Hope 2020 bring lots of joy and bliss to you and your near and dear and may it also empower you to brighten the lives of those you serve through your work at Wadhwani.
I am heartened to note that 2019 was a year of many ‘Wadhwani Wins’ duly captured in individual Initiative updates, but I want to highlight a few.
- Wadhwani Advantage: After piloting in 2018, we embraced supporting SMEs via our Advantage Initiative and helped growth of over 200 companies across India, Mexico, and Brazil. Advantage has taken off extremely well and today constitutes the largest team in the Foundation with massive scale plans in 2020.
- NSDC Partnership: NSDC (India) mandated Wadhwani employability skills to hundreds of their training partners and PSSCIVE did the same for 12,000 high schools.
- Gates Grant: We won a globally competitive Gates Foundation grant of $1.5M to upskill hundreds of Govt. of India funded Incubators. An external validation of our work is also a great affirmation of your commitment and hard work.
- ET NOW Partnership: In partnership with the Indian TV channel, ET NOW we offered entrepreneurs a mass-market platform that “song” and “dance” Reality Shows have traditionally been enjoying. The broadcast of our show will start in January. We are experimenting a similar program in Mexico through streaming media with the goal of rolling it out globally in the near future.
- Advantage/VFT Platform: We rolled out our first SME/Startup entrepreneur support APP providing our entrepreneurs with on-demand, personalized content and connects to accelerate their growth. Our VFT vision and our APP was one main reason to win the Gates grant competing against global players.
- VBC Acquisition: We acquired a company, VBC, that over the past five years has built solutions to support Incubators/Accelerators and their Startups. Starting Jan 1st, 2020 their team of five will become part of our VFT team and we expect rapid scale of our VFT program in 2020.
- Global Expansion: EEgypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, Bangladesh – all new additions in 2018 – gained traction and momentum in 2019.
- Initiatives Added: Three significant new initiatives were seeded in 2019.
- Wadhwani Invent to provide thousands of Govt. sponsored Innovation grants to SME’s and Startups
- Wadhwani Research and Policy focusing on driving policy reforms that accelerate job creation and job fulfilment
- Wadhwani Catalyst aimed at catalysing scale in organizations that demonstrate success in job creation and job fulfilment at the global level
The above wins and many more noted below create a strong base for us to take giant strides in 2020.
- As we embark upon 2020, it’s also important to focus on our challenges, so that 2020 will be an even more successful year for the Foundation.Globally, every youth aspires to support himself/herself first and soon the family, enabled through a high-quality job. Unfortunately, jobs are a rapidly diminishing commodity today. You and your work, by creating high-quality jobs, are making an enormous and generation-transforming impact on their lives — never forget it.Given this powerful mission, we need to drive perfection in everything we do as someone’s well-being is at the end of our work. OOne of our biggest challenges in 2019 has been that while we work hard, we have not always worked smart. Working smart entails thinking through the details, optimizing and executing to perfection. At times, absence of such detailed thinking resulted in painful wastes and delays. Every small misstep by us could have giant impact in someone’s life. Each of us is very capable of overcoming this shortcoming and together we shall overcome in 2020. It is critical we perform at the level of perfection, not only because lives depend on it, but a job done to perfection always comes with instant internal joy.
- Second, notice my highlights are weak on outcomes data – the very purpose of our work. In 2020, let’s have a maniacal focus on outcomes — which for us is quite straightforward: High-quality Jobs Created, Placed, and Retained.Every week, next year, you ask yourself:
- How many jobs did my WA SME create?
- How many Startups WE enabled which in turn created jobs or will create jobs soon?
- How many students skilled by WO got jobs and how many are still in the job and how many of those are progressing in their jobs?
- Which Wadhwani championed Policy reforms created the most jobs or accelerated placement and retention?
- How many jobs were created by companies that Wadhwani Catalyst program supported?
- How much did I spend to create a single job? Can I do better next month?
- Last and most importantly, how do I help accurately measure these outcomes as a first step for us to learn and introspect as described above?
Onward and upwards.