John Paul

Creating Jobs at the BOP

This morning I read an article in the New York Times about a company that is providing English tutoring services to teenagers in California. What’s interesting is that the teachers all live in India, and communicate with their students using the Internet. Growing Stars pays its teachers a monthly salary of 10,000 rupees ($230), twice what they would earn in entry-level jobs at local schools.

The article reminded me of another one I had seen about Chida Soft – a village BPO doing coding on legal paper for an US client. It is one of India’s first BPOs ina village that is run by a resident and employs locals. ?Other than IT infrastructure, a BPO does not require good roads or houses. All it needs is abundant people,? explains Pradeep Nevatia, managing director.

Both examples demonstrate the potential for creating well-paying jobs at the BOP. With the right business model, IT infrastructure, and a little investment, millions of educated unemployed or underemployed people, even in rural areas, can benefit from demand for services in more wealthy countries. And it appears they no longer need an advanced programming degree to do so. This may elicit a ’no kidding’ response from those who have already read Thomas Friedman’s latest book, but it’s still worth pointing out that companies looking to make their fortune at the bottom of the pyramid should take a close look at the talents of the potential customers they’d also like to sell to.