First Teen Entrepreneur Interview: Social Entrepreneur, Kiran Shridhar
Kiran Sridhar is a student in California who started Waste No Food when he was 13 years old. He is an inspiration to all and has made a difference in the lives of thousands! Please continue reading to learn about Kiran's story.
Alex Sahai: Thank you so much for agreeing to interview with me!
Kiran Sridhar (Founder of Waste No Food): You are very welcome.
AS: Kiran could you explain what your organization, Waste No Food, does and where you got the idea?
KS: Waste No Food tackles the problem of food waste in America. America wastes 40% of all food and much of that food waste is due to logistical challenges. Food donors that have excess food often don't know the charities in their area and whether they are able to take excess food. Charities don't know where excess food is and often lack the credentials to prove their legitimacy . Waste no food tackles these logistical challenges. We are a website where food donors can efficiently post food and charities can claim the food.
AS: How did you go about creating Waste No Food once you had the idea?
KS: Well we started out with just a few charities and a few restaurants that were supportive of the idea. We tried to figure out what their challenges were in donating food and used this to help develop a website. Afterwards, we did a lot of beta testing. We have a website which has been out for over a year and are working on iOS and Android apps.
AS: Did you approach potential food donors after you had proven your model?
KS: Well, we really looked to make a leveraged impact. Our platform does not require a lot of resources to scale up and we want to see it become a lot bigger. We talked to large-scale groups, such as Sodexo, the catering company and the National Restaurant Association to sign up members in large-scale.
AS: How many donors are there now?
KS: Right now, we have over 50 food donors, but we are rapidly expanding. We have donated about 100,000 meals.
AS: That is incredible! How long have you been working on Waste No Food?
KS: About 3-4 years, we officially incorporated as a nonprofit in 2011, in the summer between my 8th and 9th grade year.
AS: What would you say were the major challenges of Waste No Food and how did you deal with them?
KS: I'd say the biggest challenge is working with the right people. It was hard to find developers who were committed to working on the website and we had a few false starts. We also worked with some charities that were unreliable in picking up food. That really emphasized the importance of working with the right people.
AS: Would you say that building the right team is one of the most important things in your opinion when starting an organization?
KS: Definitely. You rely heavily on the expertise of others, so developing the right team is essential.
AS: What qualities does a great partner have?
KS: In general, they have to be committed to the project and be willing to be proactive; they should do things without anyone telling them. Of course, they have to have a good skill set, but being passionate is most important.
AS: What advice would you give to teenagers trying to create social ventures?
KS: To dream big, young people in particular, have so many tools, including technology, to make a huge impact on the world.
AS: What challenges did you encounter due to age, and conversely, what advantages did you have because of your age?
KS: A disadvantage is that you have less experience; this can be compensated with hiring advisors. A critical advantage is that you bring in a fresh perspective and have the energy to make things happen.
AS: Thank you for your time Kiran.
Please take a look at Waste No Food!
Or watch Kiran's video from CalCPA
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