BagoSphere is a social enterprise vocational training center that provides skills training for highly talented and motivated rural, BoP youth in Bago, Philippines. The program targets high school graduates in particular, including youth that cannot find employment, cannot go to college, or have dropped out of college. BagoSphere is based in Bago City, where there exists a significant mismatch between youth's skills and the demands of the job market. BagoSphere seeks to bridge this mismatch through providing a comprehensive skills training program, to prepare rural youth for full-time jobs in call centers. BagoSphere employs a rigorous screening process to select highly talented youth (through an initial application process, a series of reading and listening tests, and in-person interviews). Selected youth are trained in the following skills:
- Call center competencies
- IT literacy
- Financial Knowledge
- Soft skills (speaking and listening skills)
An important part of the model is the financial support of the students. During the 2-month training program itself, students are provided with transportation allowance, free stationery, and course materials.
BagoSphere works with micro-finance partners such as Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF), the top 6th MFI in the Philippines to offer special micro-loans to students. Following the completion of their training, students gain employment in established IT-BPO call centers and companies, and begin to pay their tuition fees through monthly installments to the MFI. The tuition to BagoSphere is paid upfront and call centers also pay BagoSphere a commisssion fee per hire.
The potential for growth is significant given that in 2010, the Philippines overtook India as the largest call-center location in the world, and that by 2016, 800,000 direct BPO jobs are expected to be created in the Philippines.
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Model details2011For-profitEnglish language21st century skills (soft skills)Information and Communications Technology (ICT)ActivePilotHousehold fundsUSD28018929%71%
BagoSphere screens out for the poor by using a poverty scorecard developed for MFI students. Needy students are pioritized over less needy students.
BagoSphere works with Negros Woman for Tomorrow Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation Micro-Financing Institution, and a partner of Grameen Foundation to provide microfinancing options for students. NWTF's mission is to help poor women from rural communities achieve self-reliance and rise above the mire of poverty by providing them with training and credit, to maintain or start their own small business ventures. NWTF is currently providing members and their family members a special education loan upon successful application of the BagoSphere’s Call Centre Training (CCT) program.
Since 2013, approximately 25% of our students have been financed by NWTF, with an 80% employment rate upon graduation. By targetting NWTF's members, who usually comes from low-income families, BagoSphere is able to reach out to the poor.
Success Rate (Graduates finding a job within 2 months of graduation) = 85%
Graduate's Average Monthly Income = USD 260
Increase in Graduate's Monthly Income = 54%
53% of Students are able to gain employment without work experienceJuly, 2014
2010 – 2011
“Discovery & Pilot”
In 2010, the team identified a market opportunity in training rural youths to become call center agents. On the second trip, a training room equipped with 15 donated computers was set up at the city center of Bago City. In 2011, BagoSphere hired 3 local teachers and ran a pilot with 14 rural youths for 4 intensive months.
- BagoSphere achieved more than 90% pass rate for the pilot – 13 Students succeeded in finding jobs in call centers
- The pilot project was funded by grants from various foundations, and private and public institutions.
The second pilot trained 11 students, and a 100% job placement rate was achieved 2 weeks after students' graduation.
BagoSphere incorporated in Singapore and the Philippines. It also became the recepient of Singapore International Foundation’s Young Social Entrepreneurs Grant Program and an award
winner of Start-up@Singapore’s Social Enterprise competition in 2012.
Subsequently, the team raised a seed round of capital with Frank Levinson from Small World Group leading the round and assistance from Impact Investment Exchange Asia. Late in 2011 and back in Bago city, partnerships with call centers and the local government was forged. The first few employees were hired.
2013 – To Date
2013 ended with 100 graduates. To date, BagoSphere has 167 graduates. About 80% are placed within 2 months after graduation and 70% still employed 6 months after graduation. From 2013 to date, BagoSphere has accomplished the following:
- 5 Call Center Client Partnerships in Negros Occidental
- Partnerships with MicroSourcing & Accenture in Manila
- Partnerships with MFIs such as Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation & KIVA
- Setup a $20,000 KIVA credit line
- Fully operational business in a rural environment
- Full-time team of 12
- 700+ applicants for 110 training places in 2013
- 70% of students are high school graduates
- 70% of students were unemployed before BagoSphere
- 48% of students were never employed before
"Scale with Technology & Existing Platforms"
Distribute BagoSphere services through BPOs by licensing out our online Learning Management System and by training trainers. This gives us the capability to train 10x more students in Manila, Cebu, Ilo-ilo, Davao without heavy infrastructure costs and creates a cap on organizational growth while scaling impact. First international projects with BPOs in Vietnam and Indonesia.
Operational Plan Objectives from 2014 to 2016
-Development of a leadership team with strong expertise in Learning & Development, Curriculum Development and Business Development & Sales.
- Establish an employee development program
- Develop an internationally recognised curriculum for vocational skill training and assessment, specializing in English Language learning.
- Operate 8 Training Classes in Manila and Bacolod with an annual output of 840 graduates.
- Development of an online Learning Management System
- Acquire office working space for organisation expansion into Bacolod and Manila.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
To monitor and evaluate our performace, BagoSphere conduct survey with the students to find out about their pre-course and post-course standard of living.
BagoSphere also engaged Shujog, a non-for profit which specializes in impact measurement to assess our performance. Shujog uses a metrics that is widely recognized under the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS).
Key Metrics from Shujog:
1. BagoSphere Operations Metrics
•Number of training centers*
•Number of courses per training center*
•Number of students per course*
•Number of employees at BagoSphere*
•Average duration of study*
•Pre-BagoSphere wage for employees
•Work benefits to employees at BagoSphere*
2. Student Outcome Metrics
•Student pass rate*
•Student job placement rate
•Post-course average wage growth in new job
•Post-course job tenure in new job
•Post-course work benefits
•Post-course savings and saving strategy
•Post-course number of days to obtain new job
3. Qualitative Metrics
•Student assessment of benefit derived from each course module
•Student assessment of course impact on health, happiness, security, mobility, and social capital
•Propensity to refer others to BagoSphere course
•Job progression of graduates and reason for leaving for graduates who change job within 36 months of graduating
4. Student Demographic and Socioeconomic Profile
• Pre-course residence: rural / urban*
• Pre-course academic qualifications
• Pre-course income
• Pre-course savings and saving strategy
• Pre-course work benefits
• Number of dependents in householdUser satisfactionAbility to reach the poorGraduation or promotion ratesEmployment ratesTeacher attendanceCost effectiveness/value for moneyOtherSee attachmentYes
- 74% of students have a basic high school diploma
- Only 47% of students have prior work experience with an average monthly income of US$105 (less than minimum wage)
- 53% of students have no prior work experience at all
- Only 21% of them had work benefit
71% of graduates still employed after 6 months
95% Graduation Rate, with 189 out of 199 enrolled students completing the course.
95%, with an average of 951 out of 1000 days attendance per batch.
199 students enrolled since program started
- $290 average monthly salary of graduates
- $2,520 estimated increase in yearly income per BagoSphere graduate
- $22,680 total estimated increase in yearly income for all current BagoSphere graduates