B2R to Create Livelihood for Rural Youth

Competition Finalist

This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
The Power of Small: Entrepreneurs Strengthening Local Economies competition.

B2R (Business To Rural) is a for-profit social enterprise set up with an objective to create livelihood opportunities for rural youth in a self-sustainable manner by providing business support (BPO) services to its customers through its operations centers spread across villages of Uttarakhand. Intertwining the social goals and business objectives is key to successfully achieve both.

About You

Organization: B2R Technologies Pvt. Ltd Visit websitemore ↓↑ hide↑ hide

About You

First Name

Dhiraj

Last Name

Dolwani

About Your Organization

Organization Name

B2R Technologies Pvt. Ltd

Organization Website

Organization Country

India, UL, Nainital

Country where this project is creating social impact

India, UL, Nainital

Age of Innovator

Over 34

Gender of Innovator

Male

Is your organization a

For‐profit

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Innovation

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Name Your Entry

B2R to Create Livelihood for Rural Youth

Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Growth (your pilot is up and running, and starting to expand)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?

• There is significant educated talent in rural India which is largely untapped due to lack of local employment opportunities. This either results in unemployment, or for a few, migration to urban locations creating social pressures.

•The demand end for BPO necessitates that there be high quality business support services at lower price points. Giving a significant price advantage from urban delivery centres has become difficult due to rising costs and high attrition. It is our belief that a sustainable model is creating a scalable network of rural delivery centres.

The need is to create long-term business support outsourcing opportunities, on the edifice of sustainable rural livelihood.

The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!

The solution has been to create clusters of rural BPO centers - several key elements have been put together in line with customer requirements, learning & development needs and the social context:
• Domain focus - identify key niches in select verticals, creating skills within teams in these, & targeted business developmt in them
• The innovative service delivery model which, by design, delivers high quality services at a low cost footprint. Clusters formed in a hub-and-spoke model, built on the principle of decentralized self-reliant service centres and centralized work distribution and aggregation
• Appropriate elements of technology for power backup, internet connectivity, work-flow mgmt s/w, data security etc. in line with customers’ expectations
• Focus on people development - a key principle from a learning & development perspective has been embedded the operations: the 1-in-6 principle; invest one unit of time out of every six units of time spent in individual’s development

The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities

Three key elements are vital components of our model:
• Distributed micro centers created in a Hub & Spoke manner: small delivery centers, geographically dispersed, individually managed; run by empowered, values-driven teams with high “connected-ness” [5 centers operational currently in first cluster, employing 235 rural youth; attrition less than 6%]
• Leverage Partners: collaborate with local NGOs for hiring, infra creation support; hard wire into community - invest 33% of profits into community relevant projects, resultant long term engagement and sustainable competitive advantage [we currently work with one of the largest NGO in the region who have partnered with us to help us grow; together with them have engaged deeply with the community on key matters]
• Focus on Domain capability: domain focus on identified industry segments - creating capabilities in focus verticals, emphasis on learning and development resulting in rapid acceleration of learning curves; targeted sales approach to get work in identified service lines where capabilities have been created; then move up the value chain in that area [Publishing vertical chosen, have moved up in value chain over 3 years from data conversion (XML Tagging) to ebook creation (simple to complex), and typsetting services added to service line; chosen areas are now a significant contributor to growth].

The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?

Across India, there are several organizations who are attempting to make a change in rural India by creating livelihood opportunities for rural youth in BPO. Since this space is nascent the overall approach is co-opetitive, however unique elements in our strategy include:
• FIT AS STRATEGY (combine these factors powerfully)
- Empowered, engaged, values-driven team reflecting organizational values
- Emphasis on Learning & Development
- Strong Focus on domain skills – capability creation in chosen verticals
- Appropriate use of technology, people & processes to avoid high costs.
• HARD WIRING INTO COMMUNITY
- Investing profits into local society, resultant long-term competitive advantage
• NICHE EXPERTISE
- Getting into value-added-services for specific segments.

