Founded in 2000 by Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, the Foundation’s primary mission is economic acceleration in emerging economies. The Foundation is driving economic growth in India and other Asian countries through large-scale initiatives in job creation and skill development. To achieve this the Foundation has launched five high impact Initiatives in India, with the goal of creating and filling 25 million jobs in the next 5 years.
For job creation, Wadhwani Foundation established the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) in 2003. NEN has built a strong network with 600 colleges, 4000 mentors and 3200 faculty in India that continue to inspire, educate and support emerging entrepreneurs. Thousands of practicing entrepreneurs and startups are also supported through NEN’s Entrepreneur Academy www.nenonline.tv that features hundreds of short videos from experienced entrepreneurs, angels, VCs along with dozens of longer video courses and blog posts. Since inception, NEN has resulted in 2,000 new startups with 12,000+ direct and 50,000+ indirect jobs and is now tracking 1,500+ new companies each year.
For job fulfillment, the Foundation has set up the Skills Development Network (SDN) which supports multiple college, high school and employer initiatives for entry level mid-skill jobs. SDN has developed and implemented several major skills initiatives with MHRD and State Govts. providing support to vocational education programs in 500+ high schools and 200+ UGC colleges and 100+ companies. SDN uses a technology platform for skilling by integrating online/in-class skills education through a digital/video curricula and pedagogy.
Other Initiatives of Wadhwani Foundation:
Opportunity Network for Disabled (OND) is aimed at mainstreaming the educated disabled into sustainable high quality corporate jobs through a business value proposition of lower attrition and higher productivity in hiring the disabled. The Foundation supports the training and placement of disabled individuals into mid-skill entry level jobs with the goal of placing 100,000 disabled over five years.
Research and Innovation Network (RIN) aims to upgrade India’s research eco-system by catalyzing ‘Centers of Innovations’ in partnership with existing research Institutes. The Wadhwani Research Centre for Biotechnology - WRCB established at IIT Bombay is leveraging biotechnology research along with the cross-disciplinary technical capabilities of IIT Bombay towards bio-sensors, low-cost devices, drug delivery and bioinformatics. Shanta Wadhwani Center for Cardiac and Neural Research (SWCCNR) was established in January 2012 with the National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS), focuses on cardiac and neurodevelopmental biology with a broad goal to support research aimed at understanding regenerative mechanisms operating at the cellular and molecular level in the heart and the brain.
Policy: Wadhwani Foundation’s Policy Research Centre provides data driven research inputs for informed policy actions towards creating a human-capital driven growth economy. Wadhwani Chair on US-India policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a leading bi-partisan policy “think tank” in Washington, D.C, aims to accelerate India-U.S economic activities.
Romesh is a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist with passion for wealth creation. After building three large scale successful companies in three decades, the last of which was sold for over $9 billion, Romesh founded the Wadhwani Foundation in 2000 to which he has committed to donate most of his wealth. He is also a member of the Gates Buffet Giving Pledge. Romesh envisioned high impact social change in emerging economies through sustained economic acceleration. This vision led to the launch of Wadhwani Foundation’s five Initiatives through which the Foundation drives large scale job creation and skill development in multiple countries.
Romesh is also the Founding Chairman and CEO of Symphony Technology Group, a 10 year old PE firm comprising of 20 companies, with a combined revenue of USD 3 billion and 18,000 employees.
In August 2012, Romesh was appointed by U.S President Barack Obama as General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC, a key administration post. Romesh is also a Board Member of Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC. He is a proud recipient of the prestigious ‘Non Resident Philanthropist’ award at the Forbes India Philanthropy Awards 2013 and also features in Forbes 400 list. Romesh obtained a B. Tech degree from IIT Bombay and an MS and Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
Ajay scaled start-ups and mid-stage companies to several billion dollar organizations during his tenure of 30 years in managing global software business, including at Autodesk, Symphony Teleca and other Silicon Valley start-ups. His areas of expertise include Strategy, M&A, Business Development, and Global launches.
Ajay’s passion for the underserved eventually led him to commit full time to the Wadhwani Foundation in 2009. In his current role as President & CEO, he heads a team committed towards accelerating economic development in emerging economies and creating jobs for millions. He has been instrumental in devising sustainable strategy for national scale through market forces and partnerships with Government. Ajay is now driving the Foundation’s globalization footprints across Asia, Africa and the US.
Apart from authoring technical papers in journals and conferences, Ajay has authored articles ond ivergent topics like Innovation, VCs & Start-ups and Offshore Centers, in leading publications.
Ajay has a B.Tech (IIT Bombay) and Ph.D in Engineering from the University of Rochester, U.S.A.