As India steers through the COVID-19 crisis towards self-reliance and growth, there is an urgent need to address the challenges faced by the blue-collar worker community in the areas of employment and empowerment. To bridge this gap, GoodWorker, a digital job matching platform, has come together with noted actor, Sonu Sood and Schoolnet, a leading education and vocational skills provider, to form a joint venture with an initial investment of Rs. 250 Cr (~US$ 34M).
The technology platform aims to reach 10 crore Indians by providing access to good jobs and career progression through upskilling services, followed by financial, healthcare and social security services. The initiative will also help employers in recruiting and retaining verified blue-collar workers, which will result in productivity gains, improved profitability and sustainable operations.
The platform uses decentralised technology built by Affinidi, also founded by Singapore investment company Temasek, and will provide workers and their families with digital identities and verifiable credentials. They will have greater control of their data, and improved access to employment opportunities and life empowering services.
Pravasi Rojgar was launched by Sonu Sood along with Schoolnet in July 2020 as an employment portal for job-seekers, especially migrants, after millions lost jobs in the pandemic. This initiative has received an overwhelming response from all stakeholders, onboarding over 10 lakh job seekers and thousands of employers within just 4 months of its launch. Pravasi Rojgar’s scope is now being expanded beyond job matching in partnership with GoodWorker, building on the combined strengths in migrant outreach, education, skilling and technology. The strategy centres around a core digital platform supported by Schoolnet’s physical network spread across India. The joint venture will formally launch its product offerings early next year.
Ekam Advisors, an investment banking firm out of Mumbai has been instrumental in bringing all the partners together and advised on the strategy for this initiative.
Announcing the partnership, Pradyumna Agrawal, Board Member of GoodWorker, said, “The cutting-edge technology that GoodWorker brings will allow businesses in India to effectively expand their operations by finding the right talent, and also allow workers to have control over their data while widening access to digital products and services. With digital transformation accelerating against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, GoodWorker’s investment reflects our optimism towards trends in India that are underpinned by technology and digitalisation.”
RCM Reddy & KK Iyer, Board Members of Schoolnet, said “Schoolnet, as a market leader in education and skilling services, reaching more than 1 crore students, youth and enterprises, along with its deep domain knowledge and execution track record, is uniquely positioned to realise this mission of creating a community of an empowered blue-collar workforce.”
Sonu Sood, whose philanthropic services for migrant workers have been widely recognized, said “This partnership will help in realising my dream of providing a better life and securing livelihood for millions of youth. I am fortunate to partner with this socially relevant technology platform, as it helps institutionalise and scale Pravasi Rojgar’s humanitarian efforts.”
This partnership is expected to complement the Government’s initiatives to spur economic growth, create employment opportunities and support inclusive development through the use of technology at scale.