Today we are having Ms. Sarah Krasley with us, a fearless entrepreneur who serves as the Founder and CEO of Shimmy Technologies. Sarah shares her insights, visions and the passion which leads her to help thousands of women workers who works in RMG sectors in different corner of the World.
Sarah holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree from Pratt Institute and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of San Francisco. In 2015, she became a member of the adjunct faculty at New York University ITP. Additionally, she actively contributes to various important initiatives, including serving on the World Economic Forum Taskforce for Reskilling Workers, the Urban Manufacturing Alliance’s Industry & Inclusion Advisory Board, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Technical Advisory Committee. In her personal life, she finds joy in her connection to Brooklyn, the thrill of swimming in captivating locations, the allure of enticing scents, and sharing hearty laughter.
Bangladesh Textile Journal recently engaged in a conversation with her, delving into her perspective and wisdom as the CEO of Shimmy Technologies. This New York-based Ed-tech organization is dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of numerous female garment workers in Bangladesh, and the interview sought to gain deeper insights into her vision for this transformative initiative.
History and Inspiration behind Shimmy Technologies:
Shimmy Technologies was born from a deep-rooted commitment to support Industry 4.0 by helping to bridge the skills gap and help workers advance their technical abilities.
Intent on making a tangible impact, Shimmy Technologies develops mobile and tablet-based gamified learning that trains workers more quickly and cost-effectively than conventional methods. The ultimate goal is to equip workers with practical, just-in-time technical skills that help the industry produce more value-added products and see ROI from advanced machines faster.
Necessity of Service and Training Process:
In Bangladesh, Shimmy’s service is indispensable in addressing the evolving demands of the Ready-Made Garment (RMG) industry. This sector is a cornerstone of the nation’s economy and workforce. Shimmy’s comprehensive training process combines engaging video game-based modules with practical, hands-on training. This dual approach ensures that workers develop not only essential technical skills but also a deep understanding of real-world industry practices.
For the last three years, Shimmy has been measuring the growth of automation in the Bangladeshi RMG sector meticulously so the company can produce machine lesson packs aligned with the machines factory owners are purchasing in the near future.
Benefits of Training Module Completion:
Upon completing Shimmy’s training module, individuals experience a range of transformative benefits. They gain improved technical skills and heightened industry awareness, leading to enhanced efficiency, productivity, and job performance. Additionally, the training empowers workers to adapt to technological advancements and fosters a sense of confidence, thereby contributing to personal growth and upward mobility.
As we know that, the number of women workers in the industry dropped in last few years, and we believe our comprehensive training process encourages these women workers. Many are not familiar with digital devices and we aim to increase their confidence to improve overall digital literacy as well as their interest in running machines with the digital control screens most new machines have.
Choice of Bangladesh and Experience:
The decision to work in Bangladesh is rooted in the country’s thriving RMG industry and the appetite for innovation. I’ve been coming to Bangladesh for 10 years now and I’ve witnessed phenomenal growth and transformation. My experience in Bangladesh has not always been easy, but has always been enlightening and characteristic of the dedication, resilience, and innate talents of RMG entrepreneurs, who like me had the gumption and tenacity to start a company in this sector.
Strengths Seen in Bangladesh and RMG Industry:
Shimmy is a global start-up, but our largest team is based in Dhaka. Within Bangladesh’s RMG industry, Shimmy has encountered a workforce characterized by remarkable adaptability and a strong work ethic. Workers trained through Shimmy’s program showcase a notable willingness to embrace new skills and approaches. It seems as though scalable training is needed, as the industry revolutionizes and moves to new product categories and shows the world how to take sustainability seriously.
Recent Business Volume with Bangladesh:
To date, Shimmy has implemented training in 12 RMG factories and 2 technical training centers through contracts with The Laudes Foundation, H&M Foundation, Zalando, and VF Foundation. In response to a tightening job market, we began testing our solution’s effectiveness for unemployed workers, reaching 650 unemployed women. Despite a precarious hiring environment throughout Bangladesh’s RMG sector, 24% were hired within two months of training with Upskill, and 47% of those surveyed were hired within six months.
Currently, we measure our product’s impact on garment workers’ perception of automation, confidence in their digital skills, increases in wages, employability, and promotions to more advanced roles.
Of the over 4,000 workers we’ve trained, nearly all (99%) reported that afterwards they felt more confident in their technical and digital skills. This has led to feedback from factory supervisors that the workers take more initiative to problem-solve and improve production efficiency after training with Shimmy.
Aside from performance improvements, we have also noticed an impact on retention, promotions, and employability. Amongst a sample size of 538 workers trained between 2021 and 2022, 91% were still employed at their factory in August 2022.
Obstacles in the Training Process:
While Shimmy’s training approach has yielded substantial success, certain challenges have been identified. With any new innovation, much work must be done to change hearts and minds. Innovative factory owners understand the value proposition right away, but others see the digital approach as a disruptor to their traditional approach rather than a cost-saver that can complement and accelerate existing training efforts.
Future Road Map for Bangladesh:
Looking ahead, Shimmy envisions a transformative journey for Bangladesh’s workforce. The goal is to provide advanced technical training to a significant number of individuals, empowering them to adopt future automation technologies seamlessly. The focus is not only on equipping RMG workers but also workers in other industries as we know that Bangladesh is experiencing multi-sector growth. We want to do whatever we can to help scale training so workers have the necessary skills to support Bangladesh’s global competitiveness further.
Advice for the Bangladesh RMG Industry:
I firmly believe we all go faster if we work together. I see a lot of homegrown solutions in Bangladesh – some solve problems beautifully and some do not. Bangladesh is competing with other RMG producing countries and should be more open to global solutions that can increase competitiveness and help the industry ascend to the next tier.