Sushil Ramola


Mr. Sushil Ramola is a social entrepreneur, co-founder and currently MD of B-ABLE (BASIX Academy for Building Lifelong Employability). Set up in 2009 in partnership with BASIX, the pioneering microfinance and livelihood promotion organisation in India, he emabarked on the mission of providing skills and meaningful livelihood opportunities to 1 million less educated and disadvantaged youth and was the first to partner with National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC). B-ABLE has so far trained over 1.2 lakh youth in 26 states of India. It also runs vocational education programs in over 500 Government Schools across India.
Sushil Ramola has over 30 years’ previous experience in leading innovation driven business organizations in India, USA and the Middle East in both industry and service sectors. He is former President and CEO of SRF Limited, a Deming Prize winning company where he also led the HRD, Strategy and IT for the Group. For many years he was a board member of Essilor India, part of the French multinational company engaged in vision correction.
He has engaged with civil society in multiple roles – as a founding member and General Secretary of Integrated Mountain Initiative, which works in the 11 mountain states of India including the North East, as member of the board of several well-known NGOs such as SRF Foundation and Blind Relief Association and as the founding President of Association of Skill Training Providers (ASTP), an apex body of skill providers in India.
In the field of education, for over 18 years, he has been mentoring and guiding some respected institutions such as The Shri Ram Schools and Cambridge Schools. He has also been engaged with Government Schools in Sikkim in building their leadership.
He is a chemical engineer and IIM Ahmedabad alumnus. He enjoys reading, travelling, golf and pottery.


It isn't easy to get into IIM. Belonging to a village how challenging was it for you to make it through?

What is important is to note that I was albeit born in a village but it is the city of Shimla that I grew up in and that I did not get admitted in IIM straight after my graduation or had rather chosen not to. It was after working in a chemical design company for four consecutive years post graduation that I decided to enrol in IIM, Ahemdabad. I have had a wonderful experience in IIM as it is one of the top notch institutions of the country.

You have been an active social entrepreneur for all these years. Many people, however, are not aware of the concept of social entrepreneurship. How would you define it for them to get encouraged?

It is impractical to cling to social entrepreneurship with an intention to earn a living but it is even more inconsiderate to overlook its primary motive which is to discharge one’s responsibility towards the society selflessly. The concept of social entrepreneurship is to erect sustainable organisations that ensure collective welfare and social development. However, the main purpose is defeated once one starts expecting monetary rewards in exchange of the personal finance, expertise and time that one invests into it.

Kindly share with us a little about your initiatives and the purpose they serve.

We had obviously started thinking about it a little earlier than 2009, the year when the organisation actually came up. It is two different ventures that I had taken up almost simultaneously, one being Due North and the other being a skill development organisation named B-ABLE. With the only difference that the two were created to serve different needs. Due North was created from the point of view of providing the villagers with fulfilling livelihoods through the essential resources we are surrounded with and which we have an equal access to. Another being B-ABLE which has fortunately managed to grow to a much bigger size covering 26 states of our country with more than a 1000 people under it. I am happy that the organisation is able to run all by itself for I had renounced running it two years ago and have been only heading it as a Chairman ever since. It has a professional team of excellent people who I surrender the major credit of its success to.

Please tell us a bit about Integrated Mountain Initiative.

We believe that at present some of the broad strokes of the Government of India’s policies and development programs for mountain states are neither mountain nor state specific. For a number of geographical, historical, political, and socio-economic reasons, what works in India’s non-mountainous states might not in its mountainous ones. Similarly, what works in one mountainous state might not in another. We see it as our duty to bring the mountain states up to speed with the country’s development in a sustainable and locally relevant way. We provide a platform for stakeholders in India’s mountain states and regions to come together and discuss sustainable development, evolve consensus on priorities and action plans, and consult relevant authorities.

How do you look at the incorporation of the RST Forum in this upcoming Literature festival?

This is certainly the most fitting way of remembering Dr. Tolia. We had been working together since 2004. It is in the year 2010 that we conceptualized the idea of the Integrated Mountain Initiative to work for the Himalayan states. I have seen Dr. Tolia as the guiding light of the venture throughout. It is his worthy ideas that continue to stir activeness among the Himalayan people to do good. We have also named an award after him as a token of reverence to all that he had done for the people of the mountains. This award is presented every year to any person who selflessly continues to materialize Dr. Tolia’s good intentions and I believe that even the RST Forum of the Valley of Words is an outcome of the same thought and emotion.

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