 500 cr business today. Incidences like these take away all the tiredness and exertion he faces in the travel.

Dr. Shah shares that India is now a KEYDW economy where K stands for Knowledge economy, E stands for Eco-friendly economy, Y stands for Youth-driven economy, D stands for Digital economy, and W stands for Work-from-home economy. He mentions that 65% of the Indian population, i.e., 100 crore people are below 35 years of age, and 50%, which is 72 crore, are below 25 years of age. We have 110 crore smartphone users in India, and hence we are a 100% digitally literate economy. The youngsters of today need to get into self- employment because, according to Dr. Jagat, the number of jobs available will never be equal to the youth population of the country. Hence, self-employment is the best thing available to us. He advises everyone to equip themselves with the latest skills and technology.

Dr. Shah affirms that artificial intelligence is creating more jobs because services, manufacturers, trading companies and other businesses are growing exponentially, and thus they need to hire more skilled people. He points out that there are many free courses available on Coursera and YouTube, which can help you polish and update your skills. He underlines that, in today's times, there is a shortage of skilled professionals. He stresses that today if we ask any MSME owner whether they are  getting the manpower equipped with the right skills that they want to hire, he guarantees that not a single one of them will say ‘yes.’ Hence, there is no shortage of jobs but a shortage of skilled people to hire.

Dr. Jagat Shah believes that the youth must get into self-employment; they may start small, but it will expand in the future. He cites the example of Narayana Murthy, who was a teacher, and had to put his wife Sudha Murthy’s jewelry on mortgage to buy the first five computers for his business. He has become a billionaire today because he understood the importance of a knowledge economy and employed the right skills. Elaborating on this, he counts a few more examples, like Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Elon Musk of Tesla, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Steve Jobs from Apple; none of them had money when they started their businesses. Underlining how all of them used their skills to reach where they are today by adopting the latest technological advancements, he says he believes that it is very easy in the beginning, but it gets easier as we work on it.

In his opinion, we must have honesty, dedication, commitment, and, most importantly, punctuality to succeed and become a part of the ever-growing Indian economy. He explains that a lot of youngsters who went abroad to study are coming back after 5 to 10 years to participate in the Indian economy as they see the potential here. They know very well that India is the only country where one can achieve materialistic success as well as social exposure. He points out that in many developed countries, only 40% of people are getting married and 60% of couples are getting divorced; thus, only 20% of marriages are surviving. Hence, money is certain to be of no avail without a happy family, values, cultures, morals, and religion, which they can find in India altogether. For those doing jobs, Dr. Shah says that they must work like it is their own company. Having a sense of ownership will help them get promotions, and thus, in a knowledge-based economy, there is certainly no shortage of business opportunities. He believes that a business does not need capital but the right ideas, which we are short of.

Dr. Jagat advises MSME owners and professionals to share advice and knowledge based on their experiences with others. He diligently follows the statement, “As much knowledge you spread, that much your wealth will grow”.

Dr. Shah is fond of collecting hats and has an impressive collection of hats which he has collected from the places and countries he has visited. Several of the hats have been gifted to him by prominent persons like the former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Fidel Castro of Cuba, Indian General Suhag during the Kargil War, the Maharaja of Mysore, the Finance Minister of Nepal and the Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Dr. Jagat Shah, a proud Indian, shares that three taglines “Desh Pratham,” “Vande Bharat” and “Vishwa Kutumbakam,” are always a part of every social media post of his. He concludes by saying that while the country always comes first, but at the same time, the whole world is our family.

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