Ajay Chaturvedi, Founder, HarVa XPO the first all-women BPO in Rural India
Honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, Ajay is a former Citi banker.
Rural communities make up most of the Indian population, and thus, there lies a potential avenue of growth and development. Often considered and left underdeveloped, rural India has people with undiscovered aptitude. We often talk about development in rural India, but it is only possible if we include them in the process.
Today’s guest, Mr. Ajay Chaturvedi, a banker turned entrepreneur, is a great believer in people and their untapped potential. He speaks about his venture that operates solely in rural India and how it grew to become India’s first all-woman BPO in rural India.
About Ajay Chaturvedi
Ajay is an entrepreneur, philosopher, and author who has been honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. A believer of socio capitalism, he works towards taping the potential in rural and underdeveloped communities. He is the founder of HarVa XPO that entered the Limca Book of Records for being the first all-woman BPO in rural India.
Ajay recalls how his travels to some parts of India as a banker made him realize the potential in Indian rural communities. He calls India a producer’s economy as opposed to a consumer’s economy. Coming out as a firm believer of socio capitalism, Ajay doesn’t seem to be a part of any group that is unjust to its core. He decided to move out of banking after the 2008 real estate crash, where he claims how people in banks were either fooling others or were themselves unaware of the ongoing scams. He talks vehemently about the circular economy.
Origin of HarVa XPO
HarVa XPO is India’s first all-woman rural BPO. Mr. Chaturvedi feels honored to be able to contribute to women’s uplifting however, he openly expresses that he never intended to start on the journey with that thought. He shares how he started thinking about harnessing value. He narrates an interesting incident of how the journey started. Expecting a crowd of youth to be energetic about his venture in Badshahpur, a village in the outskirts of Gurugram, a 35 years old 8th pass woman showed great interest.
He shares how she was learned the keyboard keypad in a matter of a few hours. Taken aback by the capabilities, she was taken on board, and thus, the journey of women joining in started.
He says, “After a few women walked in, no man would walk in. Women populated, and it ended up being a women-only venture.”
Philosophy and Book
Talking about his belief in social capitalism, he says, “I didn’t go with intention of women empowerment because I feel I am nobody to empower anybody. But if I dig a well and water come out of it, let it be had by people who are thirsty.”
He, however, brings home the point that the moment we make women earn, we are making the whole village prosper.
He talks about his book, “The Lost Wisdom of Swastika”, and how 12 publishers refused to publish the book. Further, he shares his thoughts about how we as a society are bipolar with multiple shades that are represented by Swastika.
He explains how we talk about sustainability but are not using even 10 percent of the economy.
An AICTE course based on his book is taught in Universities, Kulhad economy. It is a critical thinking course that encourages students to not accept things at face value and think out of the box. He strongly feels, “A billion people country cannot have livelihood crisis or employment crisis.”
Honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, Ajay is a former Citi banker. An Engineer from BITS Pilani and a Graduate in Management of Technology from the School of Engineering and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and holds a Diploma in Global Leadership & Public Policy from The Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Ajay truly believes in the power of cost-effective innovation in all aspects that will lead to value creation across the world, especially in India, and supports the Socio-Capitalistic business models as the drivers of inclusive growth. He also thinks that the real growth in rural areas across the world and in India is yet to come and is possible only when we get into the real fabric of the country and not just overlay thoughts and patterns from the developed nations. A voracious reader, an avid golfer, and an ardent traveler, Ajay spent almost a decade living in the US and across the world and now lives in Gurgaon. Ajay was awarded CNN IBN Youth Icon / Young Indian Leader of the year 2011.
Ajay’s venture, HarVa XPO entered the Limca Book of Records for being the first all-women rural BPO in the world in 2011. HarVa has won numerous awards and accolades including the Manthan Chairman Excellence Award 2011, SKOCH Financial Inclusion 2011, and TiE Entrepreneurial Excellence 2011 among the latest recognitions. Earlier in 2011, HarVa was also identified as the 3rd most innovative company in India (next only to Tata Motors) by the Fast Company magazine of New York, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & Empowered Woman Award by the Rockefeller Foundation / United Nations 2012.
Ajay was nominated as one of the Amazing Global Indian by Times Now News 2012-13 and Yahoo Unsung Heroes 2012-13. He has also been honored as an Iconic Youth 2014 by Rotary International, picked as 50 most creative leaders across the world to attend THNK. The Creative School of Amsterdam’s Accelerator program for Creative Leaders, and felicitated by the BITS Pilani in the golden jubilee celebrations as 50 most inspiring alumni in 50 years. Ajay is also an ambassador of the Power of Youth initiative of Scotland. He also holds a unique distinction of being identified as one of the four most innovative game-changers by the Office of Advisor to the Prime Minister on Skill Development and Employability.
Ajay has also authored the bestselling book, ‘Lost Wisdom of The Swastika’ published by Times Group Books of Bennett Coleman & Co. Owing to his work, Ajay was bestowed with ‘Making the World Happening Award 2017’ by Allevents.