Indic AI Foundation for social good

Using Artificial Intelligence for accessible education of differently abled for employment in public and private sector.

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Eligibility

  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Sarita Chand

Initiative's representative date of birth

17th Feb 1981

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • India

Where are you making a difference?

India

Website or social media url(s)

https://indic-ai.org/

When was your organisation founded?

We got registered as Section 8 Company NGO in India, under Ministry of Corporate Affairs on 17th Nov, 2019

Focus areas

  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Pilot (have done first proof of concept)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $100k - $250k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

I visited Saksham NGO to meet some visually impaired children & the teacher introduced me to some of her bright students who wanted to clear IIT JEE exam. Reema, a 9th class student was so passionate that she wants to learn Machine Learning, so that she can solve the education accessibility challenges of the visually impaired. Another student Pranam from 9th class, was the topper in his inclusion school. As we interacted with more students, it was the unavailability of right guidance & accessible material that makes it difficult for students to pursue higher education. Thus our new journey started to find a scalable & cost-effective solution that can help the differently abled children of India to achieve their highest potential.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Despite 5% reservation in govt employment, the share of differently abled in public sector jobs remains at 0.44% and in private sector is also estimated at a poor 0.3%. Many of the jobs reserved for them are vacant because of unavailability of suitable candidates. The main problem is that curriculum and learning materials, which are adapted to the learning needs of differently abled, both in content and format are not readily available.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We aim to be the first and largest disabled friendly education platform in India providing accessible mainstream content to 2 million differently abled individuals in the age group of 5-29 years. Indic AI is aiming to address this problem through two tech interventions, viz. ‘Indic AI Education’ and ‘Indic AI Access’. Indic Education is our disabled friendly learning platform to offer Free/Open and Paid/Pro online courses to persons with disability. We partner with mainstream training institutes and make their courses accessible using Deep Learning algorithms. Indic Access is our solution to automatically make existing content accessible, without manual intervention. We are using Deep Learning Algorithms to reduce the cost footprint of making content accessible and to make our offerings scalable. Presently we are training NLP models to make digital audio, video, ebooks and test series content accessible to differently abled in local Indian languages. Our models are trained on domain-specific Indian education content, ensuring our models have low error rates as compared to commercial models on the local content.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Indic AI Education is the only learning platform in India with focus on differently abled students. We are not following the traditional route of helping a selected group of individuals each year, like existing NGOs. We want to leverage the new technology and algorithms to reach a much wider audience. Further we would license our AI and technology solutions to help corporates, education institutes, course providers etc. to convert their existing content into accessible format. Though there are guidelines from government on making the education accessible for people with disability, most of the existing course providers’ online platforms and content do not pass accessibility tests.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

Social transformation: Most of the differently abled aspire for govt & public sector jobs, because of higher job security. But even in a best-case scenario, not all of them will qualify the same. So, we want the students to have the industry-oriented skills, do internships & explore job opportunities in private sector, these skills will also help them to perform on govt/public sector jobs. But most important for us, is that we enable our students to take ownership of their learning to keep updating themselves for new generation skills. For example, the mentors of our Engineering students will encourage them to learn AI, data structuring etc and participate in all the Tech competitions in their colleges. Arts students are encouraged to participate in all college committees and do internships with private sector companies.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

School students: coding, logical reasoning, mental maths, English, use computer independently. College Students & working professionals: use computer independently for all their college exams & assignments, financial planning, content developers , market research, Financial modelling Python, AI, ML, Cyber Security, Analytics, DM. For Education Platform, we would measure the success of our solution using the following funnel: a) Number of registration (unique users) b) Number of course enrollments, split by Free and Paid courses c) Number of course completed (course completion rate).

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Some NGOs are also doing a great job of training differently abled students for private sector jobs. They provide only classroom trainings on accessibility, sales, marketing, tele-calling, computer literacy limited to few cities in India. Our solution is fully online, tech based and fully accessible, which differentiates us from other NGOs . At organisation level, we understand that lot of resources already exist with private institutions, corporates, NGOs and collaborating with them will enable us to make our operations commercially viable and scalable.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Indic AI Open: Indic AI Education beta website was launched in Feb, 2020, with 100 plus hours of accessible content for academic and professional courses. Indic AI Pro: we have partnered with ten private training providers for 150 students enrolled in the current batch. The group consists of students with diverse goals, ranging from clearing competitive exams (such as Engineering, Law, Administration, Management, banking, government, teaching exams etc.) & preparing for professional jobs (software coding, digital marketing, financial analysis etc.) Training Partners :Career launcher, Vedantu, Adda247, Careerguide, Vision Aid, Digital Vidya, Kredent Academy, Edupristine etc Indic AI Access: Our model for caption and transcript generation on Indian educational content is trained on Indian education dataset (5000 hrs) and the first version would be ready for launch by April 2020.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Main sources of revenue would be a) Commission income from sale of paid courses: We have 2 types of courses on our platform viz. Open/free courses that are fully subsidised by the course provider & Pro/paid courses that are subsidised by at least 50% discount by the course provider. Indic AI would charge a commission on Pro courses sold through its platform. b) Sales revenue from Technology & AI solutions: We would be offering our deep learning models & accessibility solutions to institutes, course providers, corporates etc. on commercial basis. In FY 21, FY22, FY23, FY24 the revenue to total expense ratio will be 10%, 35%, 52%, 92% respectively. In short & medium term we need grants and CSR funds , in our 5th year we become profitable

