Young Entrepreneurs Awards Finalist: Kuldeep Dantewadia
Initiative: Reap Benefit
Country of impact: India
A ‘profit–non-profit’ hybrid using technology to build a generation of young problem solvers tackling water and sanitation issues.
Despite millions being spent in Indian cities to tackle waste, water shortage and sanitation issues, sustainable water solutions are not widespread. Kuldeep Dantewadia believed that young people’s ideas and energy could do what local governments couldn’t. So he built a tech platform called Reap Benefit and started working with young people through schools to find the answers.
Smart, fresh solutions
The approach has resulted in some innovative and practical ideas. For example, one young person trained by Reap Benefit visited a government school in his community and found their bathrooms to be so poor and smelly that students preferred to go outside in the open instead.
When an affordable solution couldn’t be found, he and his friends came up with the idea of a low-cost waterless urinal. They developed and installed it and the design can now be found in schools all over the province.
The friends are now what Kuldeep calls ‘solvers for life’ and can continue to engage with their communities and benefit from mentorship. Through their work, the platform is also a powerful data collector, data which is then ploughed back into informing new solutions.
To date Reap Benefit has worked with over 15,000 young people, diverting 270 tonnes of waste from landfill, saving 19 million litres of water and 1,450 kilo units of electricity, and developing six low-cost solutions.
A 'Solve Squad' for the future
Over half of India’s population is under the age of 25 and by 2020, India is expected to be the youngest country on our planet. Kuldeep and his co-founder Gautam Prakash see Reap Benefit as having the potential to play a big role in giving those young people the skills and confidence to become the civic entrepreneurs of the future.
Reap Benefit’s goal is to have 1 million ‘Solve Squad’ members by 2022, a ‘Solver Van’ filled with tech, tools and mentors and an improved ‘Solver Squad’ app; to expand their revenue-generating data service; and to integrate their approach with school and college curriculums.