Developing women entrepreneurs at BoP who deliver quality education through technology-enabled school-in-a-box solution

We work towards gender equality by training low-income women to become entrepreneurs & provide them with income-generating opportunities

Photo of Binayak Acharya
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

ThinkZone

Year founded

2014

Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $10k - $50k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 1,000 - 5,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • India

Headquarters location: City

Bhubaneswar

Location(s) of impact

Odisha, India

Website

htttp://www.thinkzone.in

Facebook URL

https://www.facebook.com/ThinkZoneIndia/

Twitter URL

https://twitter.com/thinkzoneindia

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

India has a poor track record on women’s empowerment and gender equality (Ex: Ranked 132 out of 148 countries on Gender Inequality Index in Global Human Development Report) The diversification of female workforce has been very low due to multiple reasons such as limited education and appropriate skills. Getting more young rural women to work in jobs that don’t involve wage labour & farm activities will be the next step for improving the country’s economic health.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

We have developed a community enhancement model which is financially sustainable. This will incorporate the mission of providing quality education and making learning at a very early age valuable and enjoyable. And if such a model uses an integrated approach of empowering women to become changemakers and role models in their communities, then this will have only have a long term effect in uplifting the country as a whole.
ThinkZone empowers women in low income communities to provide quality education through a technology-enabled “school in a box” approach. We implement a comprehensive, scale-driven lean model that enables us to provide standardized early-childhood and primary education programs at minimal costs.
The cost-effectiveness in our model makes us to offer the programs to the rural BoP population at an affordable price. By involving local resources, we are ensuring financially sustainability at a micro-level and subsequently the process can be easily scaled to more areas.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

From the little work that we have done till date, the impact that has been created is quite good. 1500 children have been receiving quality education and have reported a 50% average increase in their learning levels (across memory, language, physical and social skills for Early Childhood Education Program) and (arithmetic and language skills for Primary Level Education Program) We have been able to create 45 dignified livelihood opportunities which has resulted in an average increase of 40% in their annual family income. In terms of operational impact we have found that the number of children who continue onto the next term i.e. re-enrolled has been 90%. The number of villages that have been covered is 110 and the number of students who have passed their entry level test for their next class level in Maths has increased by 50%. We have reported a 80% on-time fees payment to the entrepreneurs & have reported a 10% dropout rates among children which is significantly less.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

We are a bootstrapped social enterprise. We generate revenues from fees we receive from the three level early-childhood programs and five level primary grade programs through the B2C mode and also from the B2B modes by implementing our programs via organizational partnerships.
Our enterprise being a economies of scale model will become financially sustainable and profitable by reaching out to more and more villages. ThinkZone being an asset light model can be easily replicated and scaled in newer territories.
Grants & Investments: 20%
Earned income: 60%
CSR:20%

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

-The model is sustainable, as the hubs generate their own revenues; replicable, through well-defined, people-independent processes & scalable, ensuring execution through capacity building & continuous learning of everyone in the value chain
-With the ever increasing focus on entrepreneurship for economic development in backward areas, ThinkZone’s women micro-entrepreneurs are becoming role models and change agents to inculcate a spirit of entrepreneurship in the region

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

I belong to Odisha, which unfortunately has one of the worst HDIs. My thinking of what I want to do in life have been affected from my firsthand experiences of the massive societal inequality happening around me. Despite being among the educated elite, it used to hurt a lot for not being able to do something for my poverty-ridden state. Continuing with a plush corporate job would have been ideal but taking a life changing decision to work in the left-wing extremism affected areas on several pro-people initiatives gave me a wider perspective on ‘sustainable development’. Education is the foundation of a healthy society & so its development in the underserved areas is very dear to me. Providing a good foundation through quality early-grade education has become by passion. I dream that every Indian child not just goes to school but has the minimum learning competencies to succeed in life.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Social media

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Photo of Zaafi Art

Very nice project

Photo of Binayak Acharya

Thanks a lot for the shout out! :)
Please do follow our work on Facebook and Twitter:
https://www.facebook.com/ThinkZoneIndia/
https://twitter.com/thinkzoneindia

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