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  • Writer's pictureMark Crocker

The Entrepreneurial Leader - Devesh Bharadwaj

Leadership is something Devesh learnt early on from his parents who taught him to create an impact to make a positive difference in people’s lives. His family’s default position on leadership was to go beyond just charity but help society in general and that is what he has imbibed in his work.

Devesh Bharadwaj. Winner of the 2020 VCLA in Innovative Science & Technology sponsored by The Victoria Foundation

Hailing from New Delhi, the capital of India, Devesh came to Victoria as an 18-year old undergrad student to the University of Victoria.The global issue of fresh water shortage impacted him greatly due to his exposure to the issue directly while living in India. Once he completed his engineering degree, he decided to pursue his dream of making the access to water both cheaper and more sustainable.

Devesh is an entrepreneur, engineer, and the CEO of Pani Energy – an award-winning tech company based in Victoria that provides digital solutions to make clean water cheaper and more sustainable to produce.His startup boldly embarked on finding ways to take action and make the dreams a reality keeping in line with his leadership ideals. His organization started to create and update the technologies used by water treatment plants and introduce AI to them as a way to decrease cost and offset carbon emissions.

In the short time he has lived in the area, Devesh has been recognized as Douglas Magazine's “10 to Watch” for his leadership and achievements in the local and international tech scene. He was also tapped as “the future of British Columbia” by leaders at all of the province’s biggest universities.

you have to be a little naive ... or at least have a lot of faith in yourself

Devesh believes his leadership style emanates from being emotionally invested in the problem at hand and that trust plays a key role in a company like his that is expanding so fast. He leads by example and has fostered a corporate culture that is both motivated and driven by curiosity to solve problems that have a positive impact on our community – and beyond.

"Fall in love with the problem more than the solution"

To Devesh, community leadership is less about finding a problem to be solved. He also acknowledges that the solutions are all around us. The important thing is communicating well enough to getting people to join the movement to solve that problem. He credits his success to his extreme persistence and long days. Most of all, he relies on his team and puts this into practice by surrounding himself with talented people and mentors.

He advises future leaders to be bold and persistent in the search for mentors and to stay open to feedback and strive for continuous improvement. He sees hope for societal change through innovation and technology and urges tomorrow’s leaders to identify a problem and fall in love with it till they can solve it.

To him, the hallmark of a true leader is to be able to share the passion with people around him and be always learning, making the journey from being mentored to mentoring others. Devesh is passionate about his team and shares this award with all the people that he is fortunate to lead at Pani Energy.

You can find more about Devesh’s work at


By Chandrima Mazumdar, I write on topics related to leadership, diversity, media and gender equality.

We extend our appreciation to the Victoria Foundation as signature sponsor for the 2020 VCLAs

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