Posted by Terrence Dalton
The Rotary Club of Akron had the pleasure of listening to Joe Knopp, innovator, giver, and problem solver during our Tuesday May 3, 2022 club meeting.  Like many college students, Joe goes to school fulltime, works 40-hours per week at his job, and is involved in campus activities.  What sets this Walsh University senior apart from his peers is that at the tender age of 20, he has already started three businesses and the third one, Ripple, is making a huge impact. 
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Ripple was born in November of 2020. Joe had been running a profitable company for the last 6 months but felt like he wasn’t making a real difference in the world, so he put a pause on the business and took a trip to Florida with about five books, trying to figure out what was missing. One of those books was Start Something That Matters. That book changed his perspective on business. Growing up, Joe stated that he could always remember his mom say “Eat your green beans and drink your water before you get up from the dinner table.” As that thought crossed his mind, he looked at his dorm roommate and asked him what he thought about solving the world water crisis. His roommate quickly responded with “You’re crazy, that’s not possible,” which only fueled Joe’s competitive side to prove him wrong.
After some research, Joe discovered that they could build a well for about eight to ten thousand dollars. What Joe and his roommate came up with was Ripple, a brand dedicated to serving others by leveraging high quality product lines to solve real world problems. They just happened to start by selling high quality water bottles to give every human being access to clean drinking water.
They call themselves Ripple because of the idea that their efforts in the United States will have the ripple effect to impact thousands of lives on the other side of the world, as every 1,000 ripple bottles sold builds a well!
Less than a year after learning how he could help alleviate the world water crisis and devising a plan to earn the funds needed to build his first water well, Knopp traveled to Africa.  He visited the Village of Katiiti in Uganda to see the impact of the water well firsthand and to visit five other sites set to receive a well.  The first well, is providing clean water to more than 2000 individuals and direct lines to two elementary schools. What is unique about the wells are that they are solar powered, extending the lifespan of the wells by a significant number of additional years.
Knopp invested his life’s savings, $14 thousand, to purchase two thousand water bottles – the number of bottles needed to build one well.  They arrived in March 2021 and occupied every inch of free space in their dorm room.  Joe said he needed more capital, so he entered Stark Tank, a business pitch competition modeled after the television show “Shark Tank,” and won $10 thousand.  He has also applied for a 501(c)(3) with the intention of building additional water wells.  With a tax-exempt status, he’ll be able to apply for grant funding to make clean water a reality in Uganda and other nations.
“Ripple has already been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” said Knopp.  “I wake up ready to take on the day and help give the gift of water to all.”
What is different about Ripple compared to other bottle companies?
What sets Ripple apart is their mission. They are not building a typical business --- They are building a brand of helping and impacting others. Their goal is to make a lasting impact on thousands of lives. “When you purchase a Ripple water bottle, you are purchasing a luxury water bottle that stands for change, kindness, and love for one another.”
How does Ripple help others?
They are a for-profit company with their own non-profit branch in order to build relationships and wells for the communities in need of water. Joe said they achieve their mission by raising funds through the sale of bottles. Ripple utilizes these funds by using their non-profit to reach out to contractors and communities to create sustainable wells that the communities will learn how to maintain and use for years to come. For every 2,000 Ripple water bottles sold, they build a well in a developing country.
Does Ripple partner with anyone?
Ripple is currently partnered with Skills Link Network, located in Kampala, Uganda. Skills Link Network is a nonprofit agency that provides 21st Century skills, entrepreneurial skills, monitoring, and networking, mainly for secondary school youth in Kampala and Wakiso districts. Their mission is to provide young people with regular coaching and progressive development assignments leading to impactful achievements that strengthen young people’s ability to lead better lives, improve their own and others’ livelihoods, and embrace global opportunities. They are Ripple’s on-the-ground liaisons who are coordinating Ripple’s international projects.
Ripple has some impressive long-term goals.  After hearing Joe’s presentation, there is little doubt about his future goals.
To learn more about Ripple and how to order one of their bottles to support their mission, check out their website at
Yours in Service -
Terry Dalton
Club Secretary | Scholarship Chair