The Nand & Jeet Khemka Foundation

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Vanita Viswanath - CEO, Udyogini

Vanita Viswanath is the CEO of Udyogini, an organization providing business development services to poor women in the backward and remote regions of India.  Established in 1992, Udyogini works, through training and business promotion, to build the knowledge, attitude and skills of poor women for strategic engagement in modern value chains around key forest, agriculture and allied activities, particularly in backward and conflict-ridden zones. Prior to joining Udyogini in 2000, Vanita worked with the World Bank in Washington DC during which time she was instrumental in conceptualizing and spearheading the World Bank Institute-promoted Women's Enterprise Management Training Outreach Program in Philippines, Bangladesh and India.

Vanita did her MA and MPhil from Jawaharlal Nehru University and a PhD at the University of Texas, Austin, USA. She was one of five people worldwide to be selected to participate in the Salzburg Seminar session on Confronting Protectionism: How business and governments can support open markets" in 2009 based on an essay she wrote on the subject. In 2011, she was one among 11 global non-profit leaders to be selected as a Senior Fellow, a prestigious honor given by the Synergos Institute, New York, to work with the Senior Fellows Network to help lead the global agenda for poverty alleviation and social justice.  She is a member of a Planning Commission Working Group on Clustering and Aggregation in the 12th Five Year Plan. In 2012, she was one of three finalists for the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Vanita is actively engaged in promoting national and international partnerships for social entrepreneurship and has been a guest speaker at several universities in the United States and India including the Yale School of Management; School of Public and International Affairs, Columbia University; Middlebury College; School of Business at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; and Xavier Labor Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur.

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