Dear Team,

I am glad to see your enthusiastic response to “Wadhwani Beats”. It should be our collective endeavor to make ‘Beats’ vibrant and an ‘information powerhouse’ of the Foundation, so I will urge you to submit your contributions to Atul for inclusion in subsequent Wadhwani Beats.

We have a renewed focus across all initiatives to work tirelessly to achieve the Wadhwani Mission. For this we also need to practice a certain culture in the Foundation and this was appropriately summarized via the below video message from Romesh that emphasizes three-key pillars of our culture a) working with the speed of an entrepreneur, b) to be effective enough for productive outcomes, and c) leverage technology and artificial intelligence for scale.

You may recall that during the Retreat, all of you participated in the DAAS exercise to mull over identified challenges facing us and come up with ideas to tackle them with the objective of turning Wadhwani into a high performing organization. I am happy that some key recommendations have been consolidated and focused actions taken:

  1. Bottom-up Alignment on Goals and Strategy. Through an inclusion process we are aligning goals and activities of every function and individual to the overall Foundation goal. We will discuss and disseminate the finalized goals in an interactive and consultative forum soon. Progress barometers against these goals will be regularly measured and published.
  2. Delivery Excellence. To drive strong end-to-end collaboration and execution we are adopting productivity tools like Microsoft Planner, Teams, Project, etc., and using reports to pinpoint corrective actions and learning from continuous feedback processes.
  3. Structured Communication. To address information gaps, we have started regular updates through Wadhwani Beats, All-hands meetings/calls with Romesh (6-monthly) and Ajay (quarterly) and “Lets Connect” fortnightly sessions across teams.
  4. Motivation & Team Spirit. Cross-functional teams on key issues, cross-group buddy system, internship programs etc. are some of the immediate actions taken.
  5. Create Pull through Branding. Our association with ET NOW is a big step in this direction. Also, we have completed a mapping of our Brand identity, Image, Culture and Positioning and will be executing this in targeted media platforms.

I look forward to your feedback on what you enjoy about the ‘Wadhwani Beats’ and how we could improve it with every issue.

Leadership Organization Announcement:

Pavan Batchu (Head, Products) and Ratna Mehta (Head, Wadhwani Catalyst) have accepted our offer to join the Foundation in the coming quarters. Pavan will relocate from Silicon Valley to Bangalore and Ratna will be based out of Mumbai. Satya Sai Sylada has resigned from the organization and his responsibilities have been transitioned to Samir and Austin.

Wadhwani Advantage – Samir Sathe

Wadhwani Advantage signed two important MoUs in India – with the SME Chamber of India to on-board 7000 SMEs to the program and with SIDBI to on-board 500 SMEs to the program. The team is also playing a major advisory and thought leadership role in suggesting new age and hard-hitting themes for ET NOW’s LOT episodes.

There have been notable developments in the Wadhwani Advantage cohort management as well (1) NPS for the discoveries for 16 SMEs in South cohort ~8.2; transformation phase kicked off and 3 new SMEs being added to the portfolio (2) Discoveries of 21 SMEs in West cohort in process with ~70% time reduction in doing discoveries than in South; transformation to begin in September and October 2019 (3) Selection of 15 SMEs in North cohort completed; discoveries to begin in September 2019 (4) Automation of selection template, diagnostic kits accelerated

Wadhwani Entrepreneur – Monica Mehta, Javier Campos, Austin Thomas

India: The Wadhwani Entrepreneur mission is to empower students, professionals and startups with knowledge and skills to create/enable high-potential start-ups, leading to high-value job creation and the various WE programs are now being designed and implemented to meet this mission.
Also, the WE team is excited to share that now we are running our Foundational Course in Entrepreneurship in a Direct to College (D2C) mode across 11 institutes in India touching 435 students. We piloted this model in March and April’19 and launched our courses in the second week of July’19. These sessions are being done in a 1:1 format right now. We are looking at scaling this to 40 colleges by Jan’20 using a 1:n delivery model, where one Wadhwani remote faculty in parallel will address up to 7 colleges.
A key hire to the WE team is Sonali Agnihotri who as Director of the Wadhwani Entrepreneur College Program will lead the deployment in India.

Brazil : In May 2019, a SEMESP delegation visited our office in Bengaluru for discussions. SEMESP (Sindicato das Entidades Mantenedoras de Estabelecimentos de Ensino Superior no Estado de São Paulo) represents the largest network of private higher education institutions in Brazil ( 700+ with over 3.2 million students) whose members work closely with overseas universities with the objective to consolidate the transformation, improvement, expansion and development of education in Brazil. As a follow-up to this meeting, discussions have been ongoing on deploying our Foundational and Advanced courses, along with the Startup Club program, for more than 60 representatives in 20 Higher Education Institutions. The LatAm team is proud to announce that recently an MoU was signed with SEMESP during the Future of Higher Education event wherein Wadhwani Entrepreneur will provide support to scale and transform entrepreneurship education in Brazil. We have now a potential of over 20 new institutes coming onboard and deploying Foundational and Advanced courses, and Startup Clubs, 50 new faculties being trained, and an estimated 2000 students to be impacted, starting 2020. And not even counting our expectation with the D2C being piloted and implemented with them, which would bring us enormous scale and impact.

