Sustainability is one of the key factors of maintaining a good business, and this year’s HULT Prize challenges its participants to focus on such. Founded by HULT MBA Alumnus Ahmad Ashkar, the HULT Prize is the worldwide social entrepreneurship competition with a $1 million USD seed-capital money for the winning team. The task for the students this year is to efficiently harness the power energy in transforming the lives of people.
By pursuing large, untapped markets and tackling the greatest problems of humanity in the modern times, the HULT Prize aims to use these existing channels through profitability and sustainability. With rounds of elimination starting from the internal competition going to the regional competition, the teams who will be making it to the final round will be delivering their pitches in front of an international audience in New York.
London Campus (by Bea Yabut)
Held last December 2, the HULT Prize at the London Campus proved to be a worthwhile experience in innovating solutions for different markets. Out of the 23 student teams that participated this year, three went to the semifinals, namely Teams ENPOV, NEBULA, and 3NERGIA.
Team ENPOV, the winning team, pitched a two-part product and service solution to rural mobility and agricultural struggles. They have designed a hybrid electric tricycle that utilizes pedal power and is assisted by solar power. They will also be setting up a complimentary service which includes pedal powered milling stations that double as bicycle repair hubs. Hanny Semere from Team ENPOV said that they are planning to go to Ethiopia to launch their minimum viable product. They decided early on that they had to take feedback and criticism from so many different perspectives of their mentors, mostly HULT staffers such as Evangelos Markopoulos, Daniel Rukare, Eli Bohemond, Nikhilesh Sinha, and Ronan Gruenbaum.
What helped most of the teams were their classes at HULT—problem solving lessons and models were applied across the entire idea formulation and assessment process. Trevor Bauder of Team 3NERGIA, said that with the first idea that they had, they realized that the further they went along with it, the more complications they found. “[I]t was actually about probably three weeks ago when [we] actually came up with the idea, said Bauder. Their company product has to do with recycled shipping containers, refurbished solar panels, and batteries which allows them to convert the shipping container into a classroom that is self- sustains that generates its own energy.
Team NEBULA on the other hand was bent on using fog catchers to produce water for underdeveloped rural areas that don’t have easy access to water. A fog catcher is able to collect water out of fog and we feel that there are many mountainous areas next to oceans that contain massive amounts of fog. Nitin Gaba, one of its members, believed that they can turn these dry lands into farmlands just by stealing a bit of the sky and provide water for crops to grow and this is just the beginning of the potential of what we aim to achieve with our fog catchers.
The judges included Yoav Gross, Jonathan Crook, Marc Ortmans, Sabrina Palme, Andre Quintanilha, Eleonora Ferrero, Gareth Walsh, William Annandale, Rosemary Harper, Jonathan Munday, Nitin Sukh, Ajit Kumar, and Elena Mariotti. Said Ortmans, “[I]t’s worth noting that while that the motivation is initially for the prize, you’ll see people not just follow up with the online version but also just take the idea forward anyway of their own volition so they come on out and find funding.”
Boston Campus (by Reina Adriano)
Held last Saturday, December 2, the HULT Prize at the Boston Campus had 4 semi-finalists from the 19 teams that competed, namely Humane Energy, Ecolution, Aasha, and Amal-Ray of Hope. While Amal-Ray of Hope was convinced with lighting up lives where no one has by using Galvanic battery to illuminate LED using seawater electrolyte, Ecolution, on the other hand, focused on Nepal and its issues after the earthquake of 2013, specifically on food loss and wastage. While trying to find a viable solution they soon realized the problem was far more alarming when measured at a global scale. The team devised a refrigeration unit, called the Ecobox, that would run on off-grid electricity to provide preservation for fresh produce from the farm to the market.
Humane Energy bagged the runner-up, for being an energy company that makes use of urine as a power generation in diverse industries. Composed of Javette Nixon, Hector Manjarrez, Nick Hugo Plueschke, Saloni Kania, Human Energy’s social impact of their concept impressed their judges.
