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How a Silicon Valley company changing learning outcomes in rural India.

By Makena Naegele, Director of Growth at Aveti Learning

A widely held perception is that big profit-making corporate entities care solely about increasing their bottom line. Upon calling Purna Mohanty who manages US Operations in the Bay Area at Tessolve, a multinational semiconductor engineering solution provider, it was refreshing, albeit a bit shocking, to hear him speak so passionately about the personal and extremely impactful relationship Tessolve has with Aveti Learning.

Odisha, India is a community Mr. Mohanty is very familiar with. It was where he grew up and it is also where Aveti Learning initially launched. Odisha is one less-privileged rural communities in India where children as Mr. Mohanty says “need to work for their livelihood.” Getting food on the table is a priority, education is a luxury. A quality education is not something the community ever dreamed would happen, although Aveti is making accessible high-quality education a very tangible reality.

Mr. Mohanty was lucky enough to go to the National Institute of Technology (NIT) after going through the public school systems. Getting to NIT almost did not happen though as Mr. Mohanty had no scholarships and thus had to pull out a ton of loans and save a lot money. It was worth the stress though as NIT catapulted him to the United States where he got his Masters. After getting his Masters, he began working in Silicon Valley. Mr. Mohanty launched his own professional design services platform in Odisha and merged 2.5 years ago with Tessolve who was looking to expand into India.

Mr. Mohanty met Biswajit, co-founder of Aveti Learning, 18 years back when they were just friends. Mr. Mohanty claims that education is something Biswajit has always been passionate about. When Biswajit pitched Aveti Learning to him a few years back, his clear vision of innovating the education system struck a deep cord with Mr. Mohanty: a for-profit, scalable social enterprise that provided digital education in the native language of the learners without wifi connection needed. Mr. Mohanty believed in Biswajit’s vision so strongly, he knew “I had to do whatever I could to help. I want to do my part.” He didn’t just see this working in Odisha, but all around the world.

When Tessolve began looking for a social enterprise to partner with, as CSR is increasingly becoming something companies are working to integrate into their operation, Mr. Mohanty believed Aveti was the perfect partnership. The President of Tessolve, according to Mr. Mohanty has repeatedly said “education is the only way to eliminate poverty.” Tessolve was looking for an organization who as Mr. Mohanty says is “trustworthy on the ground”.

Mr. Mohanty and two co-founders of Tessolve went so far as to flying out to Aveti’s centers to conduct due diligence. Upon seeing the centers, they agreed to partner and funded 10 centers on the spot, changing the lives of hundreds of children.

When asking, Mr. Mohanty what is was that compelled Tessolve to want to partner with Aveti Learning so steadfastly he said it was looking at the 3 key stakeholders 1) the students who are very passionate to learn, you could see the “smiling on faces”, you could feel the “positive vibe” 2) the caretakers or facilitators of students, who not only motivate the students to learn, but go beyond in “caring and even cooking” for the children 3) “the people managing Aveti are very passionate about what they are doing.” You can “see the passion in their eyes, in the way they communicate, you can feel that.”

“Finding the right set of people at a grassroots level is the key” says Mr. Mohanty and Aveti has nailed it. You have to be able to discern “how do you pick and choose the right set of people”. Aveti puts a lot of time and strategy into deciding which students to target, facilitators to bring to the centers, and who is brought on board the management team.

Tessolve plans on continuing to invest mostly due to the Aveti team, “Highly qualified professionals are putting their life into Aveti. Everybody has a life and a family to maintain and we wanted to make sure that Aveti’s social enterprise model is successful.” They are continuing to make sure the company makes money by funding new learning centers and attracting investors to the organization.

Aveti’s “technology is super innovative” and the management “is in good hands”. Mr. Mohanty ends saying Aveti will “Revolutionize the entire world not just Odisha…for any country you name it. Aveti’s model will evolve and scale.” Something that gives Mr. Mohanty added confidence is Aveti’s for-profit business model. Mr. Mohanty says that if it is “not for-profit then it can’t scale or draw investors.” He strongly believes that a part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) should go to social enterprises that are for-profit for this very reason.

The passion and energy in Mr. Mohanty’s voice is so apparent that it brings a smile to hear a high-powered business man say that is not corporate profits on his mind, but Aveti, “Aveti is always on mind.” He views himself as “brand ambassador” of Aveti and always wants to know what is going on with the organization, keeping in touch with Aveti and staying up to date with Facebook posts. He spreads the message “whenever and wherever the opportunity arises.” Mr. Mohanty has already seen vast improvement in the community where Tessolve has planted learning centers.

By 2050 India is going to be the third largest economy in the world and the labor force is becoming more skilled. This is only conceivable though with the power of education and if Silicon Valley and leading corporations around the world are smart they will increase their hand like Tessolve does in helping the brightest young minds that will lead the next generation get the education that they deserve.



Bringing Personalized Education in Various Vernacular Indian Languages

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