To thy known self be true.


NOV ’18-JAN ’19

HomebyHome was my first exploration of entrepreneurship and product design thinking. The experience was profound - we were passionate, we were crazy, we were bold, we were young, naive, and idealistic in our ideas - as it should be. We didn’t win the main competition we applied to, but the process taught me so much and got me excited about entrepreneurship and real-world, impactful problem-solving.

Can you build the foundations of a venture that will provide meaningful work for 10,000 youth within the next decade?

Globally, youth (defined as ages 15-35) are 3x as likely as adults to be unemployed.1 1 in 5 youth globally are neither employed, engaged in formal education, or involved in training.2

HomebyHome is a design for a sustainable startup applied to the 2019 Hult Prize Challenge.

HomebyHome employs youth from slums in developing countries to construct easy-to-build modular houses in their local communities. These houses provide more stable shelter the housing in slums and are yet affordable for the population currently living in slums. Youth who have been trained in turn become trainers to new youth in their local community.

By combining the youth unemployment challenge with the housing challenge, we effectively address both. 

HomebyHome’s construction combines easy-to-learn modular building techniques from NGOs such as Habitat for Humanity with the power of mobilizing local community resources.
We and partnering NGOs teach building methods to local youth who in turn teach new cohorts. We employ the community we work for.

Lastly, cooperations with startups such as Conceptos Plasticos, who produce bricks from recycled materials, renders our house production inexpensive yet simple to build.

I lead a team of four students from Bulgaria, France, Germany, and Japan to tackle this challenge. Together, we applied to the Hult Prize at UCL and global wildcard contest. After extensive brainstorming and market research, we developed the concept for HomebyHome.

Why construction?

Construction stands out in its near-universal applicability and scalability at the intersection between the competences of youth and the opportunities for its application.

Accessible to all, construction does not require high education levels, is robust to full workplace automation, and is labour-intensive so that further economic growth employs more people proportionally than other sectors. 

Demonstrating steady relative employment growth, construction constitutes a considerable 8% of the total Indian employment pool (Amirapu and Subramanian, 2015). Moreover, construction industries are particularly effective in fostering youth employment as they tend to employ a higher share of youth (Corseuil et al., 2013). 

In turn, recent McKinsey Global Institute reports suggest the lack of "investment in infrastructure and housing construction” as itself an obstacle to employing “low-skill workers”.

1 International Labor Organization (2017).
2 World Economic Forum (2018).