University hosts student entrepreneurs from around the world at Hult Prize regional finals

Students hosting Hult Prize

Portsmouth students streamed the event live from a studio whilst the teams pitched their ideas via Zoom

  • 12 May 2021
  • 4 min read
The University recently hosted more than 30 student teams representing universities from across five continents globally at a virtual Impact Summit for the regional finals of the world’s largest social impact competition - the Hult Prize.

The Hult Prize is an international initiative in which students from around the world develop social enterprises to compete for $1m from the United Nations (UN). This year’s theme is food, focusing on how it can be used to create jobs by stimulating economies and reimagining supply chains to improve the outcome of people’s lives by 2030.

Portsmouth students and event hosts Victoria Yates and Zoe Coldridge streamed the event live from a studio whilst each team had four minutes each to pitch their ideas via Zoom to judges that had a unique criterion that ideas be market-driven, profit-driven and most importantly impact-centred. The event lasted from 7.30am until 5.30pm with guest speakers including founder of Turtle Straws UK, Alex Bruce, and founder of the World Innovation Alliance, Carlos Sentis.

This year’s event was different from past impact summits not only because it was hosted virtually but thanks to a collaboration between Santander Universities and Student Startup at the University of Portsmouth, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners were all awarded cash prizes of £1,000, £500 and £250 respectively.

The University of Portsmouth team took part in the regional final with their idea, KonVert, a social enterprise aiming to revolutionise the sphere of agriculture in India by using new technology to improve food production and help farmers improve their crop yields, especially during unpredictable weather conditions.

Team SiembraCo, from Universidad del Rosario in Columbia came first in the regional final with their plan to use a digital platform to connect farmers to final consumers which will, in turn, make food more affordable for users and provide a decent income for farmers. The team now qualify for the next stage which is a 6-week accelerator programme to help them prepare for their final pitch to be held in September at the United Nations Headquarters in New York where they stand a chance to win $1,000,000.

The team captain of the winning team, Ramos Camilo felt an attachment to the team’s win in Portsmouth and said “We are glad to represent Portsmouth in the next stage. SiembraCo is part of you and you are now part of SiembraCo.”

Andrew Griffith, one of the judges and Head of Value Chain Sustainability at Nestle UK & Ireland concluded the event by saying “It has been a fantastic day, I feel incredibly energised seeing our future leaders presenting propositions in such a great way.”