Environmental sustainability and accountability is the challenge for this year’s Hult Prize

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The road to the world’s premier social impact entrepreneurship competition, the Hult Prize, begins next week on campus in Engineering 7. This competition is for any and all entrepreneurial students at Waterloo, A kick-off event on October 10 will present and explore this year’s challenge: to build startups that have a positive impact on our planet with every dollar earned.

Student venture teams that rise to the challenge will pitch their innovative solutions at the Hult Prize at UWaterloo competition, sponsored by the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business. Winning teams from the on-campus competition will advance to a regional competition where they will pitch to win a spot in the prestigious Hult Prize Accelerator in Boston, Massachusetts alongside 40 other teams from around the world. From there, six finalists will proceed to the Hult Prize finals at the United Nations in New York for a chance to win $1 million in seed capital for their venture.

A proud history of Hult Prize success at Waterloo

Better Bail for American team members Rares T. Gosman, Devon Copeland, Mitchell Catoen, and David Ferris at Hult Prize Regionals
Last year, five Waterloo graduate and undergraduate teams advanced to regional competitions in Melbourne, Mexico City, Toronto, Boston, and Bogota. Better Bail For America (BB4A), a team of four fourth-year Mechanical and Mechatronics engineering students, competed in and won first place at the Mexico City regionals. They then went on to participate in the world-renowned Hult Prize Accelerator. While there, they pivoted their strategy into a new venture called Phonic. They pitched Phonic at the UN Hult Prize finals making #UWaterlooProud. A winning team from Waterloo also made it to the finals in 2017.

Integrated curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students

The Hult Prize challenge has been integrated into the curriculum of two courses offered by the Conrad School BET 420, Entrepreneurship for Social Impact, a course open to undergraduate students of all faculties, and BET 620, Social Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility, a course exclusively for Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) students. Integrating the Hult Prize competition into the curriculum of these courses creates a meaningful experiential learning component to courses that also teach foundational theory and knowledge of social impact entrepreneurship.

Schedule and important dates

Over the course of the next few months, there will be a series of events for students who are interested in competing in the Hult Prize at UWaterloo competition - including students who are not taking BET 420 or BET 620 in the fall term.

  • Kick-off – Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 4 PM – 7 PM

    The kick-off event will introduce audiences to this year’s Hult Prize challenge as well as present an overview. Special guest Dr. Amelia Clarke will be in attendance to discuss the environment, sustainability and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Dr. Amelia Clarke has been working on environment and sustainability issues since 1989, including as President of Sierra Club Canada (2003-2006). Her main research focuses are related to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. She leads a team project on Implementing Sustainable Community Plans (including community climate action plans) and co-leads a second project on Youth & Innovation. 
  • Quarter Final Pitches – Thursday, October 31, 2019

    Quarter final pitches are not a public event. Participating teams will be required to submit video pitches for adjudication by a panel.
  • Speed Mentoring – Wednesday, November 6, 2019

    Teams competing will benefit greatly from mentorship. This event has been organized to help students connect with a diverse group of potential mentors to get advice and support for their world-changing ventures. 
  • Semi-Final Pitches – Thursday, November 21, 2019

    Semi-final pitches are note a public event. Teams selected from the quarter finals will pitch in-person before a panel of judges.
  • Final Competition – Tuesday, December 3, 2019

    The culmination of months of work for students, staff, and volunteers, the Hult Prize at UWaterloo final competition is an inspirational event not to be missed. Student finalist teams will pitch to a live audience and panel judges to secure their place at a regional Hult Prize competition. 

    Can’t wait? Check out the video of last year’s final competition:
Remote video URL

More information and key contact

If you want more information about the Hult on-campus competition, make sure you check out the Facebook page facebook.com/hultatuwaterloo. You can also reach out to the Campus Director, Kayleanna Giesinger at kgiesing@edu.uwaterloo.ca.