Murali Vullaganti is a social entrepreneur who, for the last 12 years, has focused on empowering disconnected youth in underserved areas delivering technology careers holistically. To dedicate himself to this cause, he left a well-recognized career of 20 years leading technology transformations for top global investment banks on Wall Street.
Murali founded RuralShores in 2009 with a vision to bring technology-oriented jobs to rural youth in India. It operates 13 centers across India employing 3,000 youth who manage critical business processes for 30+ global corporations.
Replicating from that successful experience, he founded PeopleShores in 2017 to help transform young adults in under-served communities in the USA into technology professionals through impact sourcing. Its two centers today employ 100 people.
Murali built an active world-class ecosystem of committed employees, investors, government, community, and corporate partners to support current efforts and help expand services to more under-represented peoples in other regions.
One-line project summary:
Empower under-educated and under-resourced citizens in marginalized communities in the USA by providing hi-tech skills and jobs.
Present your project.
PeopleShores aims to solve deep-rooted bias and conventional thinking in society and industry around underserved communities - under-educated, under-skilled people especially in Black and Hispanic communities.
Conventional wisdom presumes that under-educated and under-resourced people in marginalized communities can only perform low skill jobs, resulting in economic and social poverty.
Conventional notions suggest many technology jobs require a college degree, resulting in higher job vacancies in Corporate America or job loss through offshoring.
The conventional approach is to offer moderate or low technical skills jobs, resulting in displacement by use of technology later.
The conventional model is to lure trained workforce to jobs which are mostly in high-density, high-cost metropolis, resulting in loss of local production + broken familial/support systems increases poverty and tears social fabric.
PeopleShores challenges and disrupts these conventional assumptions by leveraging Impact Sourcing (socially responsible outsourcing) by creating technology centers within underserved communities in the USA.
Submit a video.
What specific problem are you solving?
Of the 32 million American youth without college education, 4.6 million are between 18 and 24 years (Opportunity Youth, as characterized by Aspen Institute); the rest are young adults between 25 and 34 years. With rapid integration of technology in life and industry, they are increasingly left behind the curve in the capacity to be productive. The lifetime direct cost to taxpayers of one unemployed 20-year old is $235,680 (The Economic Value of OY). A majority of these under-educated are of Blacks or Hispanics living in underserved or marginalized communities.
This under-educated population is increasing primarily due to financial unaffordability of college education and the misalignment of skills taught at high school with the new service economy. However, they possess enormous untapped talent and potential if we choose to invest in them.
At the same time, according to a recent WSJ report, there are nearly 910,000 unfilled technology jobs due to lack of readily available skills. Often these jobs are either sent overseas or are staffed with foreign workers.
PeopleShores is committed to solving this paradox by leveraging business demand to transform aspiring under-educated youth into technology professionals thus elevating society with opportunity and not charity.
What is your project?
PeopleShores’ mission is to empower under-educated youth in the USA with digital skills and technology careers and thereby elevate the entire community.
We establish onshore Impact Sourcing centers in underserved communities in the USA to:
- Invest in under-educated youth with a comprehensive paid training program and subsequently onboard them as process associates (full-time employment with benefits). The skills provided include Robotics Process Automation, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Customer Services, and back-office support.
- Enable these employees to deliver high-quality services to corporations in the areas of Digital Transformation and Technology Enablement.
- Generate revenue by charging the companies a fee for the services provided and reinvest profits to scale the operation.
Our vision is to setup one thousand centers in marginalized communities globally and provide career opportunities for 200,000 underserved youth, impacting one million people and generate waves of inspiration, awareness, and interest across communities.
PeopleShores is modelled on the success of RuralShores which was founded in India by the same founder. RuralShores currently employs more than 3,000 youth in 13 centres across 8 states in rural India providing technology enabled services to 30+ global companies. Today, RuralShores is recognized as the world’s largest Impact Sourcing Enterprise.
Who does your project serve, and in what ways is the project impacting their lives?
