GreenHouse startup wins first round of coveted social enterprise prize

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Four members of BabySteps Academy

Left to right: Shafaq Zakir, Alisha Karmali, Fardeen Khan, Katerina Szkolka

St. Paul’s GreenHouse innovator Alisha Karmali and her team at BabySteps Academy have won the first round of the coveted Hult Prize and will represent the University of Waterloo at the regional level next March – competing against universities and teams from around the world.

The 2015 Hult Prize comes with US $1 million in startup funding, and each regional champion will get to spend the summer inside of the Hult Prize Accelerator, an innovative incubator for social enterprises.

BabySteps Academy is made up of Alisha, a third-year Psychology and Business student, Fardeen Khan, a third-year Nanotechnology Engineering student, Shafaq Zakir, who’s studying Economics and Finance, Katerina Szkolka in Psychology, and Osama Sidat in Computer Science. The team’s goal is to provide quality early childhood education to children under 6 years old in urban slums and create job opportunities for women.

"I became a GreenHouse innovator merely 3 months ago and the inspiration and support I have received in this short amount of time is astonishing,” said Alisha. “My mentors at St. Paul’s GreenHouse have been very proactive in assisting me with my research and guiding me through the steps of building a startup.” Information on the Hult Prize can be found at

Alisha’s startup is also a finalist for the St. Paul’s GreenHouse $5,000 Social Innovation Fund. The recipients will be announced at a Social Innovation Showcase on December 3 (4-5:30 pm) in Alumni Hall at St. Paul’s. If you wish to attend this free event, please go to

For more information:
Sean Campbell
Program Coordinator, GreenHouse
519-885-1450 x235