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Education and training sector is going to be a priority of the Government. The National Skill Development Corporation has been set up with a mandate of imparting vocational skills to 150 million people by end of 2022. Industry, too, is coming forward and collaborating with academia. The focus is shifting from only academics to industry (or job specific skills). Policy makers, Academia and Industry are collaborating for maximum impact. With the ever present dearth of vocational skills in India now getting importance, this serves as a great opportunity for entrepreneurs in the education sector. We caught up with one such start-up, EduSkill.
Founder, Ajay Batra is no newbie in this space, so when he shared his entrepreneurial journey with us, we knew deep insights into the education domain were coming our way. "I started my first entrepreneurial venture in education back in 1990-91 when I setup Excel Infotech Ltd., an IT education start-up. The company started its operations in 1991 from a small office in New Delhi and grew to 100+ centers by 1995-96. In 1997, I exited selling my stake and moved on to digital processing for printing industry. While I chased opportunities in other fields, I was always passionate to return to the education industry."
Recognizing the need of skilled manpower for India’s growth and the opportunity in education sector particularly in area of skill development and improving employability, Ajay conceptualised EduSkill in October 2010. The idea was to offer skill development, training and assessment solutions to various skill providers across the country to make the youth of India more employable. Rakesh Khanna an industry veteran, and Surender Sharma joined as founders and Gabss EduSkill Ltd. was registered as a company in January 2011. Aashish, with his Business education from Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, USA has also played an integral role in shaping EduSkill.
Ajay got the idea for this bootstrapped venture at a lecture delivered by none other than CK Prahlad in September 2007: “I would like to see 500 million certified and skilled technicians”. This was first of the six big opportunities, he suggested to change the influence of India around the world. This set Ajay thinking and in the summer of 2010, He decided to get in education space once again. Presently a mid-seed stage company, EduSkill has already piloted multiple programs and products across seven Indian states catering to training, certification and employment needs of the population. The offices are present in Delhi-NCR and Bangalore.
Ajay puts a lot of emphasis on the main aim behind EduSkill: to promote effective learning and assessments which are industry specific. He also adds that, "The masses of India are not ready for only cloud based or only technology based learning solutions. That said, EduSkill uses traditional methods of teaching while effectively using technology to act as a catalyst towards the learning process. This reduces lead time for the student between training and employment." Four major segments are being catered to by EduSkill: Business (Existing and prospective skill training providers), Academic (Secondary and Post-Secondary), Corporate (Workforce development) and Government.
Attracting talent to work for start-up is one of the major challenge for Ajay. His plans for building a strong business development team and adding new products and services to their portfolio seem to be affected by this talent crunch. Presently, EduSkill is at a stage to scale up the efforts with 100 locations by end of FY 2012-13 going over 1,000 locations by end of FY 2014-15. EduSkill is open to strategic investment by way of dilution of equity, so as to fuel their geographical expansion.