Schulich students among top 10 finalists in Hult Prize online competition

York’s Schulich School of Business MBA students Riyad Mobeen, Srivatsan Vijayakumar, Ken Fong, Jasmine Dove and Monika Kajal have successfully made it to the next round of the 2013 Hult Prize online competition.

The team’s video submission for their entry, the social enterprise hubble, was among the top 10 videos in the public voting round and will now move on to the final selection round. The winner of the online competition will join regional finalists from Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai to compete for the US$1 million in start-up capital to launch their new social enterprise.

“We are very excited and quite humbled to be named amongst the top 10 finalists in the Hult Prize online competition. Thank you to everyone in the Schulich and York communities for supporting us and taking the time to vote – we couldn’t have made the top 10 without you!” said Mobeen (MBA candidate ’14) on behalf of the Schulich team.

“The last week has been a roller coaster of emotions as we fought with everything we had to make the top 10,” he said. “We haven’t really slept, as we have been continuing to market hubble while working on our supporting documents for the next Hubbleround of the competition. We have sacrificed so much over the past six months and are extremely honoured to make it this far. I’m not sure it has quite sunk in yet, but the team is thrilled to have made it this far and is continuing to work tirelessly to claim the last spot in the finals. Next step: New York.”

Full-time MBA 2014 candidates, from left, Monika Kajal, Jasmine Dove, Riyad Mobeen, Ken Fong and Srivatsan Vijayakumar, comprise the hubble team

The Hult Prize is a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurship that brings together the brightest college and university students from around the globe to solve the world’s most pressing issues. Through crowdsourcing, training, mentorship and funding, the annual Hult Prize competition seeks to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs.

With more than 10,000 participants representing more than 150 different countries and over 350 colleges and universities, the 2013 Hult Prize competition brought together socially oriented students from around the world to share their ideas for solving one of society’s most pressing issues: the global food crisis. The Hult Prize is presented in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, and former U.S. president Bill Clinton personally selected this year’s theme and presented the detailed case study, which can be found here. The challenge for competitors was to create a social enterprise that could improve food security (i.e. safe, accessible, nutritious and affordable food) by 2018 for 200 million people living in urban slums.

The Schulich team worked tirelessly to develop its social enterprise, hubble, a game-changing venture that aims to drive the cost of produce down by simplifying the food system. The plan connects small-scale farmers with street vendors to provide millions of urban slum dwellers around the world access to affordable and nutritious produce. Watch the team’s video here.

“Being from a small farmer’s family in a small village in India and having the first-hand experience of working in one of Asia’s biggest urban slums made me aware of the day-to-day struggle farmers face getting their produce to market and how excessive markups hurt people living in the slums,” said Kajal (MBA candidate ’14). “So we set forth to develop a solution that fills the gaps I witnessed.”

In addition to the Schulich team, the top 10 finalists in the online competition include teams from the following colleges and universities:

  • Lauder School of Government, IDC, Israel;
  • University of California, Berkeley;
  • University of California, Los Angeles;
  • National Chengchi University, Taiwan;
  • HEC Paris;
  • Covenant University, Nigeria;
  • University of Maryland College Park;
  • London School of Economics; and
  • Rotterdam School of Management, Netherlands.

The winner of the online competition will join the regional finalists in New York City for the Hult Prize finals. The full list of regional finalists include teams from the following colleges and universities:

  • Asian Institute of Management, Phillipines;
  • ESADE Business School, Spain;
  • Hult International Business School;
  • McGill University; and
  • University of Cape Town.

For more information, visit the Hult Prize website.

For more information about hubble, visit the Facebook page or follow the team on Twitter.