PeopleShores focuses on under-educated youth in inner cities and distressed rural communities who have been disconnected from employment due to poverty, disability, racial, or social discrimination.
In order to gain an understanding of the needs and challenges at each location we operate, we forge partnerships with local social service agencies, community colleges, and workforce development centers who strive to improve the lives of the target youths through stability support and/or career readiness. These community partners enlighten us with local knowledge and assist us in the recruiting process. Such community engagement and sense of ownership from the concept through to the operational state helps the community overcome historical, structural barriers and energizes the widest number of people.
For instance, in San Jose CA, we partnered with organizations including City of San Jose workforce agency, Catholic Charities, Pivotal (foster youth) and Neurodiversity Pathways (youth on the spectrum). In Clarksdale, MS, we partnered with the Economic Development Authority, Coahoma Community College, State Win Job Center, and the Mississippi Development Authority.
With our commitment to grow these and other centers, we will not only impact positively the lives of our employees, their families but also will elevate the entire community.
Which dimension of The Elevate Prize does your project most closely address?Elevating opportunities for all people, especially those who are traditionally left behind
Explain how your project relates to The Elevate Prize and your selected dimension.
PeopleShores focuses on providing employment opportunities for under-educated and under-resourced youth left behind by the advances in technology. By providing transformative competencies and careers in their own communities, their lives are transformed and whole communities lifted.
Recent events have put a spotlight on the need to address socio-economic challenges faced by minorities. PeopleShores’ model provides a tangible and scalable solution that creates a lasting positive impact and equitable-not just equal-opportunities. Its vision of creating a model for systemic improvement allows people to stay home, support their families and community, become a role-model and then inspire the next generation.
How did you come up with your project?
There wasn’t one epiphany, cathartic experience, influential role-model… a combination of them inspired me. Throughout my career in the high technology world, I met young people from modest backgrounds or far-flung places struggling to adjust socially or technologically. I was one such, having migrated from small-town India to the most technologically advanced environments. Every time I helped, without fail, I saw how dramatically it changed them – their productivity and sense of fulfillment included. I reflected often on how my success lifted my own boat – family, community, friends, kids...
Simultaneously, I observed technology companies luring rural youth to metropolis to overcome staff shortage. The dislocated migrants barely survived on meagre incomes, leave alone sending money home. High employee attrition raised cost to businesses while source-villages suffered community disintegration. Having traveled extensively and lived in different continents, I saw such loss-loss scenario was universal.
I believed that any solution must address the lack of technology education and opportunities. Thus, was born RuralShores in 2009. With the inspiration of that model’s success, I turned to replicating it in underserved communities in the USA. I roped in the support of like-minded Silicon Valley executives and entrepreneurs and started PeopleShores in 2017.
Why are you passionate about your project?
There would be moments in my career as a driven, high-achieving executive in a fast-paced tech environment when I’d reminisce of the easy pace of my youth in small-town India for stress relief. Or time with grandparents in their modest but well-knit village. The reality though was that those idyllic times, they were a-gone…replaced by deserted farms, boarded-up streets, fragmented communities/families, loss of productive youth to the global metropolis (as in my own case)... This depressing trend was universal, keeping with the rising disparity of wealth, knowledge, and opportunity.
Despite vast differences between me and many young people I was meeting, there was universality. I could relate to their personal situations and the realities they left behind; I was uniquely positioned to help. I had the knowledge, experience, networks of expertise and influence. And empathy for them.
The next step was easy: I quit my job, moved to India, and started RuralShores. PeopleShores was borne of that success. I’m a hands-on person and, every day, I see the transformation of individuals in their sense of worth, self-confidence, and the “network effect” of their success. That inspires me more to scale PeopleShores to many other underserved areas. PeopleShores is uniquely qualified.
Why are you well-positioned to deliver this project?
From strategic planning to operational execution and performance management, my experience in leading large, complex projects and programs in demanding business environments is a strong foundation, particularly, in service delivery. My forte is building and nurturing a diverse staff and partners, aligning multiple stakeholders, and developing mentors/coaches who will guide us through tough times. I take great pride in the empathy I bring every day.
