THE FIRST PRESIDENT
Luis Guilhereme Dias (1849-1922)
The Late Luis Guiherme Dias, Founder President of the Chamber was born in a modest family from Badem, in the village of Serula, Salvador do Mundo on the 14th of Sept 1849. He inherited a small family business that consisted of agencies which held the exclusive distribution rights for the sale of wine from the famous House of Vinicola of Porto, Portugal and English Whisky, besides a small private Bank.
The enterprising young man soon ventured into Agricultural production and agroprocessing, mineral exploration, mining of manganese ore, building and construction. He purchased or rented land and cultivated paddy in Bardez and Tiswadi and cotton on large tracts in Caley. His improved methods increased the yield of rice to 50 Cumbos in Bardez.
He pioneered agricultural mechanisation in the State by setting up a dehusking machine at Neura and a steam engine to run the crushers at the sugar factory in Saligao where the cash crop stood abundant. This facilitated the increase in production of the commodity which he had been exporting annually by means of a specially chartered ship to Portugal. He further ventured into the setting up of salt pans in his village and the surrounding areas thus making salt available, for a nominal price to all those that had suffered hardship due to its scarcity and high cost.
Mr. Dias travelled to Europe on three occasions even visiting the Paris EXPO twice in search of State of the Art technology and new ideas with which he not only educated himself and improved his own entrepreneurship but also infused its spirit into the minds of his contemporaries.
His commitment to new technology was reflected in the state of the art plumbing and sanitation system which he incorporated into the house that he built at Rua de Ourem in Panjim. It was donated to the Nuns by the descendants of Mr. Dias and was eventually converted into the Immaculate Conception High School. Since he had proved himself adept at Construction and Engineering, he was invited by the Chief Engineer to build a hotel in Vasco.
In the service sector, he diversified his banking activities to discounting of cheques from overseas specially France. He arranged the employment and placement, of a large number of educated young men from Goa in lucrative positions in various government departments in Africa and other parts of the world.
His enterprising nature did not deter him from his social obligations, which he carried out by setting up educational facilities and donating to the establishment of educational institutions, specially in Ponda, for, he believed that only through education, could an individual be self-sufficient and independent.
Luis Guilherme Dias, was one of the founder members of the Associacao Commercial da India Portuguesa which subsequently changed its name to the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1962. He was elected its first and fourth President from 1908 to 1912 and 1917 to 1918.On the 14th of May, 1922, while on vacation, at his ancestral home in Badem, our first President passed away having achieved great heights and making great contributions. His death caused a void, Goa having lost an exemplary son, a giant among his peers, a foresighted entrepreneur and industrialist, a sponsorer of education and technology.