B2R (Business-To-Rural) is a for-profit social enterprise which aims to provide unemployed young people living in rural villages in India the opportunity to earn a livelihood within walking distance from their homes. B2R was founded seven years ago with the core idea of ‘bringing the work to people rather than bringing people to the work’.
Since then, it has set up 6 Business Process Management (BPM) centers in Uttarakhand, India, and has a team of nearly 300 educated young professionals, of which 50% are women. With operations in Mexico about to kick off, B2R’s vision is to create employment for youth in a global ‘impact sourcing’ delivery footprint in years ahead.
“My experience of using iProbono’s network was seamless and it really helped to have a dedicated contact person who interacts with social organisations like ours. Ashish and his team took the pro bono work seriously and dedicated up to 8 months working on several of our projects.”
To help B2R work towards its vision, iProbono connected the organisation with Ashish Razdan, a partner at Khaitan & Co. Mumbai, one of the leading law firms in the country. This process facilitated by iProbono helped B2R receive free legal advice on various matters such as reviewing contracts, drafting and reviewing operational compliance reports.
Dhiraj Dolwani, CEO of B2R said “At that time we were underfunded and desperately needed good legal advice but were unable to afford it. At that critical juncture, we got introduced to iProbono and through them to Khaitan & Co to get the legal support we needed. This helped us focus on continuing our work on creating rural livelihood, the impact of which has been in respect of reduced urban migration, increased local employment & incomes, thereby helping to grow the economy.”
B2R was set up to address the social challenges due to lack of local employment options in rural areas, coupled with the margin pressure that BPM companies were facing in urban delivery models in recent years. It provides training to undergraduates and offers them specific vocational training on usage of computers, English language, and business support services required by customers This digital experience becomes like a window-to-the-world for rural youth, opening new opportunities, helping to increase their confidence as they learn to work as responsible professionals delivering to stringent requirements of global corporations.
B2R has continued to encourage young women to take this opportunity, and since its inception, a significant number (50%) of trained youth are young women. This is very relevant at a time when India is struggling with gender bias and trying to improve this through a combination of policies and interventions.
Dolwani says “Young women in rural areas have been traditionally disadvantaged at the opportunity level when compared to their male counterparts. To overcome this and to improve gender parity, we have created a “fair bias” in the system (same percentile for cut-off on test results, but separate data sets for men & women) so that young girls are able to apply as equal candidates for the same jobs as men. We found that once selected, young women compete equally and even outperform men in terms of hard work and dedication.”
Intertwining social and business goals have been key to the approach taken by B2R.