At PeopleShores, I built a strong, passionately committed leadership team, each with 20+ years of experience in IT industry. Our accomplished Board of Directors/Advisors and investors, all prominent entrepreneurs and executives, actively participate in our strategy and operations, and coach me and the leadership team. In their own careers, they dealt with demanding macro conditions, scale, complexity of operations, and responsibilities. They have founded 30+ startups and led large organizations of 20,000+ at Fortune500 firms.
We bring to PeopleShores a decade of operational experience of delivering to service quality levels, information security standards, motivational and retention programs gained at RuralShores. The training programs, process governance models, and HR practices of RuralShores that helped us to train and employ more than 11,000 rural youth across 13 centers in India have been adapted/fine-tuned for PeopleShores.
We constantly evaluate emerging technologies. We forge alliances with leading companies such as Automation Anywhere to leverage their digital transformation platforms. This ensures that our people are ahead of the technology curve.
We engage our community stakeholders including government agencies and education institutions with collaborative outreach or evangelism programs in the community.
Provide an example of your ability to overcome adversity.
In 2019, while exploring a PeopleShores center in Clarksdale, MS, we faced a fiercely resistant community. Clarksdale fell back in time a long while ago. With a large under-educated, under-employed black community, incomes are among the lowest in the country. There’s no tech company within a 200-mile radius. When various constituencies heard about PeopleShores’ vision of bringing technology jobs to the Mississippi Delta, they widely refused to believe such a possibility or to participate. I was determined that if we could overcome such mindset barriers and succeed in Clarksdale, it could become a powerful role model for many others.
After studying the factors behind the low confidence and interviewing key people and potential employees, I decided on: a) leading by example, b) securing key influencers, and c) winning an anchor client for the center. I decided to move to Clarksdale to demonstrate my commitment. I invited two influential leaders, Mayor Chuck Espy and Economic Development Director Jon Levingston to our San Jose Center to turn the community sentiment significantly. Lastly, we secured a credible customer. It took months and several hiccups before we secured the three success factors but, when we did, we had the willing participation of the community.
Describe a past experience that demonstrates your leadership ability.
It was when I relocated and interacted daily with my associates and community that I saw the severity of Clarksdale’s healthcare problem. The high incidence of lifestyle diseases, poor nutrition, obesity, young mothers, addiction, the abysmally underfunded/under-equipped system struck me in the face.
However, I had no exposure to healthcare delivery. I did not want to distract/jeopardize PeopleShores. The licensing, regulatory, buildout … processes lay the burden of oversight/time/effort on us. I was in a state of confusion. After consultations with employees, community leaders, and doctors, I decided to establish a free-service clinic within PeopleShores campus for the uninsured, particularly women and children.
We consulted a NGO that runs clinics in Africa, Pacific Islands, and South Asia. Once they agreed, a state-of-the-art equipped clinic was established within a year offering services daily with three volunteer doctors. PeopleShores employees jumped in to volunteer at the clinic feeling a pride of ownership and responsibility!
Putting together disparate elements to finance, construct, procuring permits, and staff the clinic, as well as develop community support, has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life. The risk was high but the benefits, as I see them here, are huge and immeasurable.
How long have you been working on your project?
3 years on PeopleShores (10 years on RuralShores)
Where are you headquartered?San Jose, CA, USA
What type of organization is your project?For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
Describe what makes your project innovative.
The uniqueness of PeopleShores’ model is bringing hi-tech jobs within access of under-educated youth by establishing technology outsourcing centers in their own communities. We achieve this by two innovative strategies: Regional Ecosystem Model and Employee Engagement System.
PeopleShores has developed an innovative Ecosystem Engagement Framework to engage regional stakeholders who assist us in understanding and addressing local nuances. Since stakeholder may have different motives, we align them to the higher purpose of elevating their community and to the idea of creating 200+ technology jobs in their community. This framework drives buy in, support, and commitments from each stakeholder.
