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Samasource

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An overview of Samasource, a nonprofit social business that alleviates poverty by connecting the poor to remote work opportunities on the internet.

An overview of Samasource, a nonprofit social business that alleviates poverty by connecting the poor to remote work opportunities on the internet.

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  • 1. empowering the poor through remote work give work, not aid.TM
  • 2. Unemployment is one of poverty’s greatest ills. 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day, mainly in Africa and Asia. Hundreds of millions of them have skills, but can’t find dignified work. Computer-based tasks provide decent jobs. Computer-based “remote work” like data entry and image tagging can pay up to $5 an hour, improving livelihoods among the world’s poorest people. Samasource links people in need with clients who pay them to get work done. read more!
  • 3. The problem: the world has a talent surplus 277% of per-capita income is spent on tertiary education in some countries + 175M+ skilled workers in very poor regions are cut off from markets for services + “The dilemma in Kenya, and Africa 60% unemployment among at large, is that the cost of university and high school graduates education is getting so high...upon = finishing, you can’t get a job that will offer returns commensurate with what you’ve done in school.” Talent Freda Adundo, IT degree Surplus candidate, Kenya
  • 4. The solution: find people remote work The services below can be completed by people anywhere, with basic training and IT infrastructure. These services earn people between $3 and $5 an hour, about 10 times what they’d make otherwise. research data entry and website app testing assistance digitization packages image content moderation updating Application testing virtual video in Uganda assistance captioning Research assistance in Kenya
  • 5. enter samasource. Sama means “equal” in Sanskrit. We are a social business that helps bright but marginalized people in poor regions find dignified jobs. We work with locally-owned small businesses and nonprofit training centers to connect people who want to work with paying clients who need services. Our method has three parts: screen train market + select 1 2 3
  • 6. 1. Screening and Selection Our partners include locally-owned businesses, nonprofits, and groups of home-based workers that pass our rigorous selection process. Our consultants screen potential partners for social impact and quality with an application process, interviews, and site visits. Social Impact Screening Objectives Quality Screening Objectives • Find motivated, talented partners • Get money into high poverty areas • Ensure partners possess the right skills • Keep money in high poverty areas • Ensure access to adequate IT • Keep money in good companies infrastructure Selected Partners Location: Nairobi, Kenya Founded by: Mugure Mugo Location: Nairobi, Kenya (left) Founded by: Stephen Muthee Services: data entry, Services: proofreading, data transcription, and captioning entry, transcription
  • 7. 2. Training Our training program is based on client demand. Samasource beneficiaries build skills that earn them increased income, such as application testing for social netwowrks. Core Curriculum Modules Technical Training Project Quality Client Technical Management Assurance Communication Skills Software Software Software • Speaking and • Microsoft Office • Basecamp (web- • Error-reporting and communication skills (Word, Excel, and monitoring based project • Negotiating skills Power Point) software management) • Feedback and Over 300 young people benefited from • Firefox and Chrome • Google Docs (free • Templates for error response times (open source reporting to clients our Facebook Developer Garages in web-based project • Seeking further help/ browsers) tools) guidance Africa last year. • Web-based • Dropbox (web- Skills • Resources for financial software based file storage • Accurate QA skills further study • Web-based file for project • Common QA • Scenario/role- management metrics requested playing with sample management) by clients clients Services Skills • Common mistakes • Data entry and • Time management in QA digitization • Team time tracking • Preparing QA • Image moderation • Time reporting reports • Video/audio • Problem reporting captioning and feedback • Content updating • Application testing
  • 8. 3. Marketing We market our partners’ services to global clients with a cutting-edge website and sales team, resulting in direct income increase for our beneficiaries. So far, we’ve found over $150,00 in work for partners in Africa. Website / Social Media Our Clients • < $5K contracts • Cross-platform distribution with oDesk, Elance, other partners • Traffic driven through video marketing, Facebook, Twitter, free ad campaigns Sales Team • $10K-$100K contracts • RFPs and word of mouth • Web-based RFP searches, conferences, personal connections (e.g., Benetech)
