22-28 February 2013 #644

Crowd-sourcing in the cloud

Unique global communication project combines job-creation with commitment to the community
Sulaiman Daud

In a country where nearly half the population is unemployed, any new opportunity that creates jobs and stops Nepalis from being forced to migrate has to be welcomed. CloudFactory, a Kathmandu-based technology start-up company, is doing just that.

CloudFactory already employs 600 workers, most of them are college-aged along with 80 staff members, and it aims to hire 5,000 more by the end of the year. The company is based around the twin resources of crowd-sourcing and the Internet. The organisation sources for large-scale digital projects from across the globe, and then breaks them down into simple tasks that are then distributed to its pool of workers.

“We are thrilled to provide work opportunities for so many people in Nepal by the end of this year,” said Mark Sears, CEO of CloudFactory at a company event called ‘We LOVE Nepal’ at City Centre Mall last week. About 300 of his employees were treated to a free screening of Captain America to thank them for their hard work.

CloudFactory has a lot to celebrate. The company’s data entry services are in high demand and extra work has been coming in, including digitising receipts from the United States and collating medical records from Canada. With the extra workload, CloudFactory can therefore afford to hire 5,000 more people by the end of 2013.

But Sears doesn’t intend to stop there, his long-term goal is to ‘connect’ one million people in Nepal and other countries through the Net and generate income for people who could in turn do social service for their communities.

“There is so much potential in Nepal,” says Radhesh Pant, the CEO of the Nepal Investment Board who attended the event. “But someone needs to step up to make the most of it, and it starts with people like those in CloudFactory.”

HEADS IN THE CLOUDS: Team Leader Sushant Satyal and ‘Cloud Seeder’ Jyotshna Thapa are just two young Nepalis who work at CloudFactory. Satyal says: “I like the fact that CloudFactory encourages us to give back to society what society gave to us, whether it is by volunteering our time or by donating some of the money we earn.”
Sushant Satyal, a ‘cloud worker’ who joined the company when it only employed 30 workers, says the organisation encourages young people like him to perform community work as a way of giving back to society what society gave to them.

CloudFactory’s example is not just the usual corporate social responsibility, it hopes to integrate a sense of community in its workers, a new corporate model where its employees are not just workers, but also pillars of the community.

Sushant and others like him know the road ahead is not smooth, with power cuts and political disturbances, integrating their professional work at CloudFactory with community action will be difficult. But it is an example of the talent pool existing in Nepal, and an innovative way to create jobs and a sense of commitment to the community.


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