Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund, announced an investment of Rs 1.5 crore (US $300,000) into education service provider Edubridge Learning. Headquartered in Mumbai, Edubridge provides unskilled rural students customized training to link them with entry-level employment.
“Edubridge is an early stage company that has tremendous potential to significantly alter the landscape of opportunities for rural youth in India,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO and Founder of Acumen Fund. “This is just one example of where we can help enterprises creating public goods in markets where government and commercial players have not fully met the needs of the poor. These investments allow us to leverage our patient capital to help launch businesses with creative approaches to major social issues.”
Acumen Fund has a track record of investing in private enterprises that use commercial strategies to fix social issues. Hippocampus Learning Centres was their first investment in education, which provides low-cost supplemental education for young children. Edubridge caters to students with high school diplomas or dropouts, providing them with a customized training and placement program for a fee of INR 5,000 (US $90). Customers are guaranteed a job placement or the entire fee is refunded. This model pushes Edubridge to operate more efficiently than its competitors.
“Edubridge’s goal is to fundamentally address the employability gap within India,” said Edubridge Founder, Girish Singhania. “By training these rural youth we are enabling them and their families to have a better future, while simultaneously improving the labor pool within India.”
India’s education system has been struggling to keep up with a growing population in a rapidly expanding economy. More than 50% of children aged 15-19 currently unemployed or out of school. To date, Edubridge has trained over 1,500 students across four states. Acumen Fund’s investment will allow Edubridge to more than double their service centres from 12 to 30 over the next two years.
Photo from Edubridge Learning.
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