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Lo-Tech with Big Social Impact

September 2, 2013

The media world is obsessed with high tech powered innovation, but this isn’t the only way to innovate.

One great example is Fresh Paper; think of it a drier sheet to key fruit and vegetables fresher. It came out of science project, Kavita (the founder) did at middle school, where she found her Indian grandmother’s spices originally used in a tea to prevent sickness from drinking tap water, inhibited bacterial growth on strawberries and she patented her invention.

The idea wasn’t commercialized until 2011, when Kavita started selling the paper in co-ops and farmers markets.

What happened to Fresh Paper in 2012 is a lesson on how fast a small entrepreneur with a great idea can get the word out these days. In 2012, she put together a vision for the social enterprise and then set out to tell people about it.

Her first destination was TED in Manhattan, which rocketed the company to almost instant fame, the 4 minute TED talk led to meetings with Sir Richard Branson, lectures at Harvard, features in Oprah Magazine and orders from Whole Foods.

Fresh Paper isn’t your typical business; it’s a smart solution to the huge global problem of food wastage- approx. 25% of the world’s food supply ends up as waste. Also, like Tom’s and Warby Parker, there’s a give back model- for every pack of sheets purchased, a pack gets donated to a local food bank. Most recently, Fresh Paper has been working with communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The company is a great example of a the new type of social business that places a focus on helping to be part of the solution to a global problem and giving back at the same time. However, what’s most interesting about Fresh Paper is how that problem is solved with lo-tech.

Fresh Paper was the recent winner in the home category at the Index Awards (for design that improves life)  

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