A venture of the Indian Institute Technology, Madras, or IIT-M, is training villagers for employment in retail, business process outsourcing and security services, in an attempt to bridge the urban-rural divide.
EJeevika's business model is simple: it identifies entrepreneurs through village council heads, non-profits and self-help groups and offers them a franchise.
The entrepreneur invests some Rs50,000 on a couple of personal computers, a broadband Internet connection and power back-up.
The franchisees then identify potential candidates who are then trained by eJeevika according to the requirements of its clients.
For now, eJeevika has developed training modules for security services, retail and business process outsourcing and would develop modules for other sectors depending on client requirements.
Villagers who wish to be trained register with eJeevika's website after which the company conducts an online interview in the presence of its client. Once the client gives a go-ahead sign, the candidate pays a fee and undergoes online training. Mishra says the fee is “nominal,” without elaborating. The candidate then has to clear online tests, interviews and a final face-to-face interview with the client. The entire process takes around a month, said Mishra.
The firm has successfully piloted its model in Cuddalore and Tiruvallur districts of Tamil Nadu, she said. EJeevika trained and placed some 100 candidates with the help of a network of 20 franchisees in a few retailers and security services firms. Mishra declined to name clients citing business confidentiality.
“This is what we need at the moment. There is a shortage of labour supply. There are talks about inclusive growth and here is a good example of inclusiveness,” said Rajesh Sukumaran, investment manager for Singapore-based angel investment fund Mercatus Capital's India operations.
With a nine-member team backing her, Mishra plans to train and find jobs for some 200,000 people in the next couple of years through a network of around 1,000 franchisees in the rural districts of India.
“We will handhold the franchisee owner to help him set up the centre. What we are looking for is that he should be dedicated, besides being computer literate and a local guy,” Mishra said.
EJeevika has a mix of field workers and technical staff. It also has tied up with corporate human resources experts who help improvize on training content to make it relevant to villagers.
“India requires innovations like these,” said Ravi Narayan, managing director at Mentor Partners, that works closely with start-ups. “IT (information technology) as a business model has become pass