Darien High student creates Wavve platform
Darien High School’s Riya Krishnan has created a platform that is among the first platforms committed to teen social innovation. Wavve is a nationally recognized social impact accelerator for teen entrepreneurs.
Krishnan, a senior in high school, has been working on the platform for two years and has been accelerating powerful ventures and aspiring teen social entrepreneurs. She further described the project, “At Wavve, we help launch, consult, and connect social enterprises founded by teens in underserved communities both in the U.S. and abroad and we do this by providing mentorship and providing a virtual online network.”
“Our portfolio currently includes over 16 ventures in 3D printing, period poverty, mental health and much more, and we’ve also cultivated a network of volunteer mentors which is 40 people and growing,” she said.
“Our goal is to broaden access to social impact to teens around the world, and give them the support system they need to create and learn about social impact,” she said.
On what inspired Krishnan, she said, “Maybe it’s because we’re digital natives, or that young people are often the first to recognize when systems are broken or outdated, but it’s without a question that teens today are more invested in global issues than ever before.”
After researching and debating social issues in school activities such as Model UN and out of school activities like Foreign Policy Coalition, she wanted to know if she could generate solutions for the issues at hand instead of just arguments. “Sure enough, our team came up with novel solutions to global problems from Domestic Violence to the Digital Divide,” Krishnan said.
They found out it wasn’t just their small group of 30 students, but teens all around the country, “especially under-resourced ones,” she said, that “face significant barriers to driving entrepreneurship social change beyond just activism- from lack of mentors to lack of understanding on how to fund their initiatives.”
The Wavve platform has three parts. Part of the platform is housed on Slack, which is how they conduct the peer mentorship via video call and disseminate their curriculum with the participants in their incubator. The other part is an online Facebook group where they post their opportunity board. Both parts of the platform were created by her team. The last part of the platform is their website, which is housed on WordPress (www.wavve.org), in which Krishnan taught herself Wordpress in order to build and design the website.
Krishnan’s work is not going unnoticed. This summer, she was able to pitch her work to panelists such as the global head of the International Baccalaureate program, and the president of American Federation of Teachers Union, of which she commented, “it was very valuable to hear their insight as leaders in the education space.”
Krishnan was the winner of the National Liberty Museum’s TD Bank Young Heroes Award, selected from among a large group of national and international nominations.
She also got to pitch Wavve at the Ann Taylor and Vital Voices HERLead Leadership Forum, saying it was great to be supported by an empowering community of women entrepreneurs. She further shared her accomplishments, “Over the course of the past two years, we have been able to partner with various nonprofit, business, and education institutions, such as the Next Gen Business Conference to get mentors, and curriculum consultants at the Cornell Women’s Entrepreneurship Lab to help us develop our curriculum.”
Krishnan’s biggest accomplishment though is the affect her platform has created. “The most rewarding part of the journey for me has been to see the ripple effect that Wavve has been able to have by investing in young changemakers.”