When we started out in 2012 we picked up business for low-end work like Data Entry, OCR & proof reading. During the financial year FY 2012-13 our revenue per employee was Rs. 6000/- per month. Within a year we realized that we will have to upskill our workforce to be able to grow the business and scale it to other such hilly regions. So we invested in training for e-Publishing – a more niche processes that required specialist training. As a result our team now works on quite complex tasks like content meta-tagging using XML & xHTML programming. Some of them do proof-reading and case citation mark-ups in legal manuscripts for a leading international publisher of legal content!
Earlier it used to take almost 6-8 months for a fresh recruit to ‘go-live’ on real projects and start paying back for the investment on his or her training. But over time we developed training methodologies including English comprehension programs & automation tools to crash the learning curve and the fresh recruits ‘go-live’ in 2-3 months time. By the close of the next financial year our revenue per employee rose to Rs. 8000/- per month. By the FY 2015-16 it had risen to Rs. 12000/- per month as we focused on the e-publishing by moving up the value-chain and exiting the low-end data-entry business. This was purely done by up-skilling the very employees who were earlier doing the low-end data entry work and now were able to work on high end content meta-tagging projects!
This sector-specific focus on e-publishing also helped us increase in long-term client engagements. During FY 2012-13 we got business from 6 clients. However most of it was project-based lasting from a few weeks to 2-3 months. This hindered our ability to grow the team. In FY 2013-14 we got two clients who provided us with consistent work month-after-month. This provided us with a foothold to expand the team as their business grew. In FY 2014-15, we added two more clients who gave us consistent work, and also took on short-term projects to fill-up the slack and increase the revenue. As of now most of our engagements are of long-term nature, and the short-term ones are only those who agree to give very good rates.
Integrating with India’s thriving knowledge-economy
The knowledge-sector is and will be a key driver in India’s growth story. The training imparted at eGramServe to our new recruits and the nature of job they do subsequently is such that they become adept at using information technology and imbibe a sense of empowerment. The more ambitious ones have got outplacement in better roles with larger companies in Dehradun & Delhi where they have landed up with four to five times the average salary at eGramServe. The income received by the local youth is thus being retained within the region and is contributing to a demand for other goods and services and in a small way creating a commercial eco-system that has fostered the growth of Narendranagar and its surrounding villages. If similar professionally-run business-oriented BPO centers multiply in this region, they will help integrate Garhwal with the fast growing knowledge-economy of India. Our model of co-owning the BPO center with the local community has fostered a healthy, transparent and democratic rural investment climate. Entrepreneurs of the local communities and SHGs have shown inclination to invest in their local communities to start micro-BPO centers aligned to eGramServe in a Hub & Spoke arrangement. We are hoping that once this scales-up the local communities in the Garhwal region will transform from the mindset of being grant receivers to becoming taxpayers and contribute to the spirit of enterprise in this region!