Story of Saloni Malhotra empowering rural India by opening call centers in villages

A startup is not only meant to make money, but it is also to usher in a change in the way we live, work, and systems. For a variety of reasons, 9 out of every 10 startups fail because they lack innovation. Most importantly, innovation should not just fill the pockets but also be helpful to those who are eager for new opportunities.

Saloni Malhotra, who understood these things better, decided to take an initiative not only to make the life of the people problem-free, but also to provide work opportunities to the villagers at the local level.

After engineering from Pune University, Saloni started her career with WebChatni, an interactive media startup based in Delhi. It really didn’t matter to her what she was doing because the plan was to learn what it was like to run her own business. During this tenure, he decided to do something that could completely change the attitude towards the BPO industry.

Saloni, 23, felt that providing quality content at affordable prices to the customers would cut down on additional costs to a great extent. Not only this, it will also open employment opportunities for the rural population and will also provide some good basic facilities for the village. With this thought he started DesiCrew.

The first seeds of desire to work for rural India were planted when Saloni went to an engineering college in Pune, “My roommate, from rural Maharashtra, asked me what my branch was? And when I asked her for Industrial Electronics, she proudly told me that she would study Computer Science. Then, I learned that she had never seen a computer but believed that studying computer science would give her a good job. I felt bad for people who live in rural areas.”

DesiCrew started with digitization services such as data entry, and data conversion. Over time, the company added services such as content creation and verification, GIS-based mapping services, transcription, and localization.

When the economic slowdown hit our economy, companies opted for DesiCrew for many back-end activities to save on costs. But to reach here, Saloni and his team had to go through many rough and rough roads.

Talking about difficult situations and how to overcome them, Saloni says, “There were three points on the board – village, technology and profit. The rural outsourcing/BPO model was the ideal idea to link these points. After giving it a lot of thought, we started working on the project in January 2005.” The firm was formally registered in February 2007.

The plan was to set up rural BPOs in tier II towns and small villages so that DesiCrew could engage unemployed youth, have basic facilities, provide necessary training and get projects from customers across India. This unique firm has also been successful in creating non-farm employment opportunities for educated youth in the villages itself.

DesiCrew’s biggest challenge was to create an infrastructure equivalent to their client’s office in a rural setting metro cities. This was necessary to change the perception of the urban people that quality work could only be done from the cities. For this, DesiCrew had to make arrangements for broadband connection, stable power supply and various equipment etc. in these rural BPOs.

DesiCrew has been working to improve the education of girls due to many influences. Since they mainly employ women, now parents are encouraging their daughters to complete at least high school. Migration has been reversed and workers can now save up to 90 percent of their wages, as opposed to 10 percent in cities. In DesiCrew, money is created by the community for distribution within the community.

DesiCrew has made many impactful changes through her work, among them the improvement of girls’ education is one important aspect. Since they mainly employ women. Due to which now parents are encouraging their daughters to complete at least high school education. Migration from villages has reduced and workers in villages are now able to save up to 90 per cent of their wages as against 10 per cent savings in cities. In DesiCrew, the money earned by the community is distributed among the community itself.

No job is difficult for those people who are ready to learn and work hard. “We are happy how capable people are in our villages. He has given his hands and has performed well in many high-quality works. Our business model is evolving to meet customer needs and we have learned to embrace change without altering our core values”, says the founder.

Undoubtedly, Desikru would never have been born, if Saloni had not had the courage to pursue and fulfill her dreams and indeed, she did everything she could to turn them into reality. She has been a game-changer, a promoter, a social entrepreneur.

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Bhagyashree Soni
Bhagyashree Soni is a software engineer with soft writing skills. She is a degree holder from the International School of Entrepreneurial Leadership. She has been a state-level badminton champion and chess player. A woman with a forthright attitude enjoys her writing passion as her chosen career. Writing in the context of feminism, social cause and entrepreneurship is her forte.
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