New partnership between social enterprise and Oxford Executive MBA students to create jobs for people in rural India

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IndiaCSR News Network

logo (1) 123MUMBAI:  A new partnership set up to help transform the lives of disadvantaged people in rural India was announced this week at the  Oxford India Business Forum 2014. RuralShores  Business Services and Inclusive Ventures Limited will work together to help the lives of disadvantaged people in the country.

A social venture working to address the large number of unemployed people in rural locations in India has proved the inspiration and business model for a new initiative set up by three Executive MBA students from Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. Inclusive Ventures Limited (IVL) is creating sustainable jobs for underprivileged rural communities in a number of locations around the world and is already making a positive impact on the employment prospects of the first participants in the scheme.

The initiative is inspired by the experience and success of RuralShores, an Indian social venture which provides skills and employment to more than 5,000 people in 25 centres in India, servicing 30+ client firms and government departments.

The partnership with IVL will follow the Rural Shores’ model and invest in up to 5 centers across rural India. IVL and RuralShores will also explore opportunities for IVL to invest directly into RuralShores when such possibilities arise and to expand the model outside India.

The Oxford Executive MBA students visited RuralShores in March 2014 on an annual study trip to India as part of their EMBA programme.  The visit was led by Professor David Upton of Saïd Business School, a leading expert in international operations management and outsourcing.  ‘Businesses are keen to outsource many of their ‘back-room’ functions for greater cost efficiencies, and this demand for skilled, outsourced work can be utilised to create rewarding and sustainable jobs in remote locations’ said Professor Upton. ‘This new initiative is building upon the insights and experiences of RuralShores in India in creating rural jobs, and is applying their model in other settings, including rural locations in the UK. Initially small scale, this venture, and others like it, has the potential to be scalable and to have a significant impact on the employment prospects of rural communities, contributing positively to regional regeneration. This is a terrific example of how we can learn lessons from developing countries for application in the developed world.’

Mohamed Amersi, one of the founders and Chairman of IVL, said: ‘Our visit to RuralShores made a deep impression on a number of the group, and we were keen to establish an ongoing engagement with RuralShores both to help them with their own expansion plans in India, and to learn from their experiences in order to transport their model to other locations around the world. We are working on plans to extend our collaboration with RuralShores in India and are also exploring exporting their innovative model to locations selectively outside India.’

Kathy Harvey, Director of the Oxford Executive MBA programme said:  ‘All Executive MBA students at Oxford are expected to develop plans for entrepreneurial ventures as part of their assignments but in this instance the students have gone further, making the venture a reality, supporting it financially and seeking further funding partners to sustain it over the long term. Our recent class visit to RuralShores in India provided the inspiration for this innovative idea and I’m delighted that such an exciting opportunity has come about as a result and look forward to seeing the initiative develop over the coming months.  We are fortunate to have a wealth of commercial experience within the EMBA class and I’m not surprised that they are transforming their ideas into a business so quickly.  This venture is a clear example of how business schools can make a practical difference in addressing real world problems.  In addition, we are committed to communicating our insights, in this case developing and sharing a case study of RuralShores’ business model.’

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