Mexico: The Mexico team is on the cusp of launching the Direct to Classroom (D2C) initiative in the Aliat University in Mexico (with 5 groups of 25 students) and is excited about it. D2C is a format wherein the Wadhwani Certified Faculty teaches virtually in a classroom and the ‘Wadhwani Faculty Fellows’ at the Institutes act as facilitators. This D2C Pilot aims to build a robust model that can be replicated in Q1 2020 across all LatAm countries.

MENA: MENA team signed an MoU (WE) with the Egyptian Chinese university (ECU) which comprises of 5 colleges: Engineering and technology, Economic and International trade, Physical Therapy, Pharmacy and Medical Technology. ECU is a joint venture university between Egypt and China, is affiliated with top accredited Chinese universities and is considered to be the first technological, productive and non-traditional university which depends on the productive technology.

SEA: Wadhwani enrolled student from Rizal Technology University, Angelica Ombiao, represented the Philippines in an Entrepreneurship Summit cum Business Ideation Competition held in Taiwan and won an award for which she gives a lot of credit to the Wadhwani Foundation. She says, “Everyone who attended the Taiwan conference was very impressed with my knowledge of the Lean Methodology and Business Modelling. I did not have any difficulty with discussions and presentations as I was thinking and speaking the global language of entrepreneurship. Thanks to Wadhwani and my Foundational Course on Entrepreneurship”.

West Africa: 3 new partner institutes in Ghana (Knustford University College – Accra, Garden City University College – Kumasi and Heritage Christian University – Accra) will soon join the West Africa Wadhwani Entrepreneur Network.

Wadhwani Opportunity – Sunil Dahiya and Sunita Singh

WO has partnered with Generation India Foundation, McKinsey Social Initiative to enhance the outcomes by leveraging e-learning. Before the collaboration, Generation was relying solely on textbooks to deliver its content. WO proposed the integration of e-learning content and a new methodology to run the program. Besides the learning experience of the students, the outcomes (both wages and placements) also improved.

Here is a video of beneficiary students who are currently working for Taco Bell in Delhi.

West Africa: Two new partners namely National Vocational Training Institutes (NVTI), Ghana (with 6 TVET Institutes) and Osun State Board of Technical and Vocational Education – OSSBTVE, Nigeria (with 9 TVET Institutes) were signed up.

East Africa: Kenya team led by Paul Mburu is proud to get into a partnership with Bomet County TVET through which Wadhwani Foundation is launching JobWISE 2.1 with seven VTCs (in the Diploma program) in September’19. The partnership is led by the Governor of Bomet County Dr. Hillary Barchok and his Minister of Education, along with a team of passionate deputies handling operations on the ground. In a show of commitment, the County Government of Bomet has invested financial resources in the infrastructure and training of its trainers expecting to pioneer employability training in the country.

Wadhwani Marketing – Atul Raja

Marketing announced a breakthrough, strategic annual association with India’s leading business channel, ET NOW and its ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ Season 8 program. This partnership will go a long way in evangelizing and championing entrepreneurship in India, and leveraging our global entrepreneurship knowledge and expert resources to enrich the program content so as to provide fitting advice to SME entrepreneurs & startups to thrive and grow. Season 8 launched on ET NOW on 9th September and pre-launch promos followed by commencement of launch promos on TV and half page (col) ads in Times of India and Economic Times gave the Wadhwani Brand wholesome visibility and awareness – a first of its kind in the mass media. This will be followed by myriad thought leadership efforts on-air and off-air.

Wadhwani Takeoff aimed to empower/galvanize aspiring and practicing entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge, television media exposure, and financing through our strategic partnership with ET NOW was also launched in September. Under this program, 80 down-selected entrepreneurs will pitch their Startups/Ideas across 16 cities of India (through July 2020) to a marquee jury after receiving coaching by Wadhwani’s network of mentors and experts. Through a leader board ranking mechanism, up to top-8 startups from across India will win a trip to Silicon Valley and 48 startups will get national airtime to showcase their pitch. Extensive outreach efforts and a microsite https://takeoff.wfglobal.org were launched by marketing to support this program led by Monica and Gayathri.

Also, towards a culmination of Phase 1 of a corporate brand enhancement and refinement exercise, marketing is now in the process of creating a ‘Brand Action’ book and also standardized narratives for all verticals. Expect more exciting news once Phase 2 of this exercise commences.

Wadhwani Technology Platform – Raghu Mallena

Wadhwani Advantage: About 40 advisors from India and LatAm are live on the Wadhwani Advantage app. Entrepreneur onboarding is progressing and should gain momentum. In the meantime, engineering is working on several features, infra and quality enhancements as part of the feedback received from the first release that went live last month.

