Business students reach Hult Prize regional finals in Boston
A team of students from UTS Business School has placed in the top 6 of 50 teams in the internationally acclaimed Hult Prize Competition regional finals in the US, impressing with an idea to empower diabetics in the developing world.
The team will now have the opportunity to enter the 'wildcard' final and potentially be among 50 teams worldwide to take part in an eight week start-up accelerator program at a castle in London, with six teams then chosen for the finals in September.
As the largest student competition for social good in the world, the Hult Prize challenges teams of students to devise innovative solutions to global problems – with the opportunity to win up to $1 million US dollars in seed capital.
This year’s challenge – focused on “energy as the lifeline of humanity” – asked participating students to build “scalable, sustainable enterprises that harness the power of energy” to transform the lives of millions of people.
Undergraduate Bachelor of Business students Patrick Teys, Dominic Sullivan, Eric Nyugen and Liam Manoogian travelled to Boston, MA, last week to present their innovative start up proposal at one of 15 regional finals held across the world. They were one of three teams from UTS to reach the finals.
Their venture, InSolar, functions to provide off-grid treatment for sufferers of diabetes in the developing world.
Devised with the aim of improving the lives of 10 million diabetics by 2025, InSolar works by facilitating the transport of insulin to rural communities using solar powered cold storage units. The operation utilises pre-existing postal service networks to ensure the insulin reaches diabetics quickly and affordably.
“Simply, there are millions of people with diabetes in the developing world, particularly in rural areas, who suffer unnecessarily due to a lack of insulin access,” said Sullivan. “This lack of access is primarily driven by cost and the inability to store the medication at the appropriate temperature.”
Blown away by the sheer scale of the problem in the developing world, the team’s plan was to test InSolar first in rural India, then the rest of the developing world.
“Ultimately, InSolar’s aim is to close the gap completely between living with diabetes in the developed and developing worlds,” he said.
“The fact that a simple concept like Insolar can stop people dying unnecessarily motivates us to really endeavour to execute the idea effectively.”
The team spent the months leading up to the regional final honing their proposal idea in a start-up program at the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, as well as with senior managers in supply chain and logistics consulting at Ernst&Young.
Having come second at the on-campus event with their proposal for InSolar, the team was then competitively selected to compete against world leading universities, such as Harvard, Yale and Columbia, in the Boston regional final.
Associate Dean Education, Professor Chris Burton, who helped facilitate the funds needed to get the students to Boston, said the Hult Prize competition was an opportunity to underscore the entrepreneurial strength of UTS Business students on an international platform.
“It’s an exceptional opportunity for our students to showcase their ability to be innovative and strategic, while taking tangible steps towards creatively solving some of the world’s most pressing social problems,” she said.
To read more about the Hult Prize Competition and the regional final round held in Boston on the 9-10 March, click here.