To Inspire. To Be Inspired. – 30 Stories on HKUST Faculty, Alumni and Students

69 The COVID-19 pandemic brought uncertainty to many industries, but Anushka Purohit realized it could also herald a chance for positive change. On her 10th birthday, after a long day of activities, Anushka Purohit was feeling happy and hungry. She stopped into a coffee shop for a delicious treat and, while waiting to place her order, watched as a barista took sandwiches and baked goods from the fridge and stuffed them into a black trash bag. “Are they still edible?” Anushka asked. The barista nodded. They were perfectly fine — just unsold. Anushka was shocked. Even more so when she extrapolated that this type of food wastage must be happening daily, in thousands of businesses across Hong Kong, and probably millions more across the world. Surely there’s something it can be used for? she thought. And so, the seed of an idea that would one day grow into an award-winning start-up was planted. Growing up in Hong Kong, Anushka considered studying law and business before finally settling on engineering at HKUST. She was the only person in her year in her school to choose this path, but her mother, an English teacher, encouraged her to follow her all-encompassing love of science. Anushka knew from the beginning it wouldn’t be an easy ride, but she was undeterred. In just a few short years, when she was barely into her twenties, Anushka was already a C-suite leader. The ambitious electronic and computer engineering student had found her stride as a prolific innovator, and she soon added sustainability activist and entrepreneur to her CV, all before she’d even graduated from HKUST.