Hong Kong and India | 26 Feb - 9 Mar 2018

work-integrated job training
Labour Net

In our first programme of 2018, GIFT's Global Leaders Programme (GLP) brought together leaders from Asia, Middle East and South America to work with LabourNet, one of India's largest social enterprises dedicated to providing skills training for informal workers across India. The group of global executives developed strategic recommendations and a business model to support LabourNet's  vision to skill and enable livelihoods of people in urban and rural India.



Genuine. Insightful. Fulfilling. Thought-provoking. The GLP dared to challenge the norms and introduced us to novel ways of looking at the emerging global order.

Jason Low, Senior Vice President / Senior Investment Strategist, DBS Bank


The GLP allowed me to expand my boundaries through experiencing a new culture with a group of diverse individuals from unique backgrounds. Even in such a diverse environment it was possible to produce an outstanding result because everyone had the same goal. The learning methodology is so original and deep that I was thoroughly immersed in this program and will bring the learnings with me for life.

Cristiano Blanez Dos Santos, Public Solution Manager, NEC Latin America


The Global Leadership Program conducted by GIFT helped me in integrating the Asian worldview, in addition to enforcing the critical aspects for personal development and honing my strategic business skills.

Priti Singh, Vice President, Head Human Resources, South Asia, MasterCard

Distinguished Guest Speakers


Member of the Board of Directors


Founder and Chair
Shanxi Puhan Cooperative


DHL International (Asia Pacific)


Asia News Editor
Financial Times


India in context

In the coming decade, India is poised to become the most populated country in the world with more than half of its population of 1.3 billion younger than 25. The country faces a significant challenge of harnessing this generation as a productive work force. 

Skill development and an employment-ready workforce is critical for India’s economic growth and social development, but with only about 5% of India’s workforce having undergone any form of skills training, the country faces a dual challenge – severe shortage of highly-trained labour as well as the non-employability of large sections of the educated workforce that possess little or no job skills. 


The Indian government has made skill development one of its main policy priorities and has created a positive ecosystem for skill development. LabourNet is well-placed to take advantage of the beneficial policy environment to increase its outreach. 

Since inception, LabourNet has impacted the livelihoods of 550,000 people across 25 states and over 20 sectors, including construction, beauty and wellness, leather, agriculture and automotive industries. It has established strong relationships with the government and partner corporations, receiving government and CSR funding to develop and implement its training programmes and skill development centres.

Despite these accomplishments, LabourNet recognises the potential to further expand its impact. For this to happen, the social enterprise has to leverage its core expertise in skill development and its strong network to explore new product offerings and revenue streams. Reducing the dependence on government and CSR funding and exploring alternate income streams through complementary businesses will allow LabourNet to further its impact and improve the livelihoods of more people.

With this in mind, participants arrived in India ready to discover and propose recommendations to assist LabourNet to become a more commercially viable organisation and increase its outreach to India’s unskilled workforce.

Participants travelled to Bangalore and Mysore to visit LabourNet's training centres and meet different stakeholders. These included current and graduated students of LabourNet's training programmes, beauty-entrepreneurs, local community and households.

Dr. Gayathru Vasudevan, CEO of LabourNet, shared her vision for the organisation with participants in Bangalore.

Participants travelled to Hoskote to meet local "beautypreneuers", graduates of LabourNet's beauty and entrepreneurship skilling programmes to learn more about their aspirations and challenges they face.

Participants met with students and trainers at SKF Centre in Bangalore, one of LabourNet's CSR-funded skill development centres for the automotive industry.

In addition to their desire to learn new skills to contribute to household income, students also shared their personal challenges of getting fair loans, and saving money for their children's education and to weather bad times.

developing the new business model


LabourNet's Current Business Model & Challenges

LabourNet focuses on providing varied training programmes for different individuals across a wide range of sectors. With the support from enabling government policies, it has established strong relationships with the government and partner corporations, receiving government and CSR funding to develop and implement its training programmes and skill development centres.

Currently, a significant portion of LabourNet’s revenue comes from CSR and government funding. Income-generating activities enhance financial sustainability by reducing dependence on the generosity of donors or budgets of grant-giving foundations, CSR programmes and government agencies. These types of subsidies are difficult to guarantee indefinitely and limit the ability of LabourNet to expand beyond the sectors or projects that donors consider important.

Reducing the dependence on government and CSR funding and exploring alternate revenue streams through complementary businesses will allow LabourNet to further its impact and improve the livelihoods of more people.

Proposed Business Model


The proposed Business Model recommends expanding LabourNet’s current business model while exploring new revenue streams. LabourNet Holding Company is proposed to be set up to manage two new subsidiary companies with different business focuses, LabourNet and LabourGift.


LabourNet focuses on the company's existing business of skilling and job placements and consists of three business units, LabourFranchise, LabourSkills and LabourJobs, with the goal of expanding the outreach of its skill development programmes and to offer advanced level training to support upskilling. 

LabourGift is a new company set up to manage, administer and grow the services of LabourBiz, LabourSave and LabourFoods. These new business streams focus on livelihood enablement through facilitating micro-lending and savings schemes for individuals who currently lack access, and to support the health and well-being of farmers through training them to grow safer and higher-value produce for the market.

A LabourNet Mobile App will be developed as a one-stop shop that aims to spread LabourNet’s educational content to the untapped labour market and accelerate the reach of LabourGift’s new offerings. LabourNet will partner with a Telecommunications Company (Telco) to pre-load the app into sim cards sold by the Telco so training content and LabourGift products can be shared easily with mobile users.


Financial Projections

LabourNet’s social business presents an opportunity for investors, who wish to create significant social impact on upskilling and employment in India. The financial projects show that profits will be recorded from Year 3 onwards and more than double by Year 5 due to the expansion of the current services and the introduction of new services.


new models for skill development in india

The Global Leaders Programme culminated with a public forum in Bangalore, during which participants presented the highlights of their business model to the project partners and to an audience of local community, business leaders, government officials and university students.

A panel of distinguished speakers were invited to then share their thoughts with the audience on how social projects can be made sustainable, create the impact that is sought and provide the required returns to funders and investors . The panelists included:

  • Gayathri Vasudevan, CEO of LabourNet

  • Nagaraja Prakasam, full time angel investor and Partner at Acumen

  • Amit Garg, Senior Manager - Sustainability at Godrej Industries Group

  • Wilma Rodrigues, Founder of Saahas Zero Waste

For more information about the 2018 India Global Leaders Programme, or about the Global Leaders Programme in general,
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