Melbourne Business School hosts the Hult Prize for first time in Australia
Almost 50 teams from around the world will converge on Melbourne Business School this weekend for the opening of the Hult Prize competition regional finals.
The competition challenges thousands of international university students to create a new social enterprise to help solve a pressing global issue.
This weekend is the first time the global competition has come to Australia.
“Over the last couple of years, we recognised the teams coming out of Melbourne Business School were really strong and the number of applications we have received from the school has been significant," said Priya Sultan, Hult Prize Global Projects Director.
"This made the school the perfect place to open the 2018 regional finals."
For Maham Saeed Mirza, from Lahore Garrison University in Pakistan, it has been a chance to visit Melbourne for the first time.
"Melbourne is a lively city, honestly. It’s full of life and a it’s a great experience being here and experiencing Melbourne. We’re enjoying it a lot," she said.
"We have a proposed a product to replace the modern-day microscope. It has the ability to save people from dying."
University teams from Pakistan, Japan, Canada, Nepal, Chile, India, USA and many more will compete in this weekend's final.
Home team advantage
This year, five teams from Melbourne Business School will compete for the Hult Prize. Two will compete at the Melbourne regional final – Ennov8 and Foodminder – while the other three will each compete separately in Mexico, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Ennov8 consists of Christine Bupe Simwaba Smith, Sundaresh Gurumurthy and Prottoy Diptta Sen, and proposes to use a mobile app to enable access of malnutrition data to healthcare workers in developing countries.
Team Foodminder – Divya Gupta, Rob McElroy, Nicole Zhang and Michael Wakeley – will propose a mobile app for supermarket customers that will alert them of any food wastage using expiry date data.
"It’s been a wonderful journey that has brought us into contact with amazing and talented professionals inside and outside of the MBS community, who have been very generous with their time and knowledge," said Ennov8 team leader Christine Smith.
The grand prize
Regional winners will move on to the Hult Prize accelerator stage of the competition, which lasts six weeks at Ashridge House in the UK. They will have the chance to pitch for the grand prize of $US1 million in start-up capital at United Nations HQ.
"This generation of students are really socially minded. Not only do they want to make profits and do well for themselves, but they also want to make a positive impact on society. The Hult Prize gives them an amazing platform to do both," said Priya.
Mohsin Ghafoor, also from Lahore Garrison University, said his team hoped to change the lives of millions.
"We’re here to address the most common and important challenges faced by agriculturally impaired countries like Pakistan. Our proposed platform aims to transform the lives of 11 million Pakistani people," he said.
"We are here to win hearts, not only the Hult challenge."