For instance, our Mississippi center eco-system comprises of:
- Local Government (Clarksdale City, Chamber of Commerce, Coahoma County)
- Training Support Agencies (WinJob Center, Skill Tech Center, SDP Workforce)
- Community (Individuals, Non-Profits, Churches)
- Academic Institutions: (Community College, Delta State University)
- State Government (MS Development Authority, MS Employment Security)
- Technology Partners (Automation Anywhere, UiPath)
- Business Partners (HORNE LLP, TransformAI)
The innovation is also in our employee engagement and development system which trains, supports, and nurtures our employees. Customizing through an empathetic understanding of individual constraints is an important component. For example, Neuro-diverse individuals may need more time on soft skills development and less on digital skills training. Trainees limited by their academic journeys might need extra basic tech skills training. Another aspect is using existing staff to coach and train new recruits. This way, they are fully engaged as role models and have a vested interest in getting new employees to succeed.
What is your theory of change?
Lack of opportunity for the underemployed leads to poverty, lack of self-esteem, and societal issues. According to the International Labor Organization, "Nothing is more fundamental to poverty reduction than employment." It then argues vigorously for "decent" employment -- work that offers people a good income, security, flexibility, protection, and a voice on the job.
Our Theory of Change is based on three pathways:
- Identify change agents in industry and society who can help change mindsets,
- Build tangible solutions in one under-represented region that can be scaled globally, and
- Engage and develop broader ecosystem in the region to sustain this change.
Our decade-long execution on this approach in India (RuralShores) is a proven success and documented in case studies by Everest Group (in Collaboration with Rockefeller Foundation), Harvard School of Business and Saïd Business School of Oxford University. With our approach we focus on both short-term and long-term outcome for the community.
Short term outcomes include:
- A workforce that can address the needs of corporate America
- An elevated financial environment for employees and their families
- A journey to alter the socio-economic conditions of under-privileged locations
Long-term outcomes include:
- Self-determined career pathways for those who didn’t have one
- Improved quality of life for not just employees and the family but the community where they live
- Increased tax base for local city/county enabling investment in needed services
Our planned activities are centered on three principles of change and focus on desired outcomes:
- Engage with civic and government organizations to assess efficacy of our model for the designated location
- Encourage corporate America to outsource their work, knowing that the output will be competitive to meet their requirements
- Recruit and train employees who may have never imagined a work life of white-collar work
Our business model is crafted to yield economic profits while simultaneously fulfilling the social mission of elevating an under-privileged community.
Select the key characteristics of the community you are impacting.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your project address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
How many people does your project currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
Serving today: 105
In One Year: 500
In Five Years: 10,000
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
- Scale existing centers and create two new Impact Sourcing centers. This will create transformational technology careers to 500 disconnected youth, provide sustainable livelihood for 500 families, and make a difference in four marginalized communities.
- Potential locations identified include Bronx/Harlem Borough of NYC and Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
- Each direct job creating 3 indirect jobs, 2000 families are positively impacted.
- Expand to 50 Impact Sourcing centers, ideally one in each state. Create an ecosystem of social entrepreneurs to take Center Head roles, develop each center. They will be shareholders of PeopleShores and will have a demonstrated commitment to their region. Having gained experience, learnt business principles, and acquired leadership qualities, some of the employees of today will be groomed to lead new centers.
- The impact on the communities include 30,000+ indirect jobs and significantly stimulated economic activity. 10,000+ direct jobs will also save Government/tax-payers approximately $1 Billion.
- Delighted by the quality of service delivered by the dedicated associates, our 25+ marquee customers grow to be loyal and referenceable. PeopleShores will establish leadership in the digital transformation services marketspace.
- During this period, PeopleShores will also establish its footprints in Africa and Latin America and replicate its model in selected communities on these continents.
- Financially, PeopleShores will achieve self-sufficiency to fund the growth and expansion on its own. This will also lay the foundation for PeopleShores to realize its vision of creating 1,000 such centers around the world and help one million families to lift out of generational poverty.
