Members of the Ennovent Circle, the Ennovent Impact Investment Holding and Upaya Social Ventures, closed a seed investment round in Delhi-based Anant Learning & Development with the goal of increasing skills training in India.
This investment in Anant is the eight investment facilitated by the Ennovent Circle – an exclusive group that collaborates to accelerate innovations for low-income markets – since its launch three years ago. It is also the fourth investment made by Ennovent’s Impact Investment Holding.
Upaya’s support of Anant Learning has been made possible by LAF: Creative Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy fund that invests in employment and empowerment initiatives that provide vulnerable youth around the world with the means to create a better life for themselves.
In the 12th Five Year Plan (2012 – 2017), India set a target of increasing the percentage of workforce with formal skills to 25% at the end of the plan. According to the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), depending on the GDP growth rate, it is estimated that 50 – 70 million jobs will be created in India over the next 5 years and about 75% – 90% of these additional employment avenues will require some level of vocational training. However, only 10% of the total workforce in the country receives skill training and 80% of the entrants have zero access to skill training.
Founded by Delhi based Ajit Singh in 2012, Anant Learning and Development aims to become one of India’s leading organisations providing placement support to both urban and rural youth. To do so, the company maps semi-skilled manpower in the country through post placement tracking and assessments and provides credible data on its recently launched livelihood promotion job portal, Rozgar Mela based on expectations of both employers and job seekers. It is one of the few job portals that also caters to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and workers in the informal sector.
Anant Learning has leveraged its existing network of self-help groups and non-governmental organizations to expand operations in across India. They have already partnered with NSDC and the Agriculture Sector Skill Council to perform over 10,000 assessments in 14 states. Anant Learning has also partnered with two state governments and two private training agencies to perform post placement tracking and measure the impact of interventions.
With this investment, Anant Learning aims to scale its service operations by investing in technology infrastructure to improve its data collection capabilities for the job portal and by implementing suitable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to optimize operations and enhance internal systems and processes.
“Anant Learning and Development is very happy to have Ennovent Impact Investment Holding and Upaya Social Ventures on board as investors. We at Anant have been working to ensure that young people from poor communities across India have adequate skills training and regular access to secure, stable employment with credible employers,” says Founder Ajit Singh. “This investment will enable us to increase the scope of data collection for our job portal Rozgar Mela, by which a larger number of urban and rural youth can gain employment. Also, by investing in technology infrastructure we will be able to consistently track and analyse the impact of our interventions on both job seekers and employers,” he adds.
Speaking about the investment, Joel Rodrigues, Manager of Ennovent Circle says, “The unique selling proposition of Anant Learning is its strong linkages to the industry and direct contact with the beneficiaries. This helps the company understand the needs of potential employees and connects the disconnected rural youth to the employment system. The Ennovent Impact Investment Holding is optimistic about the impact Anant Learning will be able to create at the grass roots through this investment.”
Data from International Labour Organization (ILO) states that 48% of employers face difficulty in filling jobs in India. This is caused by lack of available applicants, shortage of hard and soft skills and shortage of employable labour. As a result, the unemployment rate among graduates and above for the age group of 15 – 29 years is estimated to be at 36% and 26% for rural and urban areas respectively.
“Upaya sees Anant Learning’s platform as enhancing the ability of young men and women from poor communities to earn a stable, dignified living,” said Upaya’s Director, Business Development, Sreejith Nedumpully. “By harnessing technology along with a geographically diverse network of trainers and assessors, Anant Learning is able to remove the inefficiencies from the system,” adds Nedumpully.