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  • Writer's pictureKayleanna Giesinger

The Hult Prize UW On Campus

The Hult Prize Foundation is an initiative to challenge young people to solve the world’s toughest issues by empowering them to make for-good for-profit businesses. This is done through multiple levels of programming. Things start on campus, where campus directors work to spread awareness of the foundation and organize mentorships and a competition for direct entry into the global programs.


The topic for the 2019-2020 year was to build startups that have a positive impact on our planet with every dollar earned. At the topic launch Bill Clinton described the challenge as:


The topic for the 2019-2020 year was to build startups that have a positive impact on our planet with every dollar earned. At the topic launch, Bill Clinton described the challenge as: million more consumers within a decade, in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the threat of climate change. The prize is not simply looking for ways to make current business practices less environmentally damaging, but for transformative new models that make a positive net impact on the environment, with every sale completed, every dollar earned and every decision made."


At the University of Waterloo, I worked with the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business to organize five different events throughout the Fall 2019 term. Overall, more than 150 competitors, mentors, volunteers and judges participated in the events! Groups were connected to resources, coaching and funding to continue their work.


Event 1: The Kickoff

The kickoff was an opportunity to get students thinking about the competition and ask questions. There was a special guest speaker Amelia Clarke (website), who discussed climate actions and business development. Additionally, a panel of previous Hult Prize competitors from UW attended to answer questions.


Event 2: Quarter-Finals

This round was the initial application round, where teams applied with a video pitch.


Event 3: Speed Mentoring

Spead mentoring was an opportunity for teams to be connected to various business professionals. Eight mentors attended and were matched with 1-3 teams for consultation throughout the rest of the term.


Event 4: Semi-Finals

Semi-Finals served for judges to select 8 top teams out of the 36 who applied. These teams moved onto finals.


Event 5: Finals

to see the final teams pitch for direct entry to the global programming watch the video below!

The winning team was Decomp, their company is building environment controlled, smart bio-tanks to grow plastic-eating fungus. Non-recyclable plastic that is building up in landfills will be put into their bio-tanks to be ‘fed’ to fungus


My role throughout the entire terms programming consisted of;

  • communication and coordination with teams, mentors, judges and volunteers

  • organizing event details and structure

  • designing event promotional materials and in event materials

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