For much of India’s population, college education is the only way to gain access to India’s emerging professional and white-collar jobs. India’s Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education is 19.4%, much lower than the global average of 27%. This ratio falls to 8.8% for underserved students, highlighting the inequalities in access to higher education. Bridging these gaps is critical to providing everyone an equal chance in entering India’s middle class.
The quality of higher education is an equally serious challenge. There is a significant drop in quality below the top 100 institutions, resulting in 75% of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates lacking the skills needed to work in India’s most demanding and high-growth global industries. Most college graduates in India struggle to find suitable employment.
To address these challenges, Village Capital sought entrepreneurs innovating in market-based models for college and career readiness in India to participate in the Village Capital Education: India 2016 Program, sponsored by Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Village Capital supported selected entrepreneurs with a three-month program with award-winning program curriculum, 1:1 mentorship from sector leaders, and tailored engagement with potential strategic partners and investors.
At the end of the program, the top two ventures, as selected by their peers in the cohort, received an offer of US $50,000 in pre-committed capital investment from VilCap Investments and were also evaluated by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation for an investment of up to US $500,000 each.
Village Capital supported entrepreneurs with solutions that enable underserved Indian students to:
- Better access quality coaching to be more competitive while applying to colleges and professional courses
- Improve reading and learning levels for those that are near graduation, along with their fluency in English through coaching
- Discover scholarships, financial resources and information on college courses to remove barriers to attending college
- Access supplementary resources, information and training to improve their learning outcomes at college and future employability
Furthermore, selected enterprises all:
- Had well-established core team
- Had meaningful customer or business validation (not limited to revenue, can also be successful pilot studies, number of users, and/or strategic partnerships)
- Were interested in raising US $500,000 – US $1,000,000 in the next 12 -18 months
Workshop 2: September 14 – 17, 2016 – Delhi
Workshop 3: October 17 – 20, 2016 – Bangalore