WRITTEN BY: PARINITA GUPTA
(July 19, 2023) Right out of college, Raju Reddy saw success in the US. He worked with big names like Intel and went further ahead, along with Sarath Sura, his classmate from BITS, Pilani, together founding Sierra Atlantic, a global business & IT services solutions provider. Despite his achievements in the US, he wanted to do something ‘in India, for India and with India’. That is when the Kakatiya Sandbox came into the picture. Tucked away in northern Andhra Pradesh’s Nizamabad, which is Raju’s hometown and home to his philanthropic venture.
“We have interacted with many non-profit organizations and have followed a bottom-up model for development which includes a great deal of participation from the communities. The idea is to use the principle of entrepreneurship to address social issues”, informed Raju.
Kakatiya Sandbox is an ecosystem, aimed at creating a long term social impact through agriculture, micro-entrepreneurship, and strengthening local ecosystems, by helping small entrepreneurs grow, in rural Telangana. The Sandbox creates an environment where people and communities can share, network, collaborate, and exchange positive growth ideas with one another.
“Our focus lies within compact geographic regions referred to as ‘Social Innovation Sandbox.’ These areas serve as living laboratories where a diverse range of entrepreneurs and development practitioners can test, refine, and sustain their ideas over a period of time,” explained Phanindra Sama, co-founder of the Kakatiya Sandbox, who also hails from Nizamabad.
In the year 2005, the first Sandbox was started in Hubballi, with the primary objective being to support mission-driven people to develop sustainable and scalable ideas having social and economic impact. Inspired by the success story of the Hubballi Sandbox, the model was replicated, giving rise to the Kakatiya Sandbox in Nizamabad, Telangana.
“We have interacted with many non-profit organizations and were very inspired by the work of Deshpande Foundation. The idea is to use the principle of entrepreneurship to address social issues,” Raju said.
Raju lives in Fremont, California, where he has set up his entire business. However, the Kakatiya Sandbox operates and is situated in Nizamabad. In recognition of his entrepreneurship and philanthropic endeavours, he was honoured with the prestigious Pratham USA ‘Glory of India’ award in November 2011.