York University hosted the Hult Prize Toronto Regional Finals during a virtual summit held April 29 to May 1. This year marked the third consecutive year that York University has hosted the event, which is the only regional summit for the prestigious prize located in Canada.
Backed by the world-renowned Hult International Business School, EF Education First and the United Nations, the Hult Prize Challenge empowers young people to engage their entrepreneurial spirits, connect and collaborate with partners and mentors, and change the world for the better. The annual challenge is the biggest social innovation competition in the world – engaging thousands of student social entrepreneurs in 121 countries each year – and has been praised by TIME Magazine as one of the “Top 5 Ideas Changing the World.”
The Hult Prize invites university students from around the world to solve some of the world’s most pressing development issues by launching for-good, for-profit businesses. This year’s challenge is “Food for Good: Transforming food into a vehicle for change,” which asked youth around the world to build viable food enterprises that will create jobs, stimulate economies, reimagine supply chains, and improve outcomes for 10,000,000 people by 2030. Past challenges have addressed issues such as youth unemployment, energy, the refugee crisis, early childhood education, healthcare and clean water.
The Hult Prize runs regional competitions in cities across the globe, with the 50 winners attending a boot-camp style accelerator based in Boston to develop their ideas into investment-ready companies. Six finalists from the accelerator then pitch at the Hult Prize Global Finals at the UN Headquarters in New York City for a prize of $1 million (U.S.) in seed capital to support the development of the winning enterprise.
The three-day Toronto Regional Finals kicked off on April 29 with a welcome keynote from Assistant Vice-President Innovation & Research Partnerships Sarah Howe, followed by programming that included workshops, professional networking opportunities and inspiring speakers, including Toronto Mayor John Tory. On May 1, the event concluded with a keynote address from York’s President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton, who is a strong supporter of the summit, and the pitch competition.
Team Glarina, an international team from Tunisia, was named the winner of the pitch competition and will move on to attend the accelerator program in Boston. Glarina is a sustainable solution that empowers local communities through entrepreneurship education to create value in the rural regions of the Northwest of Tunisia. The team has created gluten-free flour made from acorns for people suffering from celiac disease.
For more information on the competition, visit the Hult Prize website.