N i i t i Consulting
- An interview with Mrs. Meena Vaidyanathan, Founder of Niiti Consulting and Questera Foundation
Let’s start with a question. How do you set up a for-profit social enterprise consulting firm? All these terms almost seem like one big oxymoron when put together. Although, Meena Vaidyanatha, the Founder of Niiti Consulting in India might have the answer to this. Niiti Consulting is a social business consulting firm. They consider themselves as catalysts to change as they work with partners to try and create a design for change that is at scale. They design models that lead to large scale irreversible impact. In addition to creating designs for change, they also measure change and see how to make processes effective and efficient. Mrs. Meena was inspired to launch Niiti Consulting after being inspired by a professional workshop conducted by blind trainers, where she further enhanced her organizational skills, team work, building leadership skills and empathy.
The initial challenge for Mrs. Meena to convince people about the need for such a company in a market that was still new to the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship. In conjunction to this, the challenge of building a team who shared the same outlook and ethos was key for long term growth. While all employees are consultants (as opposed to full time employees), majority of the team have stuck together for 7 out of 10 years. The other challenge as a social enterprise is that she never had the extra opportunity of spending excess money. “All good social enterprises have no luxury of extra money. We have to pay for whatever we are working.”
“I work twice as hard as before, I earn way lesser than I used to but I can certainly attest that I am 10 times happier.”
In addition to designing strategies, Niiti also focuses on impact evaluation. She wishes to change the perception behind impact evaluation reporting. She believes that companies should realise that such documentation would help businesses become more efficient and sustainable in the long run. “Change will happen when the process is simplified and organisations see this value.”
In 2021, Niiti Consulting intends to a platform for micro and small enterprises as well as social enterprises. The mission is to help such enterprises find a platform and network to acquire advisory services and go to market services. This would help micro and small enterprises to be more sustainable and grow in a steady manner. Moreover, the Meena and her team will continue to enhance and promote the ‘evaluation culture’ they have tried to build businesses.
Here are the three rules that Meena follows in her life and would advise the youth of today to follow as well. The first is to follow your heart. “You have to follow your heart and rely on your instincts. If something inside is telling you to go for something, make sure you do as long as it is backed up by hard work and pragmatism. There is no substitute to hard work”, said Mrs. Meena during the interview. The second rule she preaches is to constantly upskill yourself. In this fast paced world, it is easy to become obsolete if you are not constantly upskilling and improving on your current skill set. Lastly and most importantly, you must always have fun and enjoy what they do in order to succeed.
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