De, 64, is the only other Indian woman to be honoured with the award after Bangalore-based entrepreneur and Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. She was the first Indian to be honoured with the award in 2007.
As a part of the honour, a vine has also been baptised in De’s name in the Veuve Clicquot Vineyards in Reims, a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, around 130 km east-northeast of Paris.
The award was instituted in memory of Madame Clicquot and honours her entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity to succeed in the business world.
An elated De said she was deeply honoured by the tribute and that she believed there is a little bit of Madame Clicquot in every woman.
“Madame Clicquot, whose spirit drives Veuve Clicquot to this day, was a woman way ahead of her times. She took control of the family business after being widowed at the young age of 27. She showed enormous audacity and foresight, when she turned the business around in a male dominated field and created one of the most iconic champagne brands in the world,” said De in an interview.
When asked how she feels about a vine being baptised in her name, De said the vine that stands in Reims, amidst Veuve Clicquot’s vineyards echoes one common sentiment – empowered women equal an empowered world.
“When I saw the Indian tricolour flying near ‘my’ vine, and my name on a permanent plaque, I was thrilled beyond words. It was a truly magical moment. Women across the board, when pushed against the wall or the proverbial ‘glass ceiling’ display true grit and determination to beat the odds,” De said.
“By honouring me, the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award honours the half a billion women of India,” she added.
Regarded as the ‘Oscar’ of female entrepreneurs and business leaders, the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year award, celebrates entrepreneurial women who have made a substantial contribution to business, society, culture and beyond.
The award ceremony Friday will be a part of an event designed in French-style art-de-vivre dedicated to the spirit of Veuve Clicquot. De will be presented with a personalised La Grande Dame award trophy by Mark F. Bedingham, Regional Managing Director of Moet Hennessy, Asia Pacific, the parent company of the brand.
“Shobhaa De embodies Madame Clicquot’s qualities of entrepreneurship spirit, audacity and determination, besides demonstrating the persona of individuality, courage and boldness. Therefore she truly deserves the recognition,” said Gaurav Bhatia, Marketing Director for Veuve Clicquot in India.
Further speaking to IANS about the award, Bhatia said that the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award was instituted in 1972 and is now conferred within 25 countries to inspirational women achievers.
“Since its institution 40 years ago, 300 women from across the world have been conferred the award. As a tribute, we have awarded these powerful women with a vine baptism ceremony where they have the rare privilege of christening a vine in their own name,” he said.
“The Award recognises the very same qualities that make them worthy descendants of Madame Clicquot, who was herself a pioneer in a world oft-reserved for men only,” he added.
Chairman of McCann & Co Ann Burdus CBE and Founder and Managing Director of The Body Shop International plc Dame Anita Roddick DBE are some of the women conferred with the award in the past.