Total loan: $10,100


Bago, Negros Occidental, Western Visayas, Philippines / Education

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A loan helped to pay for expansion of operations and staff enhancement training, and employ additional working capital.

Bagosphere's story

BagoSphere is a vocational training company that enables rural youth to gain quick access to gainful employment. BagoSphere provides a unique combination of communication, critical thinking, and life skills training, in just two months, to rural youth. With those skills, rural youth become skilled communicators, and they become highly desired by the call center industry in the Philippines.

With a success rate of 80 percent, BagoSphere’s program enables rural youth to experience a seamless transition from training to working in a multi-national company.

Rural youth form a large base of untapped talent in the Philippines. BagoSphere aims to unlock their talents, to boost the manpower supply for call centers and business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in Bacolod City, thereby fueling the growth of the industry. In turn, the call center jobs provide youth with incomes that are four times higher than unskilled work, enabling them to save toward pursuing their professional and personal development goals.

BagoSphere is the recipient of Singapore International Foundation’s Young Social Entrepreneurs Grant Program and an award winner of Start-up@Singapore’s Social Enterprise competition in 2012. BagoSphere was incubated by Social Venture Lab at the National University of Singapore (NUS). BagoSphere is also supported by Kickstart Ventures (a subsidiary of Globe Telecom), Co.Lab Xchange Incubator, the Small World Group Incubator (SWGI), Impact Investment Exchange (Asia), and the Bago City local government. In addition, it is a member of Innov8 Sparks, the network of technology startup support and funding initiatives founded by members of the SingTel Group.

BagoSphere seeks expansion capital. Being a pioneer in training out-of-school youth for business process outsourcing firms (BPOs) in rural Philippines, BagoSphere has developed a core set of tools, and experience in getting youth into call center jobs. Piloted in Negros Occidental by BagoSphere since 2011, BagoSphere's program has been able to consistently train out-of-school youth in two months to become call center agents, hired by top call centers in Bacolod City. BagoSphere’s partner employers include Teleperformance, Transcom, Teletech, Convergys and Panasiatic Solutions. BagoSphere has trained 103 out-of-school youth to date, and 85% of them found call center jobs within two months of graduation. Dedicated to the social cause of empowering youth with full-time employment, BagoSphere’s engagement with its students lasts beyond the training period. As a result, the long-term (over six months after graduation) employment rate is sustained at over 60%.

BagoSphere’s curriculum was developed with out-of-school youth employment in mind. This involves English communications, IT, financial literacy, and life skills. Already in its seventh iteration, BagoSphere’s curriculum features confidence building and value formation (e.g., professional work ethics, cultivating focus and discipline), integrated into everyday lessons. On the execution end, BagoSphere employs former call center trainers to deliver high-quality training. With a blended revenue model of tuition fees and placement fees, BagoSphere has been able to execute a model that is financially sustainable and helps BPOs save on recruitment costs. Out-of-school youth take a micro-finance loan from NWTF or from BagoSphere, in a "study-now-pay-later” scheme to finance their studies, while BPOs pay BagoSphere a placement fee for every hire.

Having worked with NWTF in 2013, BagoSphere believes that the two organizations' interests are closely aligned. NWTF’s special education loan enables BagoSphere to reduce its operational risk in debt collection, which is not the core strength of BagoSphere. At the same time, NWTF can leverage BagoSphere’s expertise in training youth, to decrease the risk of their educational loans.

The photo features BagoSphere's CEO, Zhihan, as well as other BagoSphere staff and students.