It was a speech by Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala of IIT Madras on Rural BPO that inspired Saloni Malhotra, a 23-year-old engineer from Delhi, to leave her job and start Desicrew in Chennai. She started exploring the concept in 2005 and realized that the rural youth can be as efficient as their urban counterparts, if they were given the right training. In 2007, Desicrew was officially launched with a centre in a village near Bhavani, a small town in Tamil Nadu.
It is a win-win model. For clients, the job gets done with the same high quality, but at a significantly lower cost because the cost of operations is lower in rural areas. For the rural youth, it provides steady employment at a good salary, right where they live.
At Villgro we were excited by the possibility of its impact in Rural India and took it as our incubatee. At a macro level, the rural BPO model has potential large-scale impact, given that approximately 70% of India’s population resides in rural areas. Villgro directly invested Rs. 20 Lakhs in Desicrew and helped it raise an additional Rs. 3 Crore. It also provided leadership training and helped generate publicity for Desicrew’s work.
Desicrew now has a well-established business model. It has 5 clients with annuity contracts, 21 clients in all, and over 40 completed projects. It has contributed to a 40% cost saving for its existing clients. 2/3rd of its employees are women.
It is therefore well on its way to realizing its potential.