Ricoh and Save the Children Japan to Conduct Preparatory Survey for Educational Service Business for BOP in India

Tokyo, November 19, 2013 – Ricoh Company, Ltd. today announced a preparatory survey for an educational service business for people in the base of the economic pyramid (BOP*1)  in India in partnership with Save the Children Japan (SCJ). The idea was recently adopted as a project for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Preparatory Survey for BOP Business Promotion*2. Ricoh and SCJ will undertake the survey in Delhi and the states of Bihar and Andhra Pradesh for two years.

This survey is for an educational service business that seeks to improve the quality of education for those categorized as being in the so-called BOP in India. Incorporating Ricoh projectors for showing audiovisual multimedia, it aims to provide education systems  that are easy for children to understand and for teachers to implement. For the two years, the project team will conduct market research and other surveys for product development in collaboration with Ricoh India Ltd., Ricoh’s local sales subsidiary. It will conduct a survey to understand the needs of education professionals, including teacher training, in collaboration with Save the Children India, which maintains solid networks with local education departments, schools and communities. It will also develop educational materials and implement some on a trial basis at the school level.

India’s education for those belonging to the BOP layer currently faces numerous challenges:
(i) infrastructure and learning environment, (ii) quality of education (given that rote learning and examinations are the mainstream practice), (iii) teacher training systems and services, (iv) level of achievement due to educational quality and (v) cultural and social circumstances facing children that are unique to India, such as caste, sexual discrimination, corporal punishment, child labor and early marriage.
Based on the collaborative surveys and trial activities, Ricoh and SCJ will aim to help solve these problems with the use of Ricoh products and other resources, and to offer multi-industrial and transnational educational solutions, collectively named the Education Ecosystem*3, utilizing the expertise of different businesses and organizations, such as technologies, content, methodology and characters.

Providing society with new value to facilitate sustainable development and resolving social issues is not only a corporate responsibility, but also a market need. Ricoh strives to become a company that grows with society with a view toward realizing a sustainable society. SCJ will, through collaboration with businesses like this, aim to conduct enhanced support projects in the best interests of children who belong to the BOP layer.

*1: BOP:
Base of the pyramid: This refers to an impoverished population living on less than $3,000 per year. BOP business refers to business that can help remedy issues facing the poor and those left out of the development process in developing countries.

*2: JICA Preparatory Survey for BOP Business Promotion:
Based on independent proposals from the private sector, this project aims to develop business models for BOP businesses that help resolve development problems and to explore the possibility of cooperative projects with JICA. Recently, 11 survey projects were selected from the 65 proposals submitted.

*3: Ecosystem:
This refers to a system under which a number of companies work together in product development and other business activities, and broadly seek mutual existence and prosperity by utilizing their technologies and capital beyond industrial and national boundaries.