DesiCrew Solutions

DesiCrew Solutions

Organization type: 
for profit
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

DesiCrew creates knowledge based jobs by outsourcing to educated but socially, economically, and/or geographically disadvantaged Indians. The increase in income levels provides basic sustenance, spiked investments & chances for higher education. Newly acquired skills increase confidence levels & aspirations. This results in a reverse migration trend.

About You
DesiCrew Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
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Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



, TN

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


Organization Name

DesiCrew Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Organization Phone

9144 65156669

Organization Address

Module No 13, First Floor, IIT M Research Park, Inside MGR Filmcity, Taramani, Chennai - 600 113.

Organization Country

, TN

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, TN

What makes your innovation unique?

Our vision is to expand economic geographic boundaries by leveraging local talent pools to provide a competitive advantage to customers. With a social mission driving our business, DesiCrew exports services from villages, creating capital for livelihoods & wealth in villages. The workforce manning these centres is built up by training the educated but under-employed, thus creating computer based/ knowledge related jobs in communities where there are no similar jobs.

DesiCrew specializes in harnessing the latent potential of the large bank of rural graduates, the bottom of the pyramid, to provide a solution to Corporate India. By combining qualified computer skilled employees with a proven operational model to deliver work at significant cost savings, DesiCrew presents a compelling value proposition for businesses & public organizations looking to reap the benefits of the village level data processing.

A center of about 50-75 seats can be set up to cater to the available labour pool for every 20 villages. This will create about 4 million rural jobs at an average wage of over Rs.5000 per month for the entire year and impact about 20 million rural people directly.

To put this in perspective, compare this to MGNREGS, the flagship program for rural employment launched by Government : Average 45 days of employment @ Rs.100/day created in the last three years for 20 million households. Only 4 million households have managed the mandatory 100 days. Amount spent was over Rs.40,000 crores ! Even the entire BPO industry is hovering around 4 million mark after two decades.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

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.

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?


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.

What stage is your Social Enterprise in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your Social Enterprise

DesiCrew’s main objective is to increase employment in communities that it works in and with over 600,000 villages in India, it is critical that we forge partnerships and new relationships to reach out to each village. Partnerships could be of the following nature:
1. NGOs/ Foundations: To establish local presence in the remote regions of the country, establish the infrastructure and train people.
2. Large corporates: To identify skills most relevant in the industry and subsequent employment opportunities
3. Funding organisation to invest in the seed fund required at each facility. Profits generated from this would be ploughed back into the organisation to grow its capabilities.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

DesiCrew received the seed money from the founding team - Saloni and IIT Madras. Thereafter we sustain on revenues and took a loan from Rural Innovation Network. In 2008 an angel investor, Rajiv,invested in the business.

DesiCrew provides services and charges it customers per transaction or per man month. The service charge includes salaries, infrastructure costs and margins to sustain the business.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

By 2005 India has established itself as a global outsourcing destination. With increase in business, large corporate and back offices had started hiring talent from Tier II and IV location. The young graduates would move to a large metro location for gainful employment and spend as much as 80% of their salaries in living expenses. Thus for a small increment, these young graduates would leave their jobs and also convince their friends to move with them to a new organization. This phenomenon of attrition a painful reality that the industry had learnt to live with. Our belief at DesiCrew was that attrition was a social problem and given that the employers were convinced about the capability of graduates from these small towns, jobs could be taken to people rather than bringing people to jobs. With this belief we started working on various models to employ people, the biggest asset in a services company, in their local geography. This would ensure that people are happier, stay longer on the job and thus bring prosperity to the employer organization.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

Saloni Malhotra
An engineer from the University of Pune, Saloni Malhotra currently spearheads DesiCrew which she founded with Dr.Jhunjhunwala at TeNeT group, IIT Madras in Jan 2005. She started her career in an interactive media start up, Web Chutney in Delhi. Saloni's work with DesiCrew has been featured in leading newspapers and magazines across the globe such as BusinessWeek, BusinessToday, The Economic Times, Fast Company, The Hindu, etc. She has been nominated for BusinessWeek's Asia's Youngest Entrepreneurs, MTV Youth Icon 2008, E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 and also facilitated in the presence of the President of India by the CII. Saloni is the founder of DesiCrew and handles Marketing and overall direction of the organization.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Friend or family member

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