Who we are / Our Story

Katalyst was started in 2007 by Third Sector Partners (TSP)

a pioneering executive search firm dedicated exclusively to socially relevant organizations, i.e., organizations in the social, environmental, and corporate sustainability sectors.

Specializing in finding the right talent to effect real social change, TSP recognized that, to promote economic empowerment as well as to widen the talent pool for India Inc., leadership had to be created at all levels in society. But first, several gaps had to be addressed, including the competency and the Gender Gap

Why our founders started Katalyst

  • They shared the personal conviction that by educating a woman, you educate a nation
  • As an executive search firm, they were well aware of the “leaky pipe” issues that prevented women in the corporate world from reaching senior leadership positions
  • They also knew that investing in higher education would yield high dividends for society, but not enough was being done to support women at this stage since many interventions focus on girls’ primary education and vocational training

TSP made a commitment to empower women and help them overcome multilayered, complex challenges. In addition to systemic biases, familial responsibility, and societal pressures, many women aspiring to join the workforce face other obstacles. Most do not have the financial support, guidance, and role models.

While many interventions focus on primary education or vocational skilling, very few help them become employable candidates for the professional jobs. Hence, TSP decided to focus on the higher end of the value chain from where the talent pool emerges. Thus Katalyst was born in February, 2007 with the intent of liberating young women, through the pursuit of STEM education.

Our goal?

To create a large pool of such empowered women or ‘Katalysts’ who can rise to leadership roles, influence society, and catalyze positive change.

To achieve this, we began developing a blend of unique development interventions, including our 600-hour proprietary, scientifically-researched curriculum. Over the 4-year program, we provide one-to-one mentorship, access to best-in-class technology, assistance with internships, world-class industry exposure and corporate interactions, and financial assistance and medical insurance.


To accelerate the growth of young women in professional education, through developmental interventions and an enabling environment, to enhance self-belief and leadership.


Empowering Women for Equality in Opportunity and Leadership

Why Katalyst

As an NGO for professional education, we believe our efforts to bring more women into STEM and the tertiary sector can have far-reaching effects on a national and global level. For one, investing in education is the most effective way to reduce poverty. When that investment extends to Secondary School Education, it yields high dividends. Considering that women account for approximately one half of a nation’s potential talent base, that nation’s competitiveness over time depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its female talent.

Additionally, the educational achievements of women can have ripple effects within the family and across generations. Therefore, enabling these ‘Katalysts’ and bringing them into the workforce and into leadership is a crucial endeavor; they have the power to catalyze change and influence society positively, and drive economic and social empowerment.

We began with a cohort of 10 promising young women. From there, we grew steadily and swiftly. Today, we have chapters in Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, and Delhi. Through our collaborative model, we have impacted the lives of 1914 young women, with 896 currently enrolled in our program.

Collaborative model

Our interventions are supported by a mix of partnerships

Today, Katalyst alumni occupy positions of seniority

In prestigious MNCs and large Indian companies, both in India and abroad, as well as in the Civil and Administrative Services.

Katalyst supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)


Quality Education


Gender Equality


Decent Work and Economic Growth


Reduced Inequalities

1Why does Katalyst focus on empowering women?
By empowering women, we help promote gender equality, which strengthens society by allowing all members of a population equal opportunities to contribute to growth and development. A population that has equal access to opportunities and resources can help realize human rights, reduce poverty, boost GDP, and strengthen their nation’s competitiveness. Where gender inequality exists, it is typically women who are denied access to those opportunities and resources. That’s why our efforts to achieve gender equality in India—particularly gender equality in the workplace—are focused on empowering women.
2Who benefits when women are educated and prepared for leadership?
When a woman is educated, she is able to work towards her own financial independence and self-reliance, allowing her to create a comfortable, fulfilling life. But it doesn’t end there; the educational achievements of women can have ripple effects within the family and across generations. By empowering women and bringing them into the workforce and into leadership, we can catalyze positive change. Women in leadership positions, particularly in STEM, can influence society positively, resulting in economic and social empowerment.
3Why are there not enough women in leadership?
There are many barriers and biases that prevent and discourage women from taking on political, academic, and corporate leadership roles. Systemic biases, the gender pay gap, familial responsibility, and societal pressures continue to be factors. Additionally, many women simply do not have the right familial and financial support, guidance, and role models. That’s why interventions like ours are required to help women higher along the value chain so they can secure good starting positions in the workforce and rise to leadership.
4What do the terms ‘gender equity’ and ‘gender equality’ mean?
‘Gender equity’ refers to the process of being fair to all genders. This process entails taking measures to level the playing field. For women, such measures work to help them overcome social disadvantages they face because of their gender. ‘Gender equality’ refers to a situation where access to resources and opportunities are not limited by a person’s gender. To achieve gender equality in India, we must implement gender equity strategies and measures.
5 Why do we need more women in STEM?
The gender gap in STEM limits innovation, because solving real-world problems requires a diverse pool of ideas. While more women are finding employment in fields such as sales and marketing, there is a strong need for their involvement in STEM and leadership—not only for their own development, but also for the world’s future.