Meet all our Advisors
Mentorship is the core pillar of Udhyam’s entrepreneurship program. While the Udhyam team provides day-to-day support as well as informal mentoring to entrepreneurs, its team of local mentors is invaluable for individualised guidance to the entrepreneurs who need it most.
Based on their business idea, each entrepreneur is matched with a local mentor who understands their business or chosen sector, and is also well-versed with the local environment. Ripples mentors, who are based outside of the region, visit on a quarterly basis and guide entrepreneurs in financial and business planning.
And of course, the Udhyam team itself is mentored by our enthusiastic and supportive Advisory Board!
Ashish spent a few years in Delhi running his own adventure tourism company, Himalayan Wanderers. In 2004, he moved back to his home district of Nainital to start the Himalayan Village resort at Sonapani, where he hosts the Sonapani Film Festival twice a year. In addition to running Café Lota and Roots in New Delhi, Ashish and his wife remain closely engaged with the local community around Sonapani through livelihood and handicraft ventures.
Aditya worked in the media industry for about 20 years before transplanting his life from the capital to the hillside town of Uttarakhand. He is the owner of Nirvana Cottages cum Wellness Center in Mukteshwar. He is also a part of the OCS Foundation and works closely with extended groups of women farmers and their children in the region.
An industrial and software engineer by qualification, Dhiraj has donned several hats over the last 16 years as a business leader, process consultant and entrepreneur. His last assignment was as the COO of a captive BPO for an American outsourcing company. In June 2009, he embarked on his dream to build B2R, a rural BPO in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.
After an MBA from Kellogg and various corporate roles, Chetan returned to India in 2007. His last role here was as CEO of HCL Learning. In 2015, he moved to the mountains where he brought his love for writing, teaching and entrepreneurship together to create his next business. A published author, Chetan created the Himalayan Writing Retreat and co-founded the social enterprise Old Hill, which makes artisanal cheese, with his partner Nitin Dayalu.
With an MBA degree from FORE (Delhi) and an MSW from TISS (Mumbai), Anshu wound her way from the corporate IT sector in Delhi to the tea plantations of Munnar, and then to the development sector as the CEO of Charkha, a Delhi-based NGO. She now lives and works on an organic farm in Kumaon.
An entrepreneur at heart who first experienced the thrill of doing business at the age of 14, Deepak - who has lived in Nainital all his life - was involved in businesses as varied as travel, plantations, real estate and adventure sports. He now lives in a remote Kumaoni village, promoting village tourism and exploring other sustainable agri-based income generating initiatives.
Atul, originally a civil engineer by profession, now runs a library which provides knowledge-based and vocational support to the children of Seem and its surrounding villages. The library has been operational since June 2016 and, in a short period of time, has provided over 50 children access to books, vocational education, tuition and computer literacy classes.
Would you like to become a mentor?
Surabhi Bikhchandani is a Career Coach at Quadrangle (part of Naukri.com). An alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and St. Stephen’s College, she has over 25 years of experience largely in recruitment consulting and recently in career coaching. She has also handled leadership hiring for her clients, which include social purpose organizations. She is on the Advisory Council of the nonprofit ILSS, which aims to build capacity and leadership talent in the Indian social sector. She also assists various nonprofits in their leadership development.
Sridhar is a finance professional currently spearheading the Ernst and Young Foundation (CSR wing for E&Y). Prior to joining the Foundation, he was the National Director – Finance at E&Y. He has been working towards promoting low cost, mass impact and sustainable models in education and livelihoods.
Shiv Dayal is Founder and Managing Director of Langham Capital, India and UK. Langham Capital provides expert corporate finance advisory services to companies seeking to build their global businesses. Immediately prior to founding Langham Capital, Shiv managed two technology ventures in Europe. Previously, Shiv worked in the Mergers & Acquisitions divisions of JP Morgan and Dresdner Kleinwort in London and New York. Shiv began his career with the Tata Group of Companies in India. As a member of the Tata Administrative Service, he worked on a number of projects in areas such as hotels, luxury goods, telecoms and soft drink bottling and distribution. He is also a non-executive Director of Baroda Pioneer Asset Management and Chairman of F1F9 (India).
Shilpa Sharma exchanged the corner office with entrepreneurial dreams after an enriching three-decade long spell in the corporate world of FMCG and retail giants. She leveraged her insights and learnings from her travels across India and launched Breakaway – a bespoke travel enterprise specializing in ‘beyond the brochure’ experiences; and then went on to co-found Jaypore, an online retail portal that defines exquisite handmade products. Giving shape to another aspiration, Shilpa ventured into hospitality with Mustard – a concept restaurant in Goa that she co-founded with her friend, Punam Singh. A delicious blend of her passion for food and exceptional experiences, it offers Bengali and French Cuisine, and Mustard is poised to be launched in Chennai soon. She also finds time for leisure travel, creative pursuits, and mentoring young women.
Rishi Bhatnagar is a lawyer by qualification. He specializes in corporate advisory, regulatory and structuring issues particularly with respect to investments in India. Originally from Jamshedpur and educated in Darjeeling, he loves the hills. He has helped draft legal documentation for a number of charities and trusts such as American Heart Foundation, Rotary International, Be Trust, Nirankari Sant Samagham and so on. Rishi likes DIY and repairing things and is currently working on reducing his carbon footprint.
Anurag has built and led global and diverse high-growth and large IT businesses. He runs an NGO devoted to Indian performing arts and manages a trust dedicated to the education of underprivileged children. He teaches at Dayalbagh Educational Institute and is the editor of the Sigma Six Q&V sustainability blog. Anurag is an alumnus of IIT Bombay.
Sameer Mehta is CEO & Managing Director of Multiplier Brand Solutions Pvt Ltd which specializes in Managed Services (Field Force Marketing Services), Enterprise Technology Solutions, and Retail Solutions. Sameer has 25+ years of experience. He has earlier held various posts such as General Manager @ Mudra Communications; Sr. Vice President @ DDB Mudra Group; and President @ Tracylocke. He is an expert in experiential marketing, Trade Marketing, Field Marketing Services, Brand & Product Promotions, Retail Merchandising, Event Management, Corporate Seminars, Response Management, and Database Management Enterprise Tech Solutions. Sameer believes in giving back to society which has led to his association with certain causes in the space of education for children and creating livelihoods among the needful. He is on the advisory board of the NGOs Udayan Care and Udhyam.
Raju Lal has worked with some of India's leading business houses on performance improvement, risk consulting and governance. He has over 30 years of experience capturing profitable business opportunities and motivating talented, cross-functional teams. Currently, he is closely associated with EY Foundation and actively participates in community engagement and volunteering initiatives which are aligned to EY Corporate Social Responsibility values.
V.K. Madhavan initially worked for 15 years in rural India with the Urmul Rural Health Research and Development Trust in North-Western Rajasthan and later with the Central Himalayan Rural Action Group (CHIRAG). He has also consulted for ActionAid on policy related issues; and on women’s leadership and governance with the Hunger Project. He put in a three year stint as head of a skill development company that sought to provide unemployed young people with jobs in the organized sector. Since May 2016, Madhavan has been the Chief Executive of WaterAid India.