Partnering global academia for research, innovation and impact

WGC invests in research and development opportunities in collaboration with some of the world’s leading academic institutions.

Good afternoon Students, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate the LSE SU India Forum for creating this global platform that connects the industry and academia. As one of the largest student forums in the UK, it is a great platform for interacting with young, bright minds of this prestigious institution.

The scale and reach of this forum reinforces my belief that education is the tool for development of economies, betterment of societies and advancement of our civilization. In a world that is increasingly marked by discrimination, we cannot have a weapon better than education to erase needless boundaries and nurture our dreams of parity. Education has the power to instil maturity and tolerance to accept diverse viewpoints and the courage to create an environment of equality.

I am a great believer in the strength of education, the power of youth, and the value of disruptive thinking. When brought together, these three factors hold tremendous potential to transform the story of mankind as we know it. I have witnessed this at close quarters.

About three decades ago, a young man nurtured a dream – that every Indian should have a house of his own. In pursuit of this vision, he founded a company to enable equitable economic empowerment through affordable access to credit. The young man’s resolve went unnoticed although he sought to implement social inclusion as a business practice long before the term started trending in boardrooms. Nevertheless, he was not discouraged and pursued his vision with single-minded dedication and zeal.

About three decades ago, a young man nurtured a dream – that every Indian should have a house of his own. In pursuit of this vision, he founded a company to enable equitable economic empowerment through affordable access to credit. The young man’s resolve went unnoticed although he sought to implement social inclusion as a business practice long before the term started trending in boardrooms. Nevertheless, he was not discouraged and pursued his vision with single-minded dedication and zeal.

The young man was none other than my father, Late Shri Rajesh Kumar Wadhawan and the company was DHFL. Today, DHFL is one of the leading players in the world’s largest “Housing for All” programme. From a monoline housing finance company, it has evolved into a conglomerate of financial services that Wadhawan Global Capital is today. We continue to be guided by our founder’s vision of empowering the underserved through financial access.

The journey of WGC is like the journey of India. In the 1980s the country was an undeveloped economy – plagued with a plethora of socio-economic challenges and prompting little attention in world economics. In the 1990s, post the liberalization, privatization and globalization policies, it came to be known as a developing economy. Its open economy piqued the interest of global economists and over the next decade it went from being a developing nation to an emerging economy. With everyone vying for a share in Indianomics, today the dream run continues. If anything has changed, it is our confidence and conviction to emerge as the next global superpower. I believe, we are taking great strides in this direction. Earlier this week, India has displaced China as the world’s fastest growing economy.

In recent times, India has nurtured bilateral ties with a significant number of nations. Our relationship with UK has strengthened leaps and bounds over the years. Historically, there has been a strong traffic of investment between the two nations. Today, India is among the top four investors in UK.

At WGC, we chose UK as the first nation to expand our global footprint. It has been an easy choice given the favourable investor ecosystem, ready availability of skilled manpower and the culture of innovation it fosters. London, in fact, is one of the most conducive cities to nurture digital businesses. Just as India is firming its position as a leading innovator in the emerging markets, UK is replicating the same feat among developed countries. Most of our strategic investments in UK being in the fintech space, are working towards financial empowerment. Parity of access, which is the foundational philosophy of the WGC group, continues to be the guiding vision of our businesses world over.

In this context again, the role of education cannot be undermined. I believe that education is not just a fundamental right but also a critical driver of larger development objectives. It plays an important role in poverty reduction, creates better economies and lends stability to the political order. I must say, you are indeed privileged to have an education. You will always be held in high esteem for having this education. However, education remains elusive to a large section of marginalized communities across the world. Access to education is the key and can have have a multiplier effect in shaping the opportunities of the future.

A truly progressive economy thrives on the tenet of equal access to opportunities and resources. An equal world means more even-handed distribution of resources and better access to everyone for opportunities of progress – a characteristic that is glaringly missing from today’s contemporary economics.

As the world economy regains a semblance of balance after witnessing a prolonged period of turbulence, it is vital that equality in access to education is an integral part of the new order. It is a critical investment that we must make today for a better tomorrow. It is the weapon with which we can empower our future generations to dream bigger and insulate their futures from the perils of intolerance and narrow-mindedness.

As I share my views with all of you, my heart is filled with the hope that we are indeed working towards creating an environment towards this end-objective. Let our actions resonate our belief that education is a right not a privilege.

Good luck and thank you!
Kapil Wadhawan
Chairman,
Wadhawan Global Capital

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