A Malayalee has been given the rare distinction of becoming the youngest Chief Representative of The Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO). Ajay Justin Odathekal will head its Hyderabad office. The NBSO has been established with a view to boost Dutch businesses and establish their presence abroad.
A lawyer by education, Ajay passed out of the National University of Advanced Legal Studies in 2011. After his graduation, he moved to Amsterdam to pursue his Masters in Finance and Law at the Duisenberg School of Finance.
Armed with a Master’s degree, Ajay joined the ABN Amro Group, one of the largest banks in the Netherlands, in a graduate programme. After the programme ended, in 2015, he was transferred to New York. In 2016, Ajay quit his job and moved back to India to practise law.
“The reason they (NBSO) picked me is because I have a strong Dutch connection as I continuously worked and studied in Amsterdam. And I’m also an Indian. So they are hoping I’ll be a bridge between the two cultures.”
NBSO has a presence in places where it sees potential for Dutch business. It has offices in China (Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Qingdao, Jinan and Dalian), Brazil (Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre), Germany (Frankfurt, Hamburg and Stuttgart), France (Lyon), United Kingdom (Manchester), Spain (Barcelona), Turkey (Izmir), India (Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad), and the US (Houston).
Ajay, who will officially join on August 1, is in charge of looking at the feasibility of establishing Dutch businesses in India, along with the other two NBSOs in the country. He will oversee the implementation aspect as well.
There are many Dutch IT companies in Hyderabad. As Ajay is in charge of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, he will also be engaging with the bureaucratic and commercial establishments in the two states.
He joins officially on August 1.
Ajay is full of hopes for the future, and says, “After my stint at NBSO, after gaining good experience and meeting a lot of people, I want to continue to work towards bridging the gap between India and The Netherlands.”