• February 5, 2013
    • Posted By : anudip_2018
    • 0 Comment

    A stable job is the best path out of poverty.  Full stop.  Today we saw how Anudip and iMerit are making great strides to tackle this issue.  After 45 tedious minutes crawling through Kolkata’s traffic, we arrived in Metiabruz, a Muslim locality near the docks of the Hooghly River. In this insular peri-urban community, women are not allowed to leave the neighborhood or interact with men, which severely limits their ability to take on jobs or further their education.

    We parked in an alley barely wide enough for our taxi, walked up three flights of stairs and entered the iMerit office to see  80 young women, mostly from conservative households, sitting at computers, working on outsourced IT and business process tasks for US-based companies. Tasks like:

    – Keying .pdf files of stock market data from the 1920’s into Excel

    – Reviewing Lindsay Lohan photos and indicating which ones were actually the pop star

    – And our favorite: tagging photos of multi-million dollar homes in the Bay Area according to features displayed, such as the deck, jacuzzi, and sunroom, none of which they have ever actually seen in person.

    This is a tiny sliver of the multi-billion dollar business process outsource (BPO) industry that you probably didn’t even know was there.  We know we didn’t.

    Aunidp is the non-profit training arm, and iMerit is the for-profit outsourcing business.  The most noticeable innovation of iMerit is that these women are able to participate without leaving their community.  This is possible thanks to the vision and hard work of Dipak Basu (GSBI ’05) and Radha Basu (SCU Dean’s Professor) and their teams. They were out of the country, but we are very inspired by the quality and energy of their team.

    In the Metiabruz center and 60 more in rural areas, Anudip (the non-profit training side) offers a three-month program in which students learn basic IT skills, spoken English, and workplace readiness.  After that, they have the option to continue to more advanced training or go into job placement services. Anudip has trained over 15,000 people so far.

    After going through one or two levels of training, most students go on to get a job in the IT Services area. The transition from a rural community to a large office setting is hard for many people and impossible for others, especially from places like Metiabruz. So Radha and Dipak formed iMerit to be able to provide on-the-job training and employment with a supportive work environment.  iMerit employees can work their way up to progressively greater levels of responsibility, more challenging tasks, and more pay.  iMerit seeks to provide a career, not a job.

    But training and placement are not enough.  Job retention rates are low in the BPO industry.  Anudip has set the pace for the industry for their alumni with what, at first glance, appears to be an abysmal 48% stay rate,  But this value is about 4x the industry average.  This hard won achievement results from the comprehensive support they offer each beneficiary through the entire life cycle.

    When Dipak came to GSBI in 2005, Anudip was just a dream and plan.  Seeing the impact so far and the momentum they’ve built should inspire us all to go the extra kilometer to help more social entrepreneurs help more people.

    About the author

    Paul Meissner is Senior Director of the Global Social Benefit Incubator. Andrew Lieberman is Director, New Program R&D, Center for Science, Technology, and Society. Both institutions are at Santa Clara University, USA


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