Village Capital

Future of Work India 2021

About the Program

Village Capital, with the support of IFC, is launching Future of Work India 2021, an effort to support startups helping build the workforce of the future across India: bridging skills gaps, upskilling and reskilling workers, and helping job candidates prepare for jobs of the future.

The job ecosystem in India is undergoing a major upheaval. A recent survey found that ten years from now, more than half of young people will leave school without the skills needed to succeed in the workforce. Meanwhile, small businesses and informal workers continue to be hit hardest by the impacts of the pandemic.

We are looking for startups building innovative solutions around the following challenges:

Access to Education

Preparing for the jobs of the future starts with education – specifically, an education that teaches relevant skills like digital literacy. But access to quality education is limited to those who can afford it: for instance education expenses have increased fourfold over the past decade, while the cost for professional courses went up by nearly 52%.

We are interested in startups building tools and solutions to improve access to education or enhance learning outcomes for students.

Challenges for educational institutions

Education providers face significant challenges, from increasing costs to the rising number of students who seek an education each year. The public sector has only been able to provide limited support. Although more students than ever are graduating from school, the skills that they are acquiring are not necessarily applicable to the ever-changing workforce.

It’s important that education providers redesign their curriculums to meet the growing demands of the 21st century workforce by providing new models and tools for learning. 

We are interested in startups that are building innovative learning and teaching tools, or platforms to help educational institutions manage their operations and reach underserved students.

Access to Employment

The Indian labor market has become extremely competitive with unemployment among workers with advanced education at 9.2%. The current pandemic and the recent advances in automation have created a ‘double disruption’ scenario for workers. Estimates suggest that around 68% of workers will require reskilling of six months or less, with 95% of business leaders expecting employees to pick up skills on the job. 

Job seekers need to constantly build and rebuild their skillset, and then communicate that skillset to employers while navigating the chaotic world of job boards, which have failed to address the supply-demand gap.

We are interested in startups that help job seekers build their skills, improve their ability to communicate relevant skills to employers, or match them to relevant jobs.

Challenges faced by employers

Employers in India face many challenges: skills gaps, increasing recruitment and training costs and high attrition rates. More employers are focusing on improving employee productivity and increasingly favor digital tools to aid them in this process. 

With recruiters spending 1/3rd of their work week on sourcing candidates for a single role, they are looking for solutions that can increase the efficiency of their hiring processes such as filtering job applicants and conducting due diligence, training processes such as performance management, and employee management processes such as communications and workforce analytics.

We are interested in startups that are helping small business owners manage and expand their pool of talent by helping them recruit more efficiently, manage their existing human resources through data and analytics, and providing a great work environment for employees.

The Workshops

Future of Work India 2021 will host two cohorts, each cohort will have between 10 and 15 startups.

The virtual workshops will be conducted between April and June. The exact workshop dates are TBD.

The deadline to apply for this program (for both cohorts) is January 24, 2021.