Thinking green: York student wins berth in Walmart Green Student Challenge

picture of a glass building

When the Walmart Green Student Challenge asked post-secondary students from across Canada to come up with the next big green idea that will change the way Canada does business, it was a challenge that Hassan Valiji, a third-year business administration student in York’s Schulich School of Business, could not refuse.

Hassan ValijiHassan Valiji

“My friend told me about the challenge and I had an idea in mind so I decided to go for it!” said Hassan about his reason for entering the competition. His big green idea, which is a secret, won him a spot at the national finals taking place Feb. 29. Valiji will present his sustainable business idea to a panel of judges for a chance to win $30,000 for himself and $30,000 for the Schulich School of Business.

Valiji will compete against students from the University of Calgary, Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, University of Waterloo and Cape Breton University.

The five semi-finalists will pitch their concepts to a panel of Canada’s top CEO’s: Shelley Broader, president and CEO, Walmart Canada Corp; John Guarino, president, Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada; John LeBoutillier, president, Unilever Canada; Michael McCain, president and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods; and Peter Robinson, CEO, The David Suzuki Foundation.

The winning idea must present a new way of doing business, have a significant sustainability benefit and have a strong business case to back it up (it saves money or creates new revenue). Judges will also be scoring submissions for originality and ease of implementation.

If he wins the challenge and the $30,000 grand prize, Hassan says: “the first thing I would do is pay off all my student debt! The rest I would use on my exchange to Sydney, Australia.”

The finals take place today from 10am to 2:30pm. The challenge will be streamed live from the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto. Register here to watch Valiji battle head-to-head against his competitors in the Walmart Green Student Challenge.