B2R (Business-To-Rural) is a for-profit social enterprise which sets up and operates rural Business Process Management (BPM) centers in Uttarakhand, India, with the aim to deliver business value together with social value. In operation for thirteen years, we currently have four delivery centers of 50 to 75 seat capacity each and a team of close to 340+ rural youth spread across these four locations, 50% of whom are women.
With a core team well-experienced in the running of domestic and international outsourced business processes, we currently focus our energies on some key verticals – Publishing & Image Processing, Data Labelling & Annotation, Accounting & Financial Services, Data/Content Mining, and Virtual Assistance.
B2R has been recognized both nationally and internationally for its unique sustainable business model – including by NASSCOM in India, and by Harvard Business School, where we were invited to address the Social Enterprise Conference.
We started thirteen years ago in Uttarakhand. The state had a young, literate workforce but not enough jobs. All it needed was a couple of intrepid entrepreneurs in the form of Dhiraj Dolwani and Venki Iyer, veterans in ITeS (IT Enabled Services) or BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) gathered enough stars in their eyes and steel in their spines to venture out to make the big bang happen. And they did. Business plans got made, VCs were located, angel investors lined up. Before long the first rural outsourcing center came up in Orakhan, a small village in district Nainital in Uttarakhand. Quickly, B2R Gold and Green centers started dotting the landscape of rural Uttarakhand. Orakhan, Letibunga, Kausani and finally, Haldwani. Places you wouldn’t normally hear about. Less than one horse towns, some of them with no paved roads, no traffic lights (why would you need them when there were hardly any cars), no shopping malls. All they had was the most important ingredient for BPO success. People with a strong work ethic. As later events would prove, this was the bulwark on which we built our version 2.0.
While investments were made thanks to funding from Angels and VCs our investment strategy was characterized by two shortcomings. One we were too timid (an India only strategy to grow our market) and a lopsided spending plan that placed capacity building above sales and marketing. We built it, and they did not come. When funding ran out, there wasn’t enough work for people to execute and enough revenues for the company to be made. Then the funding dried up, then people left us. From a peak strength of about 300, we dwindled to about 120. We did not let that get us down. We stayed strong and fought hard.
From the ashes rose the Phoenix. We made several important changes to our business strategy. We convinced ourselves that we had what it took to succeed globally. We changed our revenue model to include more predictable revenue streams. Cut costs almost to the bone. People stepped up. The leadership team took steep cuts in pay. The delivery teams followed suit. It was an ‘us against them’ mentality.
And slowly the good news started breaking. We had one US customer, then one from Singapore. Global customers started stepping up. Business diversified till one day in February we all heard what we were waiting for – We had broken even for the first time ever on a cash flow basis in February 2015. We have not looked back. Every month thereafter we have done that. 93 months and counting. We made our first annual operating profit in March 2016, then in March 2017. We grew into Mexico with a business partner. In short this is a success story where today 90% of our revenues are predictable. Our customers have given us a resounding thumbs up for reliability, quality, service and integrity. And our DNA that we have laid bare is what we believe we brought to the table each of the half a million work days we have so proudly created so far. In an area where employment offers were so limited. Happily our workforce has more than doubled in less than three years. Our Senior leadership team is intact. Our values we carry with us at all times and our customers are delighted.
Meet our global team who specializes on technology-focused, high quality service delivery which helps our customers win at every step of their journey
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