October 11, 2016

Venu Srinivasan is transforming communities into agents of change

These videos are part of our Remarkable Givers series. A full list of videos with Venu Srinivasan can be found below.

In all of his pursuits, Venu Srinivasan is obsessed with achieving excellence, which explains why he's so focused on bringing the Japanese Total Quality Management (TQM) model to India's social sector. An engineer from Guindy College of Engineering-Chennai, Venu completed his Master of Science degree from Purdue University. While studying in the U.S., he sold bibles door-to-door during the summer. He endured many rejections, which delivered a potent lesson in perseverance. That lesson carried over into his professional career: he started out as a mechanic and eventually worked his way up to become managing director of Sundaram-Clayton, a TVS Group company.

In the late 1980s, he led a turnaround of TVS Motor Company by rigorously implementing TQM. Under his leadership, TVS Motor grew to become India's third largest producer of two-wheelers. Venu absorbed the benefits of focusing on quality, efficiency, and hard work in his business career and applied those attributes to philanthropy through the Srinivasan Services Trust (SST), the CSR arm of TVS Motor and Sundaram-Clayton. SST focuses on economic development, education, environment, health, infrastructure, and social development. It partners in transforming communities by empowering local people to own the changes in their lives. To that end, SST staff live in the villages and work directly with people to co-create solutions to their challenges.

Venu is a firm believer that while money is important, it is not what gets the work done. "The challenge is to make development sustainable through the active participation of communities—the true agents of change."

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