Kemal Rifky

IGNITE Speaker | Executive Director of

  • Title IGNITE Speaker | Executive Director of
  • Education Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Originally from Jakarta, Indonesia, Kemal Rifky is a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Class of 2024, where his studies in Mechanical Engineering and International and Global Studies have fused his passion for sustainable technology and community development.

His journey into entrepreneurship began during a casual visit to Mr. Sumarna’s fish farm in West Java, Indonesia, adjacent to his grandfather’s house. The sound of rushing water from an overflowing irrigation canal inspired an idea – could this excess water be harnessed for electricity? That simple question was the seed that germinated into 360energy, a venture committed to empowering rural Southeast Asia with affordable and clean energy.

The venture started with a straightforward concept: small-scale hydroelectric power plants built with local manufacturing to reduce costs. But the mission became more than just providing electricity; it was about understanding the unique needs of communities like Sumarna’s. When he proposed the idea of electrifying his home, Sumarna suggested a different use – powering aerators to increase fish production in his farm, thereby enabling sustainable business growth.

That pivotal moment was a reminder that successful innovation goes beyond technical acuity; it relies heavily on empathy and understanding the real needs of the people we serve. It propelled forward with a vision not just to electrify, but to truly empower.

Beyond the inception and growth of 360energy, Kemal is also involved in fostering community engagement within the student body. He is a co-Philantropy Chair for Sigma Pi Gamma Iota Fraternity and the President of the Association of Indonesian Students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and formerly the Director of Fundraising for the Indonesian Students Association of Massachusetts (PERMIAS MA). His role in these organizations taught me the importance of community and has offered him invaluable insights into fundraising and leadership.

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