This year’s finalist of HULT Boston’s Internal HULT Prize Aasha (Hope) was dedicated to building a better world. With Nitin Sethi, Anurag Sarangi, Rijul Gautam, and Ishan Kankoner, Aasha is using virtual reality to address real problems to farmers in connection with the challenge by giving access to water resources and by utilizing OffGridBox and solar power.
The judges of the Boston campus were fascinated with the different pitches by the students. “Every adversity presents an opportunity,” exclaims one of the judges. They strongly recommended in the presentations that by starting with the main problem and the relevant solution, the next challengers may have stronger convictions in presenting their ideas. One piece of motivation the judges gave for the Boston campus: “This is not the end of your journey but only to beginning of it.”
San Francisco Campus (by Ivana Sinibaldi and Nga Ying Alberta Mok)
The winners from the San Francisco campus did not disappoint. From the 21 teams that participated, good responses about the competition were gathered. The finalists were The Multiverse, H2All (Winner), Infinaqua, Shield and Conexus. The teams focused on the critical issues in today’s world. H2All and Infinaqua proposed a user-friendly solution to purify contaminated water into drinking water. Shield and Conexus tackled the toilet situation in India by proposing toilet cubicles which limit the bacteria spread and transform human waste into bio-energy.
Team H2All bagged the prize last December 3, having developed a compact and user-friendly device to purify water that generates chlorine, a chemical which kills bacteria in drinking water. H2All also developed a toolkit and indicator to monitor the content of chlorine in water. “There is a lot of mixed feelings, when it comes to the presentations and seen everyone prepared and nervous,” exclaimed Anna Carolina, one of the finalist with their team Conexus.
After having won the Internals Competition for the HULT Prize, H2All will propose this idea to countries which do not have access to clean and drinkable water. To start with, it will contact the local water agency in India, Madagascar, Algeria, Senegal, and Colombia.
The judges were Carlos Baradello, Federico Baradello, Sheryle Bolton, Prince Ghuman, Kati Kallins, Ted Ladd, David Lehr, Isabelle Lescent-Giles, Avery Lyford, Annalisa Belliss, Ben Cooper, Gert Christen, Dave Epstein, Jorge Zavala, David Stephens, Muhammad Yunus, Ileana Facchini, Mitch Shapiro, Shahand Esmaeili, Olivier Kaeser, and AC Ross.
Dubai Campus (by Eesha Fantu and Brenda Raez Solari)
HULT Dubai’s Internal Competition for the HULT Prize took place last November 26. Amazing ideas striving to change the world were presented from the 45 students, from MIB, MBA and EMBA programs presented 8 teams, 3 of them dropped off before the competition, leaving 5 teams, Genr8, Piezo, Sundrop, Phoenix Solar Case Charger and LightWay presenting their ideas. HULT alumni from MIC, MBA and EMBA programs showed its Power for Good in this first Hult Prize 2018 selection round.
With the judges of varying expertise, the diversity of experience was shared by Andrea Skerritt, Deepak Rajgopaul, Derek Carlson, Hans Henrik Christensen, Jose Jimenez, Karl W. Feilder, Michael Nates, Ross Daines, and Tena Pick.
The winning team was Genr8, a team formed by EMBA students with entrepreneurial, Engineering, Marketing and IT background. The team is formed by Abdullah Al Mansoob, Aitor Agirregabiria, Olivier Ruff and Mathapelo Mzizi. Genr8, a P2P energy exchange, involves a prosumer who owns solar panels and sells energy to its neighbor or a person in its community as opposed to selling it to the Grid.
Genr8 was the team selected to pass to the next round and they’re already working on launching the business idea to the market in the following months, using all its resources on researching, recruiting members, and interviewing potential investors that might be interested in support them. When asked what the next steps are, the members of Genr8 claimed, “We will also introduce smart meters to get exact consumption instead of estimates as for today work on measuring what is billed.” The team was confident in finding the right solutions to make the project work out. “We have been very fortunate to get this opportunity because will give us the chance to meet people with knowledge on Blockchain and find the right expertise to let us move us forward.”
Read the edited article posted at HULT News here. Had the great opportunity to collaborate with HULT global ambassadors from the different campuses as well.