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1M1B - Making underprivileged youth career-ready with future skills

1M1B Future Skills student

1M1B or 1 Million for 1 Billion is a social innovation and future skills initiative aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that empowers communities through skills accelerator programs, future leaders curriculum and village fellowships. 1M1B is a United Nations accredited 501c3 non-profit organization with special consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and association with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI).

The Birth of 1M1B

Manav Subodh, Co-Founder 1M1B, was possessed with the idea of empowering a million young people to solve unique issues in their villages and driving people out of poverty. He dreamt of creating 1 million entrepreneurs to drive 1 billion people out of poverty and quit his job at Intel to work towards realizing his dreams.

In the last 2 years, in India alone, 1M1B has activated 150 young leaders, created more than 90 micro-entrepreneurs, generated 180 jobs, enhanced income of 468 people by over 40% and connected 17 startups to several villages. Manav informs “1M1B’s programs and initiatives are based on 3 beliefs. First, we believe that young people staying in underserved areas can get jobs, not by playing catch up but by getting trained on future skills like AI. 1M1B’s Skills Accelerators in India, Vietnam and the USA are preparing thousands of young people and inner-city kids to get ready for jobs of the future.

Over 50% of these young people get jobs and around 15% of them turn entrepreneurs. Second, we believe that youth anywhere in the world can be activated to create a meaningful impact in their communities. They don’t have to wait. 1M1B’s Future Leaders program in India and Singapore, prepares youth to become bold, human-centred leaders who value morals and ethics more than business and profits. And third, we believe that quality healthcare, good education and safe drinking water should not be restricted to just people staying in the big cities, it can and should be made available to people staying in the villages as well. Through the Startup Gurukool fellowship, 1M1B engages urban young leaders and entrepreneurs to take innovations to the grassroots by co-creating the last mile business model with people at the bottom of the pyramid”.

1M1B Skills Accelerator in an Indian village

The Genesis of the Skills Accelerator Program

In 2016, under the UC Berkeley’s Smart Village initiative, 1M1B created a Smart Village Accelerator in Mori, a village in the East Godavari region of the State of Andhra Pradesh, India. In just three months, seven entrepreneurs graduated and 16 new jobs were created in the village. In 2017, this project was replicated as 1M1B Skills Accelerator in four Indian States in partnership with Social Alpha, Tata Trusts and DST, Govt. of India and within six months, they created 37 village entrepreneurs, got jobs for 43 young people and enhanced income of 177 people (mostly women) in the villages of India. The Skills Accelerator was expanded last year and taken to 25 locations across India with a special focus on AI. Manav shares “This year, we plan to launch the Skills Accelerators in the USA for inner-city kids with an objective to get them ready for future jobs. As part of this program, participants undergo 45 hours of classroom learning, 30 hours of field work and over 100 hours of online content is offered to them on AI”.

The IM1B Impact

1M1B started in October 2014 as a social entrepreneurship initiative for youth in cities and villages but soon realized that to create a larger, holistic and sustainable impact, they needed to do much more. Hence, two years ago, they pivoted to social innovation and future skills. Today, 1M1B grooms young leaders and empowers them to create impact in underserved communities.

As of now, 1M1B has activated over 150 young leaders who have impacted over 10,000 people. Impact includes creating micro-entrepreneurs at grassroots, enhancing income of people specially women in villages, reviving artisans by connecting them to markets, getting youth at risk ready for future jobs and empowering underserved communities through wellness, awareness and education initiatives.

1M1B Active Impact Summit, New York

Enabling international students in Indian villages and Indian students at the UN.

Through a fellowship, 1M1B engages urban young leaders to accelerate innovation and take it to the grassroots by co-creating the last mile implementation model with people at the bottom of the pyramid. Manav informs “We are inviting students of various international universities like Stanford and UC Berkeley students to Indian villages and giving them an opportunity to spend their summers in India. The session will help them to engage with community leaders and work on health-related programs in the villages surrounding Bhimavaram on the West Godavari region, in the State of Andhra Pradesh”.

In the past, 1M1B has done these sessions and given similar opportunities to many students in India. Through their Future Leaders program, 1M1B hones students to become human-centred leaders who value contribution, morals and ethics more than business and profits. Outstanding students are invited to showcase and present their work at the 1M1B Activate Impact Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York.  

Manav Subodh at the United Nations headquarters

Corporate support

IBM, eBay, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, UC Berkeley-Haas and Social Alpha (an initiative of Tata Trusts) support 1M1B programs. eBay is contributing to revive Kalamkari artisans from Machilipatnam and Pedhna districts in Andhra Pradesh. Manav says “1M1B works to protect Kalamkari, one of the most ancient textile dyeing forms, from becoming extinct. Manav informs “We support these skilled artisans and try our bit to save this art form and also protect over 120,00 families from losing their livelihood”.

“Thanks to some corporate support, we have been able to work in different areas, for instance, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail (ABFR) helped establish a Skills Accelerator in Sollepura, State of Tamil Nadu. 150 youth from neighboring villages are being given training on future skills and AI, and they will then be given job opportunities in places closer to their homes, thus eliminating the compulsion to migrate to big cities”.

Manav says, “We wish to partner with corporates and reach out to as many people as possible to ensure that unemployment, globally, is a thing of the past. We aspire to inspire and empower as many young adults as possible and create a world where basic wants and needs are fulfilled not just of a privileged few but are within the reach of everybody.”

Images Courtesy : Manav Subodh