The Hult Prize competition is back for its second year at the University of Waterloo. Each year, the competition poses a new challenge to students, of which they are to respond to with a business startup idea. This year the challenge is “harnessing the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people.”
The competition originated in 2009, when an MBA student at Hult International Business School, Ahmad Ashkar, founded it. He believed that it is not through not-for-profits, charities, or organizations that change is made, but through social entreprises.
It started with 1000 students in 25 countries, and has grown to be held in nearly 1000 different colleges and universities globally. The Hult Prize partners with the Clinton Global Initiative and the United Nations.
Last year, for the 2017 Hult Prize, a University of Waterloo team made it to the global finals. Their startup is called Epoch, and it is an app that helps refugees integrate into communities by trading skills on a time credit system, rather than a monetary one.
This year, Pragya Dawadi, the Campus Director of the UW Hult Prize, is hopeful for another UW team to make it to the finals. “Last year at our kick off event I stood in front of a room of 200 students…and I said I want to see someone from here make it to the global finals, and as much as I said that, I didn’t believe it until it happened. We’ve seen that the Waterloo region has so much potential, especially for innovation and entrepreneurship,” she stated.
The Hult Prize Competition is a year long process. At each year’s final (which is in September), Bill Clinton announces the challenge for the upcoming year.
UW’s Hult Prize kickoff event will be on Oct. 4 in Environment 3, room 1408, where students will be able to find out more information about this year’s challenge and about the competition process.
To further support UW Students, Dawadi is planning on having a design thinking workshop on Oct. 18 and a networking event on Nov. 2.
The date set for semifinals is Nov. 22 and for finals it is Nov. 29, although depending on the number of teams this year they may also implement a quarter final. If students want to get involved, they can find more information at UW Hult Prize’s facebook page, www.facebook.com/pg/hultatuwaterloo and the Hult Prize website, www.hultprize.org.
To register for the Oct. 4 kickoff, Dawadi encourages students to register at https://uwaterloo.ca/conrad-business-entrepreneurship-technology/registration-hult-prize-uwaterloo-kick-event-0.
Students can contact Dawadi with questions by email, which is firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article has been edited to as Pragya Dawdi is the Campus Director, not the co-founder of Hult Prize UW.