Rumi Sikdar’s efforts for Ants Consulting stimulate others to move ahead towards success
Since the last few decades, probably nobody can deny the massive role of women in Indian economy has been effective. Considering the facts and figures, it can be easily said that women’s contribution in India’s economy has been astonishing, and they are going from strength to strength in every sphere of life. The women workforce has been playing a very significant role in the expansion and growth of the Indian economy, and is now a force to reckon with. Over the years their contribution has been increasing – vindicating the hypothesis of leading feminists that women are second to none in the world.Women have always been contributing to enable the economy achieve tremendous progress. But it is the gender bias that still exists at every social stratum, even in the most educated and developed society, is unable to digest this visible contribution of women in all walks of life. The woman in modern times is entering into certain new fields that were unknown to the woman’s sphere of role-sets. These are the woman’s participation in economic, political, and social life. The CEO Magazine has recognized one of such legends Rumi Sikdar, CMD of Ants Consulting & Services Pvt. Ltd. who has shown her potential as an empowered lady. Rumi’s contribution in Indian business society has been an inspiration for not only women but men also.
Rumi has started her career as a research associate for the social sector moved on to the corporate sector for a brief period. She had been a consultant with few organizations and during this period of time she felt curiosity to start her own business, a business which could make a difference in the lives of people at the same time grows into a sustainable organization. Rumi has incepted an organization (Ants Consulting) which has become a noticeable name among the vocational training institutes which can lead to skilling and employment. Since inception, Ants Consulting and Services is actively working to create a nationwide network of centers that provide high quality vocational education, affordable & accessible to youth; leading to gainful employment and career growth. With a decade plus experience in skill training delivery, employment linkages Ant’s vision is to Skill to 300,000 youth from low income groups by the year (2012-2022)
AntsConsulting is a dynamic organization developing employability skills in the framework of building critical thinking skills, self-reliance and enabling interpersonal skills. At the root of this work is a contemporary teaching and learning strategy that is taken from best practices at top Vocational Education Institutions. They have pioneered several innovative Vocational Education Models. Ant’s collaboration with Government, Industries, Corporates and NGOs has been to ensure students are skilled, certified & employed in a relevant Sector. All courses offered are certified by the Sector Skill Councils (or SSC’s) of the concerned sector or Certifying bodies. All students are assisted to get placements and build long term careers.
The CEO Magazine interviews Mrs. Rumi Sikdar – CMD of Ants Consulting & Services Pvt. Ltd.
TCM:What was your dream as a business lady?
Rumi:Our education system needs an overhaul. The maximum youth coming out of colleges and Pre University Schools are not job-ready. This is leading to low productivity. I felt the mother of all interventions required at this point of time to the country was the education system and a paradigm shift in its methodology of education, which lead to initiation of Ants Consulting & Services. “Ants” was an experiment to see if a social initiative can be made into a business Model. Slowly and steadily we built an organization, which is into skill building through appropriate education. My dream is to build a strong organization, which can adopt models of education and skill building into life-long learning in the journey of a youth, which includes skilling and reskilling.
TCM:What is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Rumi:Building Ants from scratch has been my greatest achievement. The beauty is that when we started, we set a culture, goal & a vision. In our 12th year our vision, goal & culture is still relevant and we have not strayed. Our employee turnover is low, our equity and reputation in Govt. Business is high, and our organisation has always been ahead of the curve.
TCM:Have you ever failed in your initiatives? What have you learnt from your failures?
Rumi:For every 5 initiative of ours, 4 may not generate any major revenue and will be discarded. But we don’t refer to these as failures. It’s a learning process. We are immune to this setback. It’s a sign that my team is willing to take risk and love challenges. Today, we are a big success at providing skill training in School, Colleges, Villages, slums, Madrasas, construction sites, transport depots. This is not possible without those innumerable setbacks.
TCM:What are your ideals?
Rumi: To a large extent I consider AzimPremji for his Simplicity and Humility and the ability to create a world class Company. Recently I read an interview where he mentions that Entrepreneurship is lots of hard work and lots of luck. Warren Buffet for his ability to give away his funds for a sustainable world and Angela Markel as a true leader of her times to bring her country from a recession, 1 million immigrants and a united Europe.
TCM: What stimulated your ideas to start a new business venture or to bring significant changes in an existing business/at workplace?
Rumi:C. K Prahalad and his book “Fortune at the bottom of the Pyramid” Opened my eyes to an entirely new Paradigm. By creating a business model which can address the 80% of the ever -growing young people of India.
TCM:What effective strategies you have implemented/initiatives you have taken to achieve success?
Rumi:The core of our business is people and work culture. We spent a good time in our initial years to develop people and organisation culture.
We believed that technology will be a major driver; hence technology was key focus area for us.
We believe in delegation of task and responsibilities and giving people freedom to work.
TCM: How do you define success? What is your take on the ways to achieve long- term success?
Rumi: Success is short-lived. I will be happy when I see the organisation growing and outlives me and my co-founder. AntsConsulting becomes a revolution in the field of education and skill building.
TCM:Please tell us about your future plans.
Rumi: We are dedicative to bring more efficiency in our services and we are moving forward with few new plans which are:
- Accessibility to unreached and rural areas for quality skills & education.
- Building Zonal centers which can become Skill Universities.
- Creating research institutions to understand skills and its application.
- Creating demonstration units for skill trainers.
TCM:Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Rumi:My Husband has been my greatest inspiration. We both are partners of the same business. He has inspired me to think alternatively.
TCM:Whom do you attribute your success to?
Rumi:Lots of hardwork, creativity, integrity, risk taking, team spirit and disciple by Team Ants.
TCM:Do you think your personal life is affected by your professional life? How?
Rumi:Yes, I put my heart & soul into any work I take up be it professional or personal. I can’t differentiate between personal and professional life….esp. been a woman entrepreneur and I enjoy both!!!
Let’s know more about Rumi Sikdar
Rumi Sikdar completed her Masters and moved on to work with Social Research and Social Organization and later with Social Businesses in the field of Education, Community Services and Skill Development for 10 years. In 2005 while working with another company she realised that most Industries and Companies were not able to find trained manpower for the entry-level jobs in their sectors. On the other hand there were unemployed & employed youth looking for employment and careers. Since there were not much option for schools and college drop-outs she decided to target youth who could not access higher education and at the same time fit into entry-level jobs after training. Thus her journey as an Entrepreneur started in 2005 by creating Ants Consulting & Services. Today the skilling eco-system has evolved into a 25,000 crore industry in India.
Rumi is a creative person and believes that creative thinking can help in coming out with great solutions, services and products. Rumi is a Voracious reader & has travelled extensively in India and more than 13 countries so far. She & her friends have once driven from Bangalore to Burma. She is also an avid gardener, and according to her is a stress buster and brings in the peace and harmony that is essential in her life. Her two children are her source of inspiration and happiness. Her husband is the Director and co-founder of Ants is her greatest support to successfully run and scale up Ants.
The best part of been an Entrepreneur is to give birth to an organisation and see it growing as I had dreamt! Been a Social Entrepreneur is a double bonanza it helps in creating a positive impact with the community while doing business!!!