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?
The primary barrier that exist today is the mindset of the stakeholders in our ecosystem. From prospective employees who lack confidence, to community members who underestimate the talent, to Government officials who feel that Silicon Valley skills and jobs are a farfetched idea for their region, to academic institutions who feel that a computer science degree is the ticket to get a hi-tech job - they all think that their workforce doesn’t have the ability to learn and deliver technology services to Corporate America. Changing this perception requires profound persuasion and perseverance.
Another challenge is convincing prospective customers in PeopleShores’ ability to manage their processes through our associates with reliable service governance structure. To scale and sustain the model, it is vital that Corporate America recognize the socio-economic value of Impact Sourcing and support the initiative by outsourcing their process work.
To bring hi-tech skills and jobs to the target communities, PeopleShores continuously needs to stay on top of the latest developments in the digital transformation. This requires investing in subject matter expertise and pursuing leading technology platform companies for partnerships.
Another challenge is reliable availability of high-speed fiber-optic network connectivity in rural communities . It is critical that we have access to reliable networks at each center location to connect with our customers. Given that PeopleShores invests heavily in employee development (training & nurturing), the runway to profitability is longer than a typical pure commercial Outsourcing company. This is a common challenge for social enterprises.
How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
Mindset barrier: Identify an external catalyst in that community aligned with PeopleShores’ mission and an internal champion who can build and run the Technology center.
For example, the external catalyst for Clarksdale center is Jon Levingston the local economic developer whose aim is to bring jobs. His due diligence of PeopleShores and leadership included visits to San Jose center and RuralShores (India) to assess its effectiveness on rural communities. Once convinced, he took up on himself to rally other stakeholders. Internal champion was Murali Vullaganti who demonstrated commitment to purpose+community by relocating from San Jose to Clarksdale and built local relationships. Murali also worked with clients and other stakeholders in the ecosystem. We need to create a Catalyst and a Champion at each center.
Going forward, the San Jose center stands as a POC for inner-city initiatives and the Clarksdale center for rural communities.
Customer challenge will be overcome by showcasing current customer processes, providing references and organizing site visits to interact with the team and learn capabilities. The fact that RuralShores today manages 100+ complex processes for nearly 25 high-profile international customers is a testimony to the model.
Growth capital requirement will be met initially by raising equity and subsequently through internal accruals.
Lastly, PeopleShores has a passionate, committed, and experienced leadership team with entrepreneurial and innovative zeal. We will craft a talent development model to identify and develop a catalyst and champion i.e. Center Head in each region to run these new Technology Centers in their region.
What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?
PeopleShores Partner eco-system comprises of the following:
- 1.Community Stakeholders:
- 2.Technology Platform Providers:
- 3.Business Alliances:
- 4.Impact Investors/Grantees:
They help us understand local challenges and provide needed support to address them. They vary by location/center.
Today, these stakeholders include Goodwill Neuro-diversity Pathways, City of San Jose, Santa Clara County, Pivotal and Catholic Charities (San Jose), City of Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Chamber of Commerce, EDA, WinJob Center, Coahoma Community College and Mississippi Development Authority (Clarksdale).
To become an Impact Sourcing leader in Digital Transformation services, it is critical that we collaborate with world leading technology companies to gain expertise and access to their customer base. For these partners, PeopleShores fulfills their capacity building and social responsibility goals.
Our current partners include Automation Anywhere and UiPath (Robotics Process Automation) and Huddl (Collaborative AI).
These alliances enable us to deliver augmented services to end customers. These organizations sometimes sub-source their client’s work to us and sometimes enlist us for a joint bid. They use our partnership to demonstrate their commitment for Impact Sourcing to their clients and investors. For us, they act us another business development channel.
Today, we have partnerships with Accenture, Cognizant, Q Analysts, Horne LLC, EY and KPMG.
We continue to expand this network of partners.
To fulfill our capital requirements, we partner with a number of investors and Grantees. To-date, we raised equity investments from two organizations, an LLC and a foundation, and several grant funds from state/federal agencies.