  • 9. Results We believe that the only comprehensive method for reducing poverty is giving work, not aid, to the world’s poorest people. Our model is 100% sustainable. With each job we find for our partners, Samasource earns a 10% fee, fully covering the cost of our operations in two years. Raised Earned $37,500 $140,000 All-volunteer staff 85-90% of earnings to directly to our Donated hardware partners and software 45-85% of their Frugal to the core revenue supports staff salaries, training, and other costs
  • 10. Our Impact: Maria’s Story “ I am a very optimistic person, optimistic to the point where most think I’m a little crazy. Most of my acquaintances have a “glass-half-empty” approach to life, but I won’t change the way I am. Why? Because good things have happened when I was least expecting them. Like Samasource. It’s been several months since I started working with Samasource as a virtual assistant. Seeing the work Samasource is doing for people in countries like Kenya and Pakistan has been a source of inspiration. Speaking as a citizen of Pakistan, there is huge scope and potential for an organization like Samasource. Maria Umar Islamabad, Pakistan Founder, Pakistan Women’s Pakistan is a strong patriarchal society with little distinction between culture and Computer Collective religion with women on the losing end. Though most women are denied the opportunity for education, some, like me, are able to attain degrees. To be educated and unable to use that education is stifling. Samasource offers to women a way out as a balance between conforming to cultural norms and utilizing skills whether it be writing, programming or web development. It gives an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to step forward and start their own companies from their homes and find work through Samasource. Being an entrepreneur is about dreaming and having the courage to try and make that dream into reality. Samasource has renewed my belief in people. It takes a whole lot of darkness to make it dark but only a small flicker of light to cut through it. That’s what Samasource means to me and other women in Pakistan; it’s our own ” ray of light, our way of escaping the claustrophobic environment surrounding us.
  • 11. Our Impact: Mugure’s Story “ I am 39 years old and married to an Architect, named Edward Mugo. We have been married for close to eleven years and have 3 daughters, aged five, three and one and a half. I began my career working for a number of companies here in Kenya, mostly in marketing positions. My last employed position was as Marketing Manager for a large firm based in Nairobi, a position I held until 1998, when I lost the job through retrenchment. Towards the end of 2001, I attended a conference here in Nairobi, sponsored by the UN. Panelists discussed the need for African countries to move away from traditional exports and look for new opportunities, particularly those brought about by new technology. Kenya has a vast pool of well-educated, English-speaking professionals and I thought we could take advantage of Internet technology to competitively market professional services to developed economies. In April 2002, I developed a business called Preciss to provide back-office services to overseas companies. I promptly began marketing our first service offering, online internet research, to companies based in USA and UK. By August, I had bagged my first client, and had made a small amount of money. At this point, Preciss was a two-person operation – with me playing the marketing role and my employee, a young female college graduate, doing the actual research work. We worked out of a converted 2-bedroom apartment which served as an office for Preciss and one other company, to whom I had sublet one bedroom. In January 2003, things began to slow down as I was now expecting my first child. Throughout my pregnancy and for six months Mugure Mugo after my daughter was born, business came to a complete standstill as I was unable to engage in productive work. I however Nairobi, Kenya kept the office and paid rent and monthly bills from my savings. I resumed active business in March 2004 having lost close to a year and a half, and continued offering online research. My first client was a US-based company that employed five new internet CEO, Preciss researchers. I then introduced transcription services in March 2005, and we began working for a large transcription company based in Maryland, USA. For this, we employed eight transcribers. In August 2005, we added captioning and subtitling services and began serving two large captioning houses in USA and UK. Last year, we discovered Samasource, a nonprofit in California that helps companies like ours market services in the US. Samasource has won us a large contract with a nonprofit in Palo Alto, digitizing books. We have now grown from a 2-person operation to a capacity of 80 employees as at May this year. Last year, we were able to receive our first round of funding from a local investment fund, and this will enable us to employ at least 200 workers in the next eighteen months. At a personal level, doing business as a wife and mother presents unique challenges as I have to find a balance between growing my business and my very real responsibilities at home. My five-year-old daughter constantly admonishes me to stay at home with her and her sisters, while she is happy to say goodbye to daddy every morning, because he is “going to work to make some money for us”. To be a successful entrepreneur requires focus, perseverance, persistence and a good amount of faith in one’s cause. ”
