CEO & co-founder Vindhya - an Indian BPO and a unique for-profit company that employes over 1000 disabled people as its majority workforce.
Ashok Giri Durgesh, a resident of Bangalore, India, is Vindhya’s CEO.
In 2006, at the age of 30, Ashok founded Vindhya, a BPO organization located in Bangalore, with a mission of bringing “Business & Philanthropy” together for a meaningful cause: giving jobs and a life with dignity to disabled people.
Vindhya is a socio-economic venture as well as India’s first and only (and arguably world’s first and only)
for-profit organization that employs people with disabilities (PWD’s) as its majority workforce (over 80%).
Its staff is comprised of physically challenged, visually Impaired, Hearing Impaired, as well as
women living below the poverty line.
Starting as a first generation entrepreneur, Ashok has been able to grow the company from 5 disabled
employees to over 1000. His vision is to employ 5000 PWD’s by 2015. As a part of larger inclusion, he is
planning to start another division of Vindhya to provide employment opportunity for widows from families
below poverty line. A plan to employ 500 of them in the current financial year is already underway.
Vindhya’s work has been highly appreciated by Media throughout India and Ashok has also been the
recipient of Shell-Helen Keller Award from the National Center for Promotion of employment opportunity
for disabled people, a Govt. of India body. Vindhya was also named an Outstanding employer by the then
Honorable Finance Minister Mr. P Chidambaram on behalf of Canara Bank (one of the largest national banks in India).
Ashok has been inducted into World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” community for the year 2009-2010.
He has been a regular guest lecturer for various management institutions in India, promoting social-
economic ventures and has been advising various large organization on inclusion of PWDs on a larger scale.
Prior to starting Vindhya, Ashok held senior positions (Director) at R2K Inc, and Network Solutions (an
IBM company) & Trivium Inc (an Intel funded company) responsible for their operations in the Asia region.
Having over 16+ years of experience in leading organizations in various leadership roles, Ashok is a
Science graduate and has completed an executive education program in Leadership and Public Policy at
Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in the USA.
For most disabled people, corporate or professional jobs and careers don't even seem like a real possibility. The reasons are many, and relate to biases as much as they relate to organisational and logistical issues that are needed to create disability-friendly working environments. On the other hand, many disabled people have a hard time imagining that they can have a long and rewarding career. For them, their careers either came to an end, or they never really started.
Vindhya began operating in 2006. We started by employing three physically challenged people. Today, we have over a 1000 employees and projected revenue of $4.2 million for 2015-2016. Vindhya is unique because it is a "for profit" organisation and has purposefully moved away from the NGO route. Our idea was to bring business and philanthropy together, envisioning an entirely new model of job creation for differently-abled people, one that is self-sustainable.