September 26, 2022

Preparing India for the future workplace

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New Delhi (India), July 9: After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the global job ecosystem faces multiple threats, among them the fear of an oncoming recession that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted to be of the same magnitude as The Great Depression. As Per the Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the unemployment rate over the past few months has been in the 7-8% per cent range and as high as 9% in urban areas.

While the country aims to create six million jobs over the next five years, according to the 2022-23 budget announcement, this doesn’t match the labour force requirements. In March 2022, 8.8 million people joined the labour market, and 7 million in April shared the CMIE.

 “This is a large increase and comes after months of decline in employment,” CMIE said in its weekly labour market analysis.

In 2021, Village Capital launched the Future of Work program to accelerate startups using technology to bridge skill gaps, enhance employability and job readiness, and prepare learners, the working population and employers for the future workplace. 

The program, which was run with support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) – supported 18 Indian startups who benefited from a wide range of support services, including training, networking opportunities and access to industry experts, mentors, and investors to scale their impact

Board Infinity was one of the ventures that participated in the program. The higher education platform provides students and early-career professionals with personalized learning paths, career coaches and access to opportunities.

“Early-career professionals and higher education students are finding it tough to compete in a job market with a traditional degree. After seeing many people in my circle struggling with this, I informally started helping them get into better jobs.” — Sumesh Nair, co-founder, Board Infinity.

This startup is a prime example of the growing need for upskilling and job placement in the country. In the past year alone, Board Infinity delivered more than 10,000 sessions and grew by 400% due to an increased focus on upskilling and high placement rates. The startup has raised $750,000 and is looking to raise $5 million within the next few months to invest in products and brands and enable more career transitions.

More recently, another Future of Work India 2021 alum, EduGorilla, successfully bagged #funding of ₹16.5 Crores in a funding round led by SucSEED Ventures  Innovation Fund.

The startup, which also just won the ‘Best Startup Knowledge Provider Award’ from the Indian government, provides online mock tests and addresses the challenges around quality education and employability. They plan to use the funds to enhance the quality of education for students in tier 2-3 cities and villages in their preferred vernacular language and increase their chances of recruitment.

It’s no surprise that EdTech is one of the most lucrative investment sectors in the country. In 2021, Indian EdTech firms raised well over US$ 5 billion in funding, according to Tracxn.

Village Capital ran a Future of Work India accelerator program, which supported 18 startups using technology to help people across the country find jobs, build careers, and prepare for the future of work. Four startups, namely;  Board Infinity, Mentoria, AskTrabaajo and Unschool, received funding through the program, and the other companies have also gone on to raise significant capital over the past year.

Village Capital’s Programs and Partnerships lead for South Asia, ShreyanshChandak shared, “It’s a critical time for us to redefine the future of work, more so in India where the current unemployment rate has been rising the past couple of years. Supporting startups enabling us to better understand, respond to, and prepare for the future workplace is key in creating new job opportunities. We see a lot of promise with the sector.” There are also significant opportunities for companies that raise productivity at the workplace and bring efficiency to the hiring and onboarding processes.

In our latest insight report, we take a closer look at the startups and investors making their mark in India’s Future of Work sector and the key sub-sectors enabling all of us to prepare for the future workplace.

Download the report here to learn more.

Village Capital helps entrepreneurs bring big ideas from vision to scale. Our mission is to reinvent the system to back future entrepreneurs. Our vision is a future where the business creates equity and long-term prosperity. Since 2009, we have supported more than 1,000 early-stage entrepreneurs through our investment readiness programs. Our affiliated fund, VilCap Investments, has invested in more than 110 program graduates. For more information, visit www.vilcap.com

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