Course: MSc Product Design & Management, 2007
Current role: Founder, PlusOne Initiative
PlusOne Initiative is a social initiative established in 2011 which makes school bags from non-recyclable materials. This demonstrates a unique way of promoting environmental protection to children, by repurposing hazardous environmental material.
PlusOne designs products from non-recyclable materials, such as promotional flex banners, which are made from a fibre reinforced plastic which is non-biodegradable.
Using the skills Amit acquired during his Masters in Product Design and Management at the University of Liverpool, he was able to transform his ideas into viable products. PlusOne makes school bags from non-recyclable materials and profits from the company are used to donate school bags to children from underprivileged backgrounds. This demonstrates a unique way of promoting environmental protection to children, by taking hazardous environmental material and using it in a more useful way.
“We start from looking at what is not recyclable and what is happening to it. We then use that to develop products that can be useful for rural communities,” says Amit. “We also involve the communities in developing the products. We are now exploring different mediums, not only fibre and plastic, but also synthetic leather, and we are creating products out of them.”
“My time studying in the UK helped me to step back and see a global picture of how you are applying your skills, and it gave me the first thought about establishing something in India. It became the catalyst for me to help my country,” he says.
Aside from a new perspective and fresh inspiration, Amit says studying in the UK gave him valuable insights into design management, thanks to the expertise and experience of his course professors.
“The biggest advantage was that my professors were professionals, so they used to come after work to teach us. The course gave me the professional knowledge and to how to think from an entrepreneurial point of view.
“My Master’s course was very unique which links design and economics and helped to shape my career by helping me to become a person who can work from idea to execution.”
The future looks bright for PlusONE, as the idea of upcycling has taken root within the communities Amit works with.
“We are getting a lot of people who are approaching us saying: ‘You know what? We have this waste. Can you help us upcycle it?’” he says.
Amit‘s creative venture has benefited more than 1,000 children. As a result, Amit is aiming to take steps to reduce the landfill space which is filled with 70% of non-recyclable products by giving a new lease on life for discarded material, while making a colourful impact on the society for a better tomorrow.
Amit has also been inspired to become a teacher himself, and he now uses his knowledge and experience to teach the next generation of entrepreneurs back in India.