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An inside look at the Hult Prize Competition

  • Monique Tuin
  • |
  • Apr 12, 2017
An inside look at the Hult Prize Competition

Left to right: Destine Lee, HBA ’17, London Mayor Matt Brown, Victor Lal, Monique Tuin, HBA ’17, Nandini Thogarapalli, HBA ’17, and Kevin Chang, HBA ’17

This piece was written by Monique Tuin, an HBA2 student at Ivey set to graduate in 2017, with quotes from Nandini Thogarapalli, fellow HBA2, and Victor Lal, Political Science student at Western University.

On March 3-4, 2017, I travelled with my two teammates, Nandini Thogarapalli, HBA2, and Victor Lal, a second-year Political Science student at Western, to Boston, Massachusetts to compete in the regional finals of the Hult Prize Competition.

It was an amazing opportunity to be surrounded by students and business leaders who shared and embodied the vision that business can provide solutions to social challenges, including the global refugee crisis.

We were excited to present our pitch for ShareFund, an SMS or text message service that connects refugees to share skills and build a credible work history while in transition. Our team received valuable feedback and encouragement from a global panel of social entrepreneurs and industry experts.

Participants from around the world also pitched their ideas, from engineering students from Mexico designing a material that can make refugee tents collect rainwater, to Harvard students designing a system of microwork for refugees.

It was encouraging to see students from across academic, professional, and ethnic backgrounds come together to tackle this global problem, Lal said.

“In a time of divisive rhetoric, nothing is more powerful than a focus on what makes us all the same,” he said.

“Hult was a phenomenal opportunity to meet like-minded students from around the world,” Thogarapalli added. “The competition allowed me to learn about development challenges and opportunities first hand from students close to the refugee crisis.”

As Hult Prize Foundation CEO Ahmad Askar said during the competition opening, “Charity alone is not enough.” By pursuing profit and social impact, entrepreneurs can develop business solutions to today’s global challenges.