Youth unemployment is an issue that is close-to-home for students around the world and tackling this problem is the focus of this year’s Hult Prize challenge.
The Hult Prize is the largest student social entrepreneurship competition in the world. Every year, the Hult organization challenges students to come up with entrepreneurial solutions for some of the most pressing social problems our world faces. Students from over 1000 universities globally are taking on this year’s challenge: to provide meaningful employment for 10,000 youth.
Conrad School and the Hult Prize at University of Waterloo
Over 200 students on campus engaged with issues of youth unemployment through this year’s challenge. To support Hult Prize participants, students attended a kickoff and networking event, speed mentoring night, and a practice pitch rounds for finalist teams.
This year, Hult Prize on-campus at Waterloo was focused on involving students from across faculties, which resulted in a diverse range of students and teams participating.
From the 30 teams that registered for the quarter-final video pitch round, 26 teams were selected to pitch at our semi-finals before a panel of judges. In November 2018, eight teams were selected as our finalists to pitch in front of judges and a live audience.
The selected teams will compete at the Regional Summit Finals around the world in the spring. Teams will compete for a chance to be one of 50 teams at a summer accelerator in London, England. From the accelerator, global finalists will compete for the opportunity to win $1M for their startups at UN Headquarters next August.
Last year, four Waterloo teams made it to the regionals, and this year six teams have qualified to move on to regional competitions.
Hult Prize at University of Waterloo was made possible by support of the Eyton Directorship of the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business and corporate sponsor, Electrical Contacts Ltd (ECL). For the second year, the competition is incorporated into undergraduate and graduate courses in social entrepreneurship. As far as we’re aware, this level of integration between the competition and course curriculum is the first of its kind.
Waterloo Finalist Teams
The Pulse Home solution is a sustainable housing technology for indigenous communities that will create employment for indigenous youth.
Team Members: Sara Turner (Engineering), Paula Przybylski (Engineering - Systems Design), Aqsa Haider (Engineering - Systems Design)
Pulse Home won first place at the Waterloo finals and will advance to the 2019 Melbourne Regional Summit Finals.
Better Bail for America (BB4A)
The Better Bail for America (BB4A) solution will help prevent youth unemployment in the USA by enabling young, employed, first-time offenders to access crowdfunded, interest-free bail.
Team Members:Devon Copeland, David Ferris, Mitchell Catoen, Rareș Topor-Gosman (all Engineering - Mechanical and Mechatronics)
BB4A won second place at the Waterloo finals and will advance to the 2019 Mexico City Regional Summit Finals.
The Qollabo solution will use mobile-training to help 3.2 million female textile workers in Bangladesh avoid unemployment due to increasing automation in the textile industry.
Team Members: Matthew Brown, Chidinma Ikebujo (former team member), Tamim Mahmud, Jackson Onyeka-Gbolohan (all Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology)
Team Qollabo won third place at the Waterloo finals.
The Grid-It solution will use small-scale biogas energy production to create employment opportunities for Indonesian youth in remote communities.
Team Members: Juan Sebastian Villamizar Parra, Sehaj Singh, Khalid Alawar, and Aislinn Shoveller (all Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology)
Grid-It will advance to the 2019 Bogota Regional Summit Finals.
The Nigeria Connected solution is a co-op that will provide essential agricultural infrastructure to enable self-employed Nigerian farmers to be more efficient, profitable and sustainable.
Team Members: Piet van Beek (Engineering), Mark Whyte (Science), Dan Schuurman (Kinesiology), Kimberly Chigbo (ENG - Electrical & Computer)
Nigeria Connected has been accepted to the 2019 Accra Regional Summit Finals.
The Meerkat solution will help unemployed youth in North America by helping them get connected to the volunteer organizations that will provide them with the work experience they need to land their first job.
Team members: Gwynne Burgess, Timothy Tsang, Mohamed Moussa, Meera Kanani (all Engineering - Systems Design)
The Craft Collective solution will empower handicraft cooperatives with investment, resources, and access to a global marketplace.
Team members: Falah Shazib (Math - Computer Science), Jimmy Quach (Arts & Business), Shi Jie (Dan) Tan (Engineering - Electrical and Computer)
The Hatch solution will create employment opportunities for refugees and Internally-Displaced-People (IDP) in South America by training them and connecting them to SMEs who need their talent.
Team members: Hamid Ishfaq, Taytum Clairmont, Heba Ahmed, Carolina Restrepo Valencia (all Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology)
Direct application teams
Teams also had the opportunity to apply directly to the Hult Prize Regional Summit Finals and the following teams were selected from thousands of applicants to compete.
Emergency Response Africa (Era)
The Emergency Response Africa (Era) solution is a low-cost emergency medical services (EMS) that combine training and technology to deliver onsite care to emergency victims through our network of First Responders and facilitate access to advanced care via intelligent dispatch technology.
Team Members: Folake Owodunni, Julia Chernuschevich , Maame Poku (all Master of Business Entrepreneurship and Technology)
Team Emergency Response Africa will be competing at the 2019 Toronto Regional Summit Finals.
Global Solutions will create jobs in the livestock sector by providing affordable livestock feeds through processed compost worms raised from organic wastes, to serve the protein demands of a growing global population while ensuring sustainable margins for farmers.
Team Members: Mburu Njunge, Roger Clement, Krishna Priya Balakrishna, Muhammad Moghees (all Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology)
Team Global Solutions will be competing at the regionals in 2019 Boston Regional Summit Finals.