Rumi Sikdar: The Social Entrepreneur Making A Difference in People's Life

Rumi Sikdar,FounderWomen entrepreneurship in India is an emerging concept and very crucial for the economic development of the country. The gender gap between men and women has now narrowed. Earlier the mindset of people made them believe that business is meant only for men, but this conventional thinking has changed. One big example of this change is Rumi Sikdar, Founder, Ants Consulting &Services. Realizing that there is not much option of entry-level jobs for majority of graduates & postgraduates, and school/college dropouts, Rumi decided to target these youth who could not access higher education and at the same time unaware ofthe job opportunities present in their sector. Thus, she incepted Ants Consulting in 2005 with a vision to take up skill development and employment generation for the youth in India. Rumi has been helping school/college dropouts, under graduates, post graduates, and working professionals to build skills according to their capabilities and make a living for them.

Rumi always had the dream to indulge in business that contributes towards the welfare of large population in the society and make a huge difference in their lives. Thus, after serving several NGOs and well known organizations for close to two decades, she joined hands with her husband Rajesh Rathod and co-founded Ants Consulting& Services. Since inception, Ants 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 300,000 youth from low income groups by 2022.

Rumi’s trait of going deep inside the root cause of an issue, understand it and try to come up with significant solutions has been one of the important pillars of Ants’ sustainability and growth

Living the Dream
Rumi having done her PG in Sericulture and Entrepreneurship Development has in depth business acumen. She has strong work experience in corporates and development areas, which help her to take Antsto a level where it worked in almost all models of skill development & vocational education that leads to skilling & employment, and became a noticeable name among the vocational training institutes. She implemented her business model through schools, college with regular integration of academics and standal alone program, thereby empowering youth to get job in one particular sector and later on grow in the same sector.“We have trained nearly 1,50,000 youth across the country and about 80 percent of them are working successfully in various jobs, and many of them have moved up the ladder ,” asserts Rumi. Pioneer in skill development sector, Rumi never choose short-cuts to achieve success, rather performed&documented the entire process in the right manner. Her trait of going deep inside the root cause of an issue, understand it and try to come up with significant solutions has been one of the important pillars of Ants’ sustainability and growth.

Pitfalls on the Way to Success
As the saying goes 'the greatest thing in life does not come easily', Rumi while setting up this venture went through a lot of tussle,whether it was setting up her business or /franchising it
in other states, where partnering with businessmen without prior background verification, credibility and efficiency check brought bad names to the organization. She says,“We have to be very careful while selecting our partners because they have to believe and perform in-line with our company vision and if they don’t believe in it & do only for the sake of money, then it will not work for us”. Apart from this, recovering funds from government & banks, arranging funds and managing children at home were the major challenges during her initial phase of entrepreneurship journey. But Rumi ,being an enormously hard working, versatile and multi tasker, never gave-up and always took these obstacles as an opportunity to build her self. More over, the two proverbs 'Where there is a will, there is way' & 'Every dog has his day’ constantly motivates her to settle various pitfalls prevailing in her day-to-day business functions.

Rumi does not believe in the disparity between male and female entrepreneurs, and considers that a woman can do whatever a male can do and vice-versa. “Whether an entrepreneur is a man or a woman, they face huddles based on how they conduct particular business,” she says. Being passionate about work, she not only relates her self to every employee in the organization but also acts as peon to her company, when need be. She has been a major member of woman entrepreneur networks internationally as well as in Karnataka, and frequently participates in various forums to impart her learnings and encourage people to take up social entrepreneurship that brings change not only to a person’s live but to his / her entire family. She is developing a new business model (Skill University) that aims to facilitate youth to acquire the skills at any given point of time (even while working) or upgrade their skills at the lowest price. To keep herself abreast on current trends, Rumi takes-up huge research-work in the skilling domain and is currently pursuing Ph.D.