Social Impact

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What solution(s) does your initiative address to help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive in underserved communities? (select all applicable)

Access to talent, Access to technology, Access to economic opportunity.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Quantitative impact:
- In a span of 3 years over 235 rural youth have been trained and successfully employed
- 9% of the rural youth employed have been successfully groomed to take leadership roles (supervision, training, middle management roles).
- B2R’s team includes more than 51% women.
- 25% of the middle management team constituted by women
- 15 clients in 36 months.
- For every 1 person directly impacted by employment, at least 3 others are being indirectly economically impacted (due to trickle down of purchasing power etc).
Qualitative Impact:
- Positive Impact to economic ecosystem
- Enhanced confidence of youth and their perception in the community
- Increased local employment options leading to reverse migration
- BPO services to companies at a significant cost advantage while retaining comparable levels of quality and service delivery.
- Economic growth has resulted in increased consumption in local eco-system.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

B2R plans to set 30 new centers with capacity of 60-75 seats each in villages of Uttarakhand (adding centers in several other districts) over the next 3 years in line with its expansion plans to create more oppurtunities for rural youth, thereby creating livelihood for around 2500 individuals.
B2R aims to facilitate integrated development in the region by means of investing 33% of its profits in relevant projects for development of the communities it operates in, in 3 traches - first by profit sharing with teams who've helped create the profits, short term capacity building projects (prioritized by communities) and long term capacity creation (water availability, English training etc), it is our goal to help address many of the fundamental challenges within these communities.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

The major barriers as foreseen by us are as follows:
1. Risk of not achieving consistent, growing flow of business & not being able to move up the value chain.
Mitigation:
o Putting feet on the street—larger sales team
o Open doors both in domestic & international markets
o Focus on long term contracts & service lines aligned to niche areas in key verticals
2. Growth Funding
Mitigation:
o Utilize both - Equity & Debt, already engaged in discussions for both
3. Attrition Risk
Mitigation:
o Organization Design which creates Fun @ Work and happy teams (daily activities to achieve the same)
o Providing learning, growth options & incentive tied in with tenure & performance

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Sign up at least 3 more long term annuity contracts; and Set up 2 more operations centers each of which will employ 60-70 youth

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone

Task 1

Track and increase sales funnel for long term annuity contracts (increase sales presence in other metro cities)

Task 2

Launch one more service line (F&A services)

Task 3

Identify center locations for new centers, hire & train local teams within them

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Engage deeply with local communities that we work within.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone

Task 1

Form Village Advisory Committees with representation from community, partner NGO and B2R representatives

Task 2

Identify Short term, and long term projects

Task 3

Allocate resources and implementation

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.

Both the co- founders, Venki and Dhiraj set out on this venture with a belief that social goals and business objectives can be strategically hard-wired together; that livelihood creation and integrated rural development and business value creation can go hand-in-hand. Having managed BPO’s in their former professional engagements they understood the challenges and having travelled extensively in rural India they saw the potential that educated youth could offer, given the opportunity.
While adding value to oneself was possible for both, working to create jobs seemed more relevant and personally satisfying than continuing to move up the corporate ladder. The business idea was conceived with a simple thought, that of trying to deliver business value together with social value – of not looking at CSR as an afterthought – but welding it tightly with business strategy to create something which was of business value to corporate as well as of social value to rural India.

Sustainability

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Tell us about your partnerships

B2R has the following partnerships for successful delivery of its Vision and Mission:
• NGOs/NonProfits - Partnership with CHIRAG (a prominent NGO in Kumaun www.chirag.org) for setting up its rural BPO operational centres and engage deeper into the communities.
• For-Profit Companies– Our clients who outsource their work to us to leverage high quality delivery at a low cost foot-print and to contribute in creating more & more employment.
• Technology Companies: Partnership with selected technology organizations for the procurement of appropriate hardware/software & networking solutions.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

We are currently looking to infuse funds to further grow, expand our efforts & replicate the model across others parts of the state.

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104 weeks ago said: Dhiraj, I went through the details of B2R activities. Must say that I found it very impressive - particularly looking at the impact ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
104 weeks ago said: Thanks Anil about this Competition Entry. - read more >
104 weeks ago said: Thanks Colette about this Competition Entry. - read more >
104 weeks ago said: Hi Dhiraj, I saw your work in an event of NHRD on Social Entrepreneurship event at Lucknow and we had a small discussion on your ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
104 weeks ago said: Dhiraj I am so happy to read about your company.There is no doubt that you will be very successful considering the immense passion you ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
105 weeks ago said: tim, thank you for the appreciation...to clarify further on the queries you mention - some of the niche service areas i refer to are ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
105 weeks ago B2R to Create Livelihood for Rural Youth has been chosen as a finalist in The Power of Small: Entrepreneurs Strengthening Local Economies.
108 weeks ago Tim Scheu said: Dhiraj - Just wanted to take a second and say that I love your work. Really exciting model, and an incredibly articulate plan for ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
112 weeks ago updated this Competition Entry.
112 weeks ago updated this Competition Entry.