2020 40 Under 40 Honoree: Bhavini Patel
“This gives people a voice, but it also gives us an opportunity to make sustainable, systemic policy change."
When she ran for Allegheny County Council in 2019, Bhavini Patel spent a lot of time knocking on doors. She wanted to introduce herself and her agenda, of course, but she also hoped to underscore her genuine interest in would-be constituents’ stories.
She ended up losing the race, but those conversations inspired a winning idea — an app that offers users a direct line to their elected public officials.
Be the Change, a product of Patel’s civic tech company beamdata, allows conversations that started with canvassing to continue once the election is over.
The app launched in August with State Sen. Jay Costa serving as the test case. In the future, Patel envisions using the location-based data to shape policy and nonprofit funding to help fill societal gaps.
“This gives people a voice,” she says, “but it also gives us an opportunity to make sustainable, systemic policy change.”