We have two new companies joining our education portfolio. In this blog, Shourie Chatterji, co-founder of ESDECS talks about the enterprise and its services:
What does your company do?
ESDECS is a social enterprise that seeks to address specific societal needs in education and employability by devising innovative & affordable solutions for the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) segment.
In the education space, ESDECS has established a prototype pre-school, with world-class pedagogy, in-class ICT enabled infrastructure and serves children of urban/peri-urban area at a very affordable price point. The school has started gaining traction and we plan to replicate the model in other areas and cities through strategic collaboration, once the prototype reaches operational break-even.
We have also created a high-quality and low-cost multimodal teaching-learning kit for government Anganwadi workers and the kit is currently being used in 1000+ Anganwadi centres in the state of West Bengal.
In the employability space, ESDECS has formulated a strategic alliance with Vikramshila and jointly developed an integrated life and career skill solution for adolescents culminating in actual job creation for school leaving young adults. Named as Education to Employability (E2E), the solution is accepted by the government of West Bengal and MHRD as a national level good practice in providing skills at the school level.
Why are you excited about this space?
In the areas in which ESDECS operates, there are critical service gaps, which we are trying to fix and our solutions are gaining acceptance from our target segment, which is the BoP. This excites us tremendously and motivates us to move forward.
What is innovative about your service?
I think the way in which we have approached the service gaps is somewhat unique. For example, in the space of employability and skills development, there are many players and multiple schemes. But what we have been able to crack is the fundamental issue of mindset, i.e. addressing the mismatch between aspiration and capability of today’s adolescents and youth. Unless we change their mindset, the skills development ecosystem may fail despite the best infrastructure, adequate funding and availability of jobs with no takers for these jobs.
We target this specific need by working with students of classes 9-12 to sharpen their career focus through psychometric diagnostics and counselling and by providing fundamental work skills (Communicative English, IT & Soft Skills). Domain specific skills are provided to students who do not have either interest or resources to continue higher education and with this input they are placed in reputed private sector companies as entry-level workforce. So it’s a process innovation in the ‘School-to-Work’ transition space.
Similarly, our approach towards pre-school education is to provide a high cost and affordable option for BoP segment, be it through our school, Early Birds, or through multimodal kits.
What is the impact you want to have?
For an organization like ours, we would be delighted if we can continue to work in the space of education and skills training and take it to a scale that will bring about a systemic change. So, in the time frame of the next 10 years, if we can create new jobs for one lakh youth, provide career direction setting for another one lakh adolescents and provide an educational foundation to 10,000 children, I think we would make ourselves relevant and meaningful.
How do you think Villgro will help?
Other than the seed funding, which is extremely critical for a start-up like ours to stay afloat in the formative years, it is Villgro’s ability to provide intellectual depth and direction to the organization’s core through its networks and mentors that is perhaps the most important contribution.
Tomorrow: Meet new incubatee iTeach