What is your business model?
Although PeopleShores’ vision is grounded on creating impact in the community we serve, our business model is similar to that of any profit-making business process outsourcing company. We strongly believe that a viable, profitable business generates greater impact in society through higher employment and an elevated level of the economy for the community. Our model stresses training our workforce in the technologies needed for commercial businesses and thereby preparing them to be productive for the future. We have and will continue to partner with companies at the leading edge of technology.
Like any profit-making services company, we continue to market our services through various channels and seek corporations with an elevated vision of impact sourcing such as Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.com. Our track record with RuralShores in India has validated that we can compete with other services companies through a higher performance at a competitive rate. Since our workforce is motivated by getting this life-changing break, they are dedicated to their work and this ensures lower employee turnover for PeopleShores.
The community we serve also recognize that without our participation, they would have been “left behind” and only offer low skilled, low paying job opportunities. With higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs we also directly impact society and the standard of living. They take pride and ownership in being selected by us. Clarksdale is proud to be a center of service and even more proud of the fact that the visionary and founder of the company chose to be among them.
What is your path to financial sustainability?
Like most start-ups, our initial capital needs have been met via Investment capital raised from angel investors who are prominent Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and senior executives at large technology companies. They not only believed in the mission and business model of PeopleShores as an Impact Sourcing company but stay engaged by introducing us to potential customers and investors. We’re also working with Social Impact funds and foundations to support our capital requirements for expansion and operating cash flow needs.
Our second source of income is the service fees from our customers for the work executed from our locations. We contract with customers to deliver high-quality digital services and business process outsourcing services from both locations.
Lastly, we apply for grants from county and state governments for specific needs, be it infrastructure expansion or additional funds to support training requirements. We’ve also applied for and received grants from city workforce development agencies that pay a stipend to the youth during the training period and subsidize training costs for a short duration.
While we are currently relying on investments and grants to make up for the gap in our operational expenses, we expect our expanding revenue stream to close this gap and cover entire operational expenses within next 18-24 months. Need for any additional non-revenue capital would be primarily for strategic expansion/growth. RuralShores already proven financial sustainability of our model.
If you have raised funds for your project or are generating revenue, please provide details.
When we decided to start PeopleShores in the United States back in 2017, with a mission to bring technology jobs to the underserved and underprivileged, it was merely an idea based on the success of RuralShores in India. Our challenge, like any other start-up in the Silicon Valley, was to raise capital. After meeting with several potential investors, our fears were put to rest as many were ready to take the leap of faith. A group of entrepreneurs and senior executives came together, formed an LLC and made an initial investment of $2M over a period of 2 years, which helped us transform our idea to reality. This investment came in the form of a convertible note tied to Series A. Our second investment of $1M came from a Charitable Foundation with similar terms – convertible debt to equity.
Our source of revenue is Digital transformation services and Business Process Services provided to our customers. Over the last 12-month period, we generated US $1.15 Million in revenue from our customers.
The breakup is as follows:
Financial and Business Advisory Firm - $800K
Digital Transformation Services company - $125K
Multinational IT Services company - $125K
QA & Testing Services company - $100K
Lastly, PeopleShores initiative received $470,000 in last 2 years in grants/subsidies from several state/regional government agencies including Delta Regional Authority, Mississippi Development Authority and Santa Clara County.
If you seek to raise funds for your project, please provide details.
PeopleShores is preparing for Series A funding by the end of July 2021. The capital raised will be utilized for further growth and expansion to support our mission of setting up more centers in the underserved communities across the United States.
We continue to expand our client base and expect to grow the revenue stream. Covid-19 has accelerated enterprises’ use of digital transformation technologies to improve process efficiencies. We see an increase in demand for these services. This is uniform across all sectors and more so in the health care and government sectors.
We continue to work with the local workforce development agencies for additional grants to subsidize the training costs.
What are your estimated expenses for 2020?
The total estimated expense for year 2020 is US$2.5 Million. Nearly 2/3rd of this is expected to be covered by the revenue stream.