  • 12. Team Leila Chirayath Janah Jess McCarter CEO VP of Sales Visiting Scholar, Stanford University Founder. Sagebit Consultant, Katzenbach Partners Founder, RideBit World Bank Development Research Group Consultant, aSmallWorld.net BA, Harvard University (African BA, Dartmouth University Development Studies) Expertise: start-ups, 10 years in software Expertise: Outsourcing, social sales and development enterprise, development Alex Onsager Henry Thairu Kenya Program Advisor Tech Lead Deputy Vice Chancellor, Jomo Kenyatta Developer, Send Hotness and Graffiti University of Agriculture and Technology (leading Facebook applications) Chairman, Kenya Council of Science and Tech Co-founder, Demigo PhD, Norwegian University of Science and BS, Stanford Technology, Trondheim (Thermodynamics) Expertise: web application Expertise: Entrepreneurship, development, product management education, technology Advisory Board Premal Shah Darren Berkowitz Ken Banks President, Kiva Founder & CEO, DoMyStuff.com Developer of Frontline SMS Emeka Okafor Katherine Barr Mohamoud Jibrell Director, TED Global Partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures CIO, Ford Foundation
  • 13. Leila Chirayath Janah, CEO Leila founded Samasource in 2008 after nearly a decade of working to fight poverty in Africa. In less than a year and with minimal funding, she led a team of over 15 volunteers to source $150,000 in contracts for small firms in the poorest parts of the world. Through her work with Samasource, Leila has been invited to serve as a Social Enterprise Institute Fellow and a speaker at over 50 conferences on technology, development, and social entrepreneurship around the world. Leila is a founding director of Incentives for Global Health, an organization formed by Professors Thomas Pogge and Aidan Hollis and advised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen to develop new financing mechanisms for pharmaceutical R&D on diseases of the poor. She has served as a Visiting Scholar with the Stanford Program on Global Justice and a Visiting Researcher Leila Chirayath Janah at Australian National University’s Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Founder and CEO Ethics. Earlier in her career, Janah worked for Katzenbach Partners, a management consulting firm based in New York, and as a consultant to the World Bank, Ashoka, and Eco-Yoff, a small NGO in Senegal. As an undergraduate, she researched and wrote for the Let’s Go guidebook series in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Leila holds a BA in African Development Studies from Harvard University and a certificate in Community Development from Pontificate Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 14. Jess McCarter, Head of Sales Jess graduated from Dartmouth College in 1999 with a BA in Psychology and Minor in International Relations. He has long been interested in issues of fairness; this led him to Samasource after 10 years in the for-profit sector as a salesman, an entrepreneur and a project manager in the real estate and technology sectors. At Samasource, Jess is helping to address poverty by locating remote work for talented entrepreneurs all over the world. Starting in real estate, Jess managed the rehabilitation of aging properties in Southern California and Brooklyn, New York. Other projects included a high-end landscape art gallery which featured an art education program for K-6 students. After five successful years in real estate, he transitioned into technology. As the co-founder of Sagebit, LLC, a web application development firm specializing in open source technologies, Jess built up a a sales and consulting business. He helped guide product development both at his firm and for clients. He also project managed large scale technology implementations with teams located around the globe. Jess McCarter Head of Sales Jess is now working with the team at Samasource to build an international sales network. Reaching out to not for profits, educational institutions, government and private enterprise, he is driving new sales, forging creative alliances with providers to solve customer business problems and creating a team of dedicated project managers to keep the projects of existing customers on track. With providers, clients and projects around the world, the work is hectic and challenging but intensely fulfilling. Jess has always been a part of socially conscious organizations, from his days in high school with Amnesty International to his current work with Samasource. In addition to web application development and technology he really enjoys traveling to new parts of the world and learning about their culture and particularly their cuisines. As he builds his knowledge of the world he becomes more effective at finding clients, learning their needs and helping to source them innovative solutions from talented providers around the globe.