Wadhwani Opportunity: New version of JobWise 2.1 is rolled out on LearnWISE along with the Qliksense reports. The tech team also started working with the WO field leaders on defining requirements for the new Opportunity web and mobile apps that will eventually replace LearnWISE.

Wadhwani Entrepreneur: Functionality to support tracking of Practice Ventures in LearnWISE is being worked upon and is expected to be ready by the end of September’19.

Wadhwani Impact Measurement & Partnerships – Austin Thomas

Check-out the recent Wadhwani Perception survey of 600 WE and WO faculty & students, WA entrepreneurs & mentors, etc. (click here) to know what our stakeholders think about us (Please NOTE that this is for internal use only).

As part of our efforts to improve WE and WO course usage and performance, a Course Usage Survey was rolled out and field colleagues are conducting this survey in person with faculty, students, etc. The findings will be shared soon.

Region-wise reports for H1 2019 (both WO and WE) have been shared with teams on feedback from faculty/students as well as engagement/completion. Regional reviews of their data over the coming weeks on this and other impact related programs will be done. The classroom observation survey (Click for WE and WO forms) for the field to capture during visits to campuses has been rolled out to get better insights and drive corrective actions at college/center level.

Also, check-out the ‘Changing Lives’ Annual Report (Click for full set of reports) and the externally sharable Changing Lives Report and Video to promote our offerings with current and prospective partners.

Wadhwani Global University – Austin Thomas

At WGU, the mood has been of retrospection. With a renewed focus, the WGU team is looking to create impact and translate the same to support and create superior entrepreneurship educators, who in turn will inspire and motivate students to set up ventures thereby creating new entrepreneurs. WGU is focused on this journey of re-engineering and expect to hear exciting updates soon!

Other key developments include (1) Faculty Development Program for WE underway in Cairo (2) Master Trainer – FDP for WSU in Delhi (3) Launch of Refresher Training for WSU team through a webinar (4) Introduction of video-based interviews resulting in Team WGU optimizing the faculty-selection process by reducing turnaround time and financial implications by 2.5x.

Wadhwani Invent – Mahendra Jain

The Wadhwani Invent program has continued its publicity and networking efforts with several biotech incubators, small businesses, and private capital providers regarding the upcoming announcement of its R&D Acceleration Grant (R&DAG) program. The Request for Proposals for the same is under review and should be rolled out soon. Engagement with the Atal Innovation Mission at NITI Aayog has led to several Ministries showing interest in participating in its ARISE program for which Wadhwani Foundation through Invent Program will provide the operational support.

Wadhwani HR – Samir and Austin

With the “Recruitment” guidance for the Foundation being transitioned to Samir Sathe [Hiring] and Austin Thomas [HR Operations], new streamlining processes are being put in place. While the hiring will focus on reduced average cycle time, recruiting hiring costs and close performance monitoring of the new hires in their first year, the HR Operations is focused on creating a supportive and motivating team environment aimed at reducing voluntary attrition rate and enhancing employee satisfaction measured by organizational NPS and six-monthly surveys.
Sixteen new hires participated in the “Centralized New Hire Orientation” at Bangalore with vertical representatives presenting an overview of their Initiatives. This program was well received with an overall feedback rating of 9/10. Simultaneously, the “New Hire Buddy Program” was rolled out to facilitate faster integration of new team members along with the setting up of a “Cross Functional Team” (CFT) to actively drive organization initiatives.

Wadhwani Market Research and Policy – Rick Rossow and Jayant Krishna

The Public Policy & Market Research group undertook a study on ‘Lag between Economic Growth and Job Creation in India’ based on secondary research and meetings with key industry associations, consulting firms and experts. In the process, it looked at issues such as GDP-job lag, labour elasticity, gross job data inadequacy, future job trends, annual job creation estimates and sectors having incremental job growth certainty till 2022.

Jayant Krishna participated in the Vishnu Som anchored NDTV 24X7’s live show – ‘Left, Right and Centre’- as a panelist on the state of Indian economy. Jayant also took part in an India Today TV show as a panelist deliberating on the need for the Indian education & skills sector to become more industry relevant and job ready. The show was anchored by Business Today’s Editor Rajeev Dubey. In addition, Rick Rossow and Jayant Krishna also addressed a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)’s roundtable chaired by Dr John Hamre, President & CEO, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). Meanwhile, the Reforms Scorecard continues to get stronger with more traction amongst stakeholders from government and industry.

Wadhwani Finance, Admin and Legal – Swati Mittal

Wadhwani FAL is currently focused on strengthening the Finance and the Legal teams to meet the growing needs and demands of the Foundation. It is also establishing and mapping processes for MoUs and Agreements including creating a centralized repository of standard templates on a shared drive so that the MoUs can be updated monthly and stay current.