Our expenses are broadly categorized in three buckets: Employee Costs, Sales & Marketing, and Fixed Operating and Overhead expenses.
Employee Costs: Being a services company, the employee costs which include salaries, taxes and benefits, constitute 60% of the total expenses.
Sales & Marketing: These are direct sales and marketing expenses for personnel, salaries, taxes and benefits. Also includes some travel expenses required for in person meetings with customers to convert deals in the pipeline to real paying customers. Currently, this constitutes just above 10%. We need to make further investments here.
Fixed Operating expenses include rent, salaries for senior staff, legal and professional fee, business liability insurance, employee training etc. This constitute 30% of total expenses. This percentage would come down as the revenue stream increases.
Why are you applying for The Elevate Prize?
MIT is Global brand and the best-known academic institution for technology. The MIT Elevate Prize (EP) can accelerate PeopleShores achieve its vision. More specifically:
- 1)Help Convince Corporate America to elevate Impact Sourcing:
- 2)Help Change the Mindset of Ecosystem participants in Underserved Communities:
- 3)Help Attract talent and regional leaders required to achieve our Vision:
- 4)Expansion of Technology Partnerships:
Recognition by MIT will provide global credibility to the PeopleShores vision and the goal of creating 1,000 Technology centers around the world. Starting with the USA, the MIT Elevate prize will allow us to convince Fortune 500 corporate clients to participate in this initiative through Impact Sourcing.
MIT Elevate prize will lend credibility and convince government agencies, education institutions and other ecosystem stakeholders to partner with PeopleShores more closely. We have learnt from the Clarksdale experiment that these ecosystem stakeholders are huge influencers in the region and extremely critical for the success of the Regional Center.
Recognition through Elevate prize will help create visibility to attract the right talent needed to make this model successful. Especially, at each Regional Center, we will be able to attract socially conscious leaders with professional expertise as Center Heads. We would love to have some of the MIT Sloan Fellows to work closely with us on expansion projects.
We would like to draw on MIT/EP expertise to provide inputs and insights into our digital transformation services strategy and influence the hi-tech platforms for potential alliance/collaboration.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Please explain in more detail here.
Funding: We expect to raise Series A capital in 2021 to fund growth. With MIT’s support we’d like to partner with top Social Impact Funds and Grant making organizations in the USA/globally when we expand.
Leadership Development through mentoring and Talent Recruitment: As we expand our reach, we have a constant need to expand our leadership bandwidth. We would like to leverage EP’s professional development and management services to promote leadership skills in our existing team and attract fresh blood.
Board Members & Advisors: We are at a stage now to expand and elevate both our Statutory and Advisory Boards. MITS/EP can help identify suitable candidates who can bring stature, intellectual capital, strategic insights, influence, and diversity.
Monitoring/Evaluation: Tracking the progress of the initiative and ensuring at all times that we are on the right track is another area where we can benefit from EP’s participation.
Marketing/Exposure: Detailed in #6.
What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?
Funding Partners: MIT Impact Fund, Community Reinvestment Fund, Omidyar Network, Sales Force Ventures, and Chan-Zuckerberg Program. We believe that these funds are unique in their approach and focus and that, beyond funding, we can benefit from their perspectives and guidance in our journey.
Leadership Talent Partners: Ashoka Foundation, MIT Sloan Fellows. We would like to partner with top ranking social innovation programs at universities including MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, UC Berkeley, Kellogg School of Business, Duke, Univ of Michigan, and Oxford. The goal is to recruit potential Leadership team and Center Heads for Regional Technology Centers.
Socially Responsible Clients: Patagonia, Google, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Warby Parker, Ben & Jerry’s – We would like these companies as our clients and their CEOs on our Advisory Board to support us in the regions that matter to them. We believe these companies are some of the global thought-leaders in social impact and if we can get them as our anchor clients it would significantly reduce the time required to achieve our goal of 1,000 Technology Centers.
Murali Vullaganti CEO, PeopleShores PBC