10. Team

We are a team of 3 full time and 4 part time employees. Sarita Chand, Co-Founder is responsible for partnering with Training Institutes and NGOs and manages the overall operations. Earlier, she was the co-founder of Edupristine , which was sold to Adtalem (ATGE – NYSE) in 2018. She is an alumnus of SIBM Pune. Neha Shivran is co-founder, she is heading the Technology and AI stream. Previously, she was Director of Analytics at Lenddo EFL & Head of Custom Modeling in a Credit Bureau.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Disability (including: physical, intellectual, and/or mental disabilities)

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

Working with differently abled is a huge motivation and an amazing learning experience. You get encouraged to see how they are so passionately working towards their goals, despite having minimal resources and negative ambiance that surrounds them. We strongly feel their inclusion is required, in schools as students and teachers and in corporates as owners and employees. A strong education system is the backbone to achieve the same.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

11. Bring it to life: Please walk us through a concrete example of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address

A differently abled students will logon to the Indic AI Education platform to access the courses given below using his laptop or smartphone. a) Academic courses: to support their school and college curriculum, curated from mainstream leading training providers and converted into accessible format. This would help them to compete with other students and achieve their full academic potential. b) Competitive exams: for college entrance, public sector jobs and private sector jobs. We are forming alliances and partnerships with training providers for these courses. c) Professional courses: These courses are meant for people looking for skill development to either enter the job market or perform better on existing jobs. Therefore, our solution caters to development of academic as well as job-oriented skills of differently abled individuals in age group 5 to 29 year

12. Skills Matching: HSBC Employees will have the opportunity to offer skilled-volunteering. If matched, which of the following skills would you be most interested in receiving?

  • Brand Development
  • Multimedia
  • IT Infrastructure/CRM
  • Web/Mobile Development

13. Financial Sustainability – funding breakdown: please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating an estimated percentage that comes from each source.

In FY 2020 (October 2019 to March 2020) the founders had invested seed capital of USD 11450. 

For FY 2021, our student enrollment target is 5000 for Open and 1250 for Pro courses.  Accessible content would be increased to 2000 hrs across 100 courses.

To support the above targets we need funding of USD 237000. 

We expect 10% of funding from sale of Pro courses, 30% of our funding from Corporate Social Responsibility, 20% from Individual donations and 40% from grants.


14. Financial Sustainability – please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project over the next 12 months.

FY 2021 Revenue Indic Pro student enrollment 1250 students Average fees collected from Pro students USD 157 We will charge 10% commission on the Pro course fees as admin expenses. Revenue from Course Sales (10% of Sales) 19,600 ( 1250*157*.1) Revenue from Tech & ML products 0 ( we will start the revenue on Tech products from FY 2022) Expenses ML & Tech Team Salary 1,31,100 Sales,Product & Customer Service Salary 65,800 Laptops 6,400 Coworking Office Rent & Employee Welfare 19,200 Accounting & Marketing Costs 1,700 Cloud Server, APIs, IT costs 12,600 Total Revenue Earned 19,600 Total Company Expenses 2,36,800 Funding Required for Office Expenses 2,17,200

15. Growth Strategy: What are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

The main factors that will help us scale faster:

a)Academic Collaborations with course providers for sharing their content to be converted into accessible format, instead of generating our own content. As per the PWD Act 2016, all the public and private infrastructure and education should be completely accessible by June 2019. Therefore, collaboration with Indic AI would help partnering institutes in meeting the guidelines.

b) Use of AI and technology solutions : would reduce manual intervention in making content accessible, providing ability to scale up without linear increase in manpower.

16. Activating changemakers: How are you giving people the power to control their own destiny and support other people to become changemakers in their communities?

 The mentors guidance and access to industry oriented courses on Indic education, will encourage our students to take ownership of their learning.

Further , the success stories of our students, will be shared through various platforms like "Josh Talks" etc, which should inspire others.

Success stories:

Soundarya a Btech student, who had enrolled for python trainings and internship support, is now teaching Chess to other visually impaired students. He is an International chess player, within 3 days of launch, we got 95 enrolments for advanced chess online trainings.

17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

So far, we haven't received any awards or recognitions. 

18. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project

We need to scale up our operations using existing resources through tie-ups and alliances to reach our target of 50000+ hours of content and 2 million enrolments by 2025.

Collaboration with NGOs helps us to recruit students at a minimal cost, so we plan to add at least 50 NGO partners every year.

Content providers: this reduces our content creation cost and we get the excellent content.

The tech and ML solutions will help us to scale this platform for other developing countries.

Finally - Your Selfie Elevator Pitch: Share a 1-minute video that shares a quick summary of the problem you would like to solve, how you’ve chosen to solve it, and the impact you hope to see.

https://youtu.be/u9sJ8-TP7x8

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