In June 2006, at the age of 22, Pavithra decided to start a new venture which would redefine the way philanthropy is perceived. She started Vindhya, a BPO organization in Bangalore with a mission of bringing “Business & Philanthropy” together for a successful cause.
Vindhya a socio-economic venture started by her is the India’s first & only and arguably world’s first & only for profit organization whose employee base majorly consists people with disabilities (PWD’s) as its production staff. Its production staff comprises mainly of physically challenged Hearing Impaired, socially disadvantaged women & Border cases of Autistic, it also focuses on women from BPL families to complement the rest of the workforce.
Starting as a first generation entrepreneur she has been able to grow the company from 5 PWD’s to close to 1300 employees. Her vision is to employ 5000 PWD’s by 2020. Vindhya serves customers who are one of the top 3 in their respective domains.
Lessons from life at Vindhya for her is “Known is a drop and unknown is an ocean” what’s accomplished has no significance compared to what’s discovered as the possibilities that can be done.
For me when i started the entrepreneurial journey the knowledge was nil and expectation was zero. For very long Vindhya did not even know that it will someday be recognized as a Social Enterprise. This laid the foundation to the belief that whatever is happening is positive and tomorrow is surely going to be better than today and believe in a saying “Tomorrow is Mine”.
But, this was at a time when there was very less to no confidence in the Ability of a Person with DisAbility” and here was Vindhya trying to prove with not just one but with group of them.
Corporate world looked at Vindhya both in admiration as well as puzzled with the workforce that it boasted of and reluctantly as well as willingly to test the waters.
The biggest success for Vindhya was that the corporate that started working with Vindhya and very soon realised the potential of the hidden talent that was never bothered to be mined and helped them to impose faith in them. The corporate not only increased their work load to Vindhya but went ahead and relooked into their hiring policy and made Inclusion as not just a Corporate Social Responsibility but actually opening up the workplace to people who valued and needed the opportunity.
Our accomplishments come true by an array of actions that includes
· Awareness campaigns throughout villages on how PWD’s can lead a normal life.
· Providing food & accommodation at a subsidized rate.
· Counseling them on how to win their dreams. Our employee counselling platform “Dhwani” has won NHRD award for best HR practices for PWD’s.
· Activating a stipend model from the day-1 till the end of training giving them a sense of self-sufficiency.
· Enabling visually impaired individuals through technology interventions and providing them with Brailled manuals .
· Sponsoring one child education of our employees children.
· Ensuring that they fulfill their dreams, helping them sustain, gain self-respect and a career progression charter helping them reach upto Managerial level & an eco-system that they love to be in.
And today they earn equal opportunity at workplace, great amount of dignity in society for their capabilities, able to come out of their debts and some of them own their dream homes!
The Vision is to build not only India’s Largest but also World’s largest social enterprise in the ITES space which provides mainstream jobs for Persons with Disabilities.
Amongst many, Some of the recognitions received are:
· Shell-Helen Keller Award By NCPEDP
· TATA-TiE Stree Shakthi Award 2009”.
· “Young Achiever Award 2010” from Brigade Group & Rotary.
· NDTV Profit business leadership Award-Social Enterprise.
· Special recognition by NASSCOM for Gender Inclusivity successfully for 2 years in a row.
· Recipient of Loreal- Femina Business Woman of the Year Award for 2014.
· Bangalorean of the Year 2013 by Namma Bengaluru Foundation.
· Karnataka State Award from the Disability Dept. of Govt. of Karnataka
· Best Employer Award for employing PWDs by Government of Karnataka in the year 2011.
· Suvarna Mahile Award 2014 from Suvarna News24*7
· DFID Samrudhi-Sankalp Recognition for Women Empowerment Enterprise
· Rotary BSE-SME National Award for Excellence
· KSMBOA Award for most Inspirational Women Entrepreneur of the year 2015
· Women Achiever of the year 2015 by Vidyaranya.
· Rotarian HR Prathibha Award-Woman of Distinctive Vocation
· International Award for the “Best Employee Engagement Award” from Global Sourcing Council ,New York.
· Has also been selected as “one of the 25 leaders of tomorrow” by Times of India a leading National Daily in India.
She is a commerce graduate from Bangalore University and was pursuing her Chartered Accountancy at the time of founding Vindhya. She has done her Executive General Management Program from IIM-Bangalore.