india · Innovation · Padma Shri

Sridhar Vembu – Founder of Zoho and recipient of the Padma Shri award by Sherral Joseph

Innovation Check

Sridhar Vembu social entrepreneur noted for introducing software and product development functions from Urban centers to rural villages in India.  His company Zoho became popular after setting up offices in rural districts in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.   In 2004, the company further went ahead to establish educational institutions to provide vocational software development education to rural students as an alternative to formal university education.  The company takes pride in the fact that 15% to 20% of their engineers have received vocational education from Zoho schools with no college degree.  In 2020, the company made a landmark move when they announced the setup of a ‘rural school startup’ which focused on free primary education.

Sridhar Vembu’s Alma mater is Princeton University in New Jersey, having secured his MS and PhD from there. His decision to move from Bay Area to Mathalamparai is historical and has been lauded by many, winning him many awards for his iconic work in the field of education.  In 2019, Vembu was conferred with the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year Award’’ in India.  Recently in 2021, he became the recipient of the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honor.

His amazing business instinct and acumen helped him to identify the right focus area to apply his knowledge, skills and innovative ideas.  His legacy in education in the rural areas will live on for years to come. We hope that India will witness more social entrepreneurs of this calibre.

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