Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact
Organized sector in India employs about 1/10th of total workforce to produce 2/5th of net domestic output. This clearly shows higher economic productivity for those engaged in the organized sector, and thereby higher wages when compared to the workforce employed in the unorganized sector. An increase similar to that achieved during the first five years of liberalization can be achieved by bringing organized sector to rural India through sourcing of support services from village based outsourcing outfits.
On a macro level, the rural BPO model has potential for greater impact given that approximately 70% of India's population resides in rural areas. If 50 people working in 1000 towns/ villages earn Rs 5,000 (~100 USD) per month - that is Rs 250 million (~5 million USD) per month being infused into local communities through local residents. On a comparative scale, average monthly household income of these employees would have been Rs 1,500 (~30 USD) per month.
With a social mission driving our business, we are focused on harnessing our business model for generating wealth in the rural economy rather than extracting wealth from the rural areas.
The impact of DesiCrew is multifaceted:
• Employment for the people employed in the DesiCrew
• The multiplier effect of the rupee being spent in the village because of the non-migratory nature of the employment.
• Demand for more and better basic services in the villages.
• Availability of educated and working role models in the village and the impact it will have for the next generation.
• The positive effect of working women on homes and society.
DesiCrew has partnered with Social Audit Network. A UK based professional audit teams to formally study and document the social impact of its work which means we are committed to measuring and sharing the results of the work among all the stakeholders.
Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing
The BPO industry in India attracts a substantial amount of rural talent every year. We at DesiCrew wanted to experiment by taking the jobs to the people rather than moving people to where the jobs are. This experiment was based on two basic needs that we identified:
Market Need: Alarming industry statistics of almost 100% attrition levels are attributed to trends like decreasing salary levels. This is an outcome of cost cutting exercises and optimizing on economies of scale. However, these marginal salaries are insufficient for migrants to sustain themselves in cities leading to a severe demand-supply imbalance. The decentralized DesiCrew model seeks to fill this workforce gap. In addition, as Corporate India grows, its requirement for support services also increases. Of every rupee spent by a company, on average, 20 paise is spent on support services, which can be outsourced.
Social Need: OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) estimates indicate 130 million educated workers in rural India with little or no access to meaningful employment. Their only remaining option is to migrate to cities where jobs are limited and costs of living are too high. At DesiCrew, we aim to leverage this potential of rural India.
Building from the ground-up
Our pioneering model started off as an incubatee of IIT-Chennai’s Rural Technology Business Incubator (RTBI) in 2005. DesiCrew Solutions Pvt. Ltd was spun off as a commercial entity in early 2007, as means of addressing a pain point the industry was facing. While doing so we also focused on providing meaningful livelihood to rural & semi-urban India through socially responsible business process outsourcing. Currently, we employ over 150 people across 4 centres in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?
To ensure that the rural BPO model becomes successful and is adopted by the mainstream industry at a much larger scale we are making certain of the following:
1. Investing ahead of time in building human resource capacity and state of the art infrastructure to maintain exceptional levels of service.
2. Providing intensive training to prove that services beyond basic data entry can be carried in this rural delivery model.
3. Forging partnerships with industry leaders (BPOs, IT companies amongst others) and the Government, to demonstrate a rural deliver model for the service industry.
The DesiCrew rural delivery model is a network of micro-centres strategically selected across rural and semi-urban locations. Each centre is professionally run with a 25 seat facility working in 2 shifts to provide back-end services to global clients. Locations of the micro-centres are identified in those territories with a population in the range of 10 to 100 thousand. The workforce manning these centres is built up by training the educated but under employed. The benefits of this model include:
1. Creation of computer based/ knowledge related jobs in communities where there are no similar jobs.
2. Lower attrition rates for the industry, as people are less inclined to leave their jobs given the improved quality of life and option of staying with their families.
3. Lower costs for clients as overheads at these centres are far cheaper as compared to the urban counterparts.
Our main risks are replication of our delivery model, competition from more established players in the closest city, the changing conditions of the market and financing our scale-up.
Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible
DesiCrew is 3 years old and has implemented the Rural BPO model successfully. The current strength is 150 across 4 centres and the aim is to reach 1000+ within the next financial year. Steps are being taken to reach these numbers in various ways. We hope that we will be able to achieve the following in
2010 – Expand out of Tamil Nadu to 2 other states, establish a fully functional unit dedicated for a specific customer, increase headcount to 500 people and ensure all operational and delivery responsibilities are managed from the rural locations.
2011 – Expand to 3 other states in India, establish ourselves as a key play in a specific skill set, increase headcount to 1000 people and ensure that business development functions are supported from rural locations
2012 – Establish PAN India presence, be a leader in 2 or more industries we service.
If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?
The DesiCrew Foundation has been set up to start training programs that cover all essential topics to train rural youth on BPO skills. We are working with the local government programs to create such training programs for the unemployed youth. The youth can then be placed in any BPO. These assocaitions are in their formative stages.
In addition we are working with the Govt of Tamil Nadu to create a rural BPO policy for the state. The recommendations have been sent to the Assembly and are awaiting approval from the Chief Minister.