UTS Hult Prize winners advance to regional finals
Providing meaningful employment to thousands of unemployed youths is the target of this year’s UTS student team, who are competing in the Hult Prize, the world's largest student competition for the creation of new social businesses.
In a process organised by students, the Hult Prize on-campus final at UTS last week advanced the winning team to the regional finals in early 2019, going head-to-head with more than 1,000 universities and colleges worldwide for the chance to win US$1 million.
The winning team included Vina Hing (Business), Louisa Tran (Law/Business) and Alexander Cheng (Business), and was among 15 teams drawn from UTS' undergraduate and postgraduate programs, and across all faculties. They tested their grit in building a viable solution while honing their skills in design thinking, lean start-ups, prototyping and pitching.
"In today’s world, everyone wants to be a job creator, instead of a job seeker," said winning team member Alexander Cheng.
"The Hult Prize is a community at UTS that has shown us how. Specifically, it has taught us that purpose and profit are not separate but can go together, hand in hand."
During the competition, teams were each given 6 minutes to pitch their idea to build the foundations of a venture that will provide meaningful work for 10,000 youth within the next decade. The top three teams competed in a final round judged by industry partners, including AT Kearney, Deloitte Consulting and Innovation New South Wales.
Specifically, through an early-on job matching service, the team targeted disconnected youth that are currently not in the workforce or receiving training in the developing world. The aim is to address the lack of requisite skills of these youths to enable them to gain employment and progress in industries later on.
The team's members will now work closely with UTS Startups and the judges over the summer, receiving mentorship, advisory and strategic planning advice as they create prototypes and further hone the foundations to launch their new social business.
Returning Hult Prize Campus Director Lik Wong Yu said the UTS winning team has been fast-tracked to compete at the regional finals, bypassing the general application, which annually receives more than 100,000 applicants from more than 1,000 colleges and universities in over 150 countries.
Mr Yu is confident his peers have as good as chance as anyone to go all the way with this year's Hult Prize, given the success UTS had last year in its first year competing.
In 2017/2018, UTS was proudly represented by 3 teams at the Regional Finals in San Francisco, Boston and Melbourne. The team in Boston placed in the Top 6 teams overall at the Regional Finals while the team in San Francisco placed in the Top 4 teams of their heat.
"The Hult Prize is a wonderful example of the creative cooperation needed to build a world with shared opportunity, shared responsibility, and shared prosperity, and each year I look forward to seeing the many outstanding ideas the competition produces at UTS," he said.
"Our north star is to empower students at UTS to think differently about impact, creating a sustainable business that can generate revenue while doing good."
This year the Hult Prize is focused on finding solutions for the millions of youth around the world affected by unemployment.
The prize's CEO and founder Ahmad Ashkar attributes the success of the competition to the global youth revolution.
"We continue to be moved by the large number of students from around the world who are capitalising on the opportunity to develop business models that target those who are most in need. We wish every team the best of luck and thank UTS Innovation and Entrepreneurship, UTS Business, UTS Faculty of Law, UTS: Design, Architecture & Building, UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT and UTS Science for sponsoring this initiative."
The Hult Prize is a startup 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. The annual initiative is the world’s largest student competition and crowd-sourcing platform for social good, and has been funded by the Hult family since its inception in 2009.
For any questions or expression of interests in becoming a partner and/or sponsor, please contact: LikWong.Yu@student.uts.edu.au.