Since 2001, Digital Divide Data (DDD) has been creating jobs for talented youth in developing countries by harnessing the Internet and delivering business process outsourcing services to clients around the world. On February 4, DDD will celebrate its 10-year anniversary with a gala event for 600 staff, customers, alumni, funders, and friends in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
DDD uses a model called Impact Sourcing, which refers to outsourcing business processes to disadvantaged communities, people with low education, or those with minimal opportunities to improve their lives.
DDD recruits disadvantaged high school graduates and places them through a 3-8 month training program to build basic computer and English skills. Once hired, the staff work six hours a day while earning university degrees on the side. Since starting in a small office in Phnom Penh, DDD now employs over 900 people across Cambodia, Laos, and Kenya and has helped 500 staff earn university degrees.
Here is a timeline of their 10-year journey:
2001 – DDD opens in Phnom Penh in July. Co-founders Jeremy Hockenstein and Jaeson Rosenfeld land Harvard Crimson as their first client, signing a contract for $30,000 to digitize editions of the paper from 1873-1899.
2002 – The Perseus Digital Library Project becomes their first of many library projects. They also sign a contract with Cambodia’s largest mobile phone carrier, Mobitel, who remains DDD’s client today.
2003 – Plans are made to grow the business and training is given to managers of future DDD offices. Battambang, Cambodia office opens.
2004 – Vientiane, Laos office opens. DDD incorporates as a non-profit corporation in California.
2005 – DDD is featured in bestseller “The World is Flat” by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, opening up many doors for the organization.
2006 – DDD signs contract with Yale Daily and establishes partnership with French NGO Passerelles Numériques. The company celebrates its fifth anniversary.
2007 – Dina Bitton chairs the board of directors, Readers’ Digest becomes a client, and New York office opens.
2008 – DDD is given Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.
2009 – DDD receives a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and Irving Levin chairs the board of directors.
2010 – Microsoft and Google strengthen DDD’s technology infrastructure. San Francisco office opens.
2011 – Nairobi, Kenya office opens with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. DDD establishes a senior management team and vision to grow to a $10 billion organization employing more than 2000 youth from the base of the pyramid by 2014.
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