PwC India Foundation celebrates its nine year anniversary

13 October 2017

The PwC India foundation, a community outreach wing of the PwC India network, celebrated its nine-year anniversary late last month. The occasion was marked with a week-long digital literacy drive, involving training sessions in the various locations that the firm operates in across the country.

In the last week of September, Big Four consulting firm PwC celebrated 9 years of the PwC India Foundation. The foundation was established in 2008 as a community outreach program, including efforts in education, environmental sustainability, humanitarian response, water sanitation and hygiene, and social entrepreneurship. The foundation boasts the completion of 81 projects since its establishment in 2008, involving nearly 28,000 hours of volunteering, and affecting an estimated 87,000 lives in the country.

In keeping with the overall ethos of the foundation, the firm marked the anniversary with a one-week initiative to promote digital education in the country. Training sessions were held for women and children across the firm’s locations in the country, which involved an introduction to basic features such as web browsers, search engines, email and wiki blogs. In addition, the program sought to further bridge the gap by educating select trainers from NGOs across the country in computer basics, who would subsequently train underprivileged children with limited access to information technology.

PwC India foundations achievements in FY17The programme also focused on gender parity issues, training women in the use of technology to increase efficiency in daily activities, as well as engaging young girls with ideas of career orientation.

Commenting on the initiative, Jaivir Singh, the PwC India Foundation Vice-Chairman said, “In an increasingly digitised world, it is crucial that every citizen of the nation is equipped with the knowledge and skill to use information and communication technology. Education must be aggressively integrated with digital literacy skills if we want the workforce of the future to be digitally savvy and ready. In India, we need to urgently address the dire need of these skills.”

Literacy and humanitarianism

The digital literacy program represents one of the many inititatives undertaken by the foundation in the education sector. The firm helps students at each stage of their education, with informal educational programmes for the under-priveleged, scholarships for deserving candidates, and mentoring through secondary and higher education. The foundation also provides for differently abled children, executing rehabilitation and support programmes for children with hearing and visual impairments.

On the humanitarian assistance front, the foundation works in all three stages of a natural calamity, i.e. response/relief, recovery and rehabilitation. Extensive assistance has been provided on a number of occasions since 2013, including major incidents such as the Uttarakhand floods of 2013, the Nepal earthquake of 2015, and the 2016 cylcone in Chennai. Most recently, the foundation joined forces with a local NGO to restore ground water levels and improve access in the Shelgaon village of Aurangabad, a particularly drought-prone region in the country.

In other areas, the PwC India Foundation has engaged in tree planting drives and farmer assistance in their environmental sustainability practice, forged a development partnership with the School of Social Entrepreneurs for their social entrepreneurship drive, and conducted soft-skill training in hygiene in partnership with local NGOs. In all, the foundation now partners with 27 NGOs across India.


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Indian consulting firm UC Strategy enjoys 25th anniversary

16 April 2019

Indian consultancy UC Strategy has celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in style – with a performance from master sitar player Ustad Shujaat Khan to mark the occasion. 

Just two months after fellow Indian-origin consultancy Cognizant celebrated its 25th anniversary by ringing the bell at NASDAQ, Mumbai-based strategy firm UC Strategy has marked its own quarter of a decade with the altogether more pleasant sounds of sitar great Ustad Shujaat Khan, who performed before a gathered crowd of UC employees, alumni, clients and business associates to celebrate the occasion. 

Established in Mumbai in 1994 by founder and Managing Director Jay P. Desai, UC Strategy has over the past 25 years served more than 350 multinational and Indian clients in the life sciences, helthcare, agribusiness, industrials and financial services sectors with a wide range of strategy provisions, including market entry and go-to-market, diversification, business planning, commercial due diligence, supply chain, channel management, operations and distribution among others.

To date, the firm has completed 985 assignments, claiming a 75 percent client referral and retention rate, and built its team up to a headcount of 65-plus – complemented by a strategic alliance with Danish-headquartered international management consultancy QVARTZ formed at the beginning of last year, which itself has more than 400 highly-credentialed consultants across eight offices in Europe, the US and Asia Pacific – having grown rapidly over the past five years.

Indian consulting firm UC Strategy enjoys 25th anniversary

According to UC Strategy (which rebranded from Universal Consulting last year), the alliance with QVARTZ helps it to bridge global markets and jointly serve their clients across geographies – an impressive step for a firm which started out just two and a half decades ago with only $1,000 of savings in the founder’s pocket; “not even enough to buy a laptop,” quipped Desai in an interview with Willamette University’s Graduate School of Management alumni magazine.

Having earned his MBA with Willamette (since adding an advanced management programme degree from Harvard Business School), Desai immediately joined the ranks of Accenture progenitor Andersen Consulting in Mumbai, sticking around for nearly four and a half years before launching UC, which in 2007 formed an earlier alliance with L.E.K. Consulting – of which Desai was made a partner. Now, UC is one of India’s largest home-grown consultancies.

“I had a view that there was a market for management consulting services for mid-sized companies. I did what I wanted to do; I didn’t worry about whether it would succeed or not.”  Desai says of the firm’s early days, with UC now having borne “witness to India’s transformative journey from a mere $330 billion economy in 1994 to a major ~$2.5 trillion global economy in 2018.” By 2050, the local economy is expected to be the world’s second largest.

“Over the next 10 to 20 years I don’t think any other country can come close to providing the opportunities that a rapidly emerging India will,” says Desai. Still, the occasion of the firm’s 25th anniversary is a brief opportunity to look back, and joining Desai and the team from UC for its celebrations in Mumbai were QVARTZ founders Hans Henrik Beck and Torsten Hvidt – who together toasted a “friendship that now spans over a decade, which we consider a great honour.”