A for-profit social enterprise established in 2009, B2R (Business-To-Rural) Technologies is one of the most-respected Impact Sourcing service providers in India; and the first Indian Impact Sourcing Service Provider to adopt the Global Impact Sourcing Standard(in March 2020). The philosophy of “conscience capitalism” drives it to operate with a uniquemodel where social objectives coexistwith commercial viability, making impact sourcing its sustainable raison d’être.
B2R chose as its area of work the remote, socially conservative Indian border state of Uttarakhand in the Himalayan foothills, where nearly 18% population lives in poverty and income levels werea dismal US$ 20 (INR 1500) a month, earned from seasonal low-yield farming and intermittent tourism. The harsh mountainous terrain covers 86% of the landscape and predictably, infrastructure and trained resources are negligible; yet B2R delivers high quality services in Data Labelling & Annotation, Publishing Support Services, Accounting and Financial Services, Legal Process Outsourcing, Web Research and Data Management, Human Resources Outsourcing, Helpline Support, Image Processing, translation & localization services to large national and international clients, many of whom have partnered with B2R for several years now.
With four micro-centres set up across scattered mountain villages, B2R has generated revenues of US$ 8.11 million (INR 57.10 Crore) over the last thirteen years, trained and employed over 900 un-employed local youth – at least half of which are village women – and disbursed wages of approximately US$ 3.8 million (INR 26.3 Crore) for over 950,000 person-days of rural employment.
B2R’s operations have brought professional, knowledge-based employment within walking distance of families who would have otherwise had to migrate to the cities in search of work. Their career paths have taken them to leadership positions in large organisations and enabled them to fulfil their life goals, something that was unthinkable a generation ago. Young women from the villages are able to negotiate a delay in their marriageable age from 16-18 to the mid-20s; and are in a position to assert their financial and social independence.
The economic thrust from additional spending by the employed youth’s families has resulted in better quality of life for the communities they live in, with trickle-down effects visible in every aspect of community living. Wholesome employee learning modules at B2R incorporate technical skills and improved physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of employees. Environmentally conscious initiatives in all of B2R’s operations makes the youth aware of their environmental heritage. These, coupled with community engagement programs, are designed to groom the youth to become responsible citizens and agents of change in their communities; role models for communities to engage in creating a sustainable, economically secure future in this distinctive geographical landscape.
B2R came into being 13 years ago in Uttarakhand. Bordered by the mighty Himalayas and known for Hindu pilgrimage, the state has tourism as one of the major economic contributors. Yet back in 2009, a majority of the young, literate workforce was struggling, without enough employment opportunities. Enter Dhiraj Dolwani and Venki Iyer, veterans in ITeS (IT Enabled Services & Business Process Outsourcing) who took their coffee table proposition and turned it into a vision for the rural youth.
The wheels set in motion when the first rural outsourcing centre came up in Orakhan (2009), a small village in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. Our first set of promoters and angel investors came onboard. One of the first projects was with a publishing house and it got us going. In the following years, B2R’s gold & green petals started dotting the landscape of rural Uttarakhand with centres in Letibunga (2010), Chimmi (2011), Ramgarh (2012), Simalkha (2012), and finally Kausani (2013).
Like all success stories, ours too has been pervaded with trials. The year 2014 was a difficult one for B2R when we saw our funding running out. Our investors pulled out and people lost trust and left us, with only the core founding team still intact. It was time to make some hard decisions and smart changes. We set on this road to be a ‘for-profit’ enterprise and that’s where we wanted to be for everyone who stayed with us. So, we did.
The fruits of change started showing soon. By the end of 2014, we delivered financial print services for a Fortune 500 US client. In February 2015, we managed to break even as a business. This was a big deal for us and meant that we are doing something right. As we diversified in our services, our customers from around the globe continued to step up. In the year 2016, we got the honour of working for the state government of Yucatan, Mexico for their employee data digitization. This was a true morale booster for the entire team at B2R.
Our humble, courageous steps towards keeping the revenues predictable and instilling the team with trust got us into our thirteenth year of operation. In this journey so far, the big pat on the back has been the resounding applause from our clients for our business quality and integrity.
The fruits of change started showing soon. By the end of 2014, we delivered financial print services for a Fortune 500 US client. In February 2015, we managed to break even as a business. This was a big deal for us and meant that we are doing something right. As we diversified in our services, our customers from around the globe continued to step up. In the year 2016, we got the honour of working
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