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Subham Kedia: Empowering Marginalized Rural Artisans in South Asia

Subham Kedia: Empowering Marginalized Rural Artisans in South Asia


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here with the scoop on the changemaking leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Subham Kedia, the co-founder of Alokya. Let’s learn what’s happening at Alokya and how Subham is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Subham! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through Alokya?

Subham: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Alokya addresses the challenge of providing sustainable and culturally authentic household goods by partnering with rural artisans in South Asia. These artisans handcraft products using eco-friendly materials, showcasing the region's rich cultural heritage. By doing so, Alokya not only supports rural communities and preserves traditional craftsmanship, but also contributes to environmental preservation by minimizing its ecological footprint.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Subham: My motivation is driven by a strong commitment to creating positive social and environmental impact. I am passionate about making a difference in the world by addressing pressing issues such as poverty alleviation, community empowerment, and environmental sustainability. By focusing on initiatives that promote social and environmental well-being, I strive to contribute to a more equitable, sustainable, and thriving future for all.

Spiffy: Awesome! What would you say is the impact of your work?

Subham: Alokya's initiatives empower marginalized rural artisans by providing fair employment opportunities and preserving diverse cultural heritage through traditional art forms. By promoting sustainability with eco-friendly practices and providing market access, Alokya fosters community development, cultural preservation, environmental stewardship, and economic empowerment. This comprehensive approach results in improved livelihoods, enhanced cultural appreciation, reduced environmental impact, and strengthened local economies, contributing to a more equitable and sustainable future. 

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Subham: Winning the Penn Wharton Innovation Fund Implementation Award marks a pivotal milestone for Alokya, significantly broadening our impact in health, sustainability, artisan empowerment, and innovative design. This accolade propels our mission, enhancing our product range's appeal and supporting global sustainability and cultural preservation efforts, as we blend traditional craftsmanship with contemporary functionality for a wider audience.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Subham—it’s been an honor!

Subham is a first-year Wharton MBA student who is building Alokya, a functional-art startup that collaborates with rural South Asian artisans to handcraft consumer-centric, premium products using sustainable materials. Before Wharton, Subham worked at McKinsey & Company as a management consultant for 3 years and at ConnectWise, a Thoma Bravo portfolio company, for 2 years. Subham holds a bachelors from IIT Kharagpur and a masters from Columbia University. (First published on the Ladderworks website on March 15, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2024 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.