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SBM Students Compete for $1 Million Hult Prize

Students at the School of Business and Management (SBM), Queen Mary University of London have the opportunity to become social entrepreneurs of the future as they compete for the coveted $1 Million Hult Prize.  

19 February 2018

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Amongst the 50,000 applicants for the Hult Prize competitions, Queen Mary has two teams that have successfully made it through to the Regional Finals in London and San Francisco.  The two cities in the world with the biggest number of entrepreneurial investors.

The Hult Prize is the world's largest student competition for social good. Established in 2010 by Bertil Hult, the annual, year-long competition crowd-sources ideas from MBA and college students after challenging them to solve a pressing social issue around topics such as food security, water access, energy, and education.  Each year, the Hult Prize team issues a big bold challenge aligned with a large market opportunity to inspire and enable the world's brightest minds to solve its greatest problems.  This is broadcasted widely through their unparalleled network to university students in more than 100 countries.  The event comprised of several rounds of competitions, culminates with teams presenting their idea at the United Nations (UN) for the $1 Million prize in front of Former US President’s Bill Clinton and Barak Obama, Nobel Prize winners and highly significant personalities, leaders and intellectuals. 

This year for the first time Queen Mary is represented in this largest and most reputable student entrepreneurship competition of the world with not one but two teams.   Less than 1% of the universities that compete send a second team to the competition.   Supported and coached by Dr Evangelos Markopoulos, Associate Lecturer in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at SBM, after presenting the Hult Prize to his Masters students on the BUSM133 module titled: Entrepreneurship and Innovation and undergraduate module BUS002 titled: Operations Management, a minimum of ten teams signed up to participate and the In Campus competition was organised by postgraduate student, Juliana Soares Queirosa thus meeting  the requirements of the Hult Prize competition for a university to assure its place in the Regional competition.

The In-Campus event was held on 12 December 2017 at Queen Mary with three eminent judges

  • Peter McBeath, CEO, New Lower Thames Transport Tunnel (NLTT)
  • Dr Haixue, Senior Lecturer, QMUL, School on Engineering and Material Sciences
  • Mrs Athina Kafetsiou. CEO, The Executive Lounge

Also in attendance was Mr. Callum Porter-Harris, Hult Prize Global Director and Hult Prize China National Director, (a Hult Prize Finalist, and successful Social Entrepreneur now in China) who was invited by Dr Evangelos Markopoulos to attend.  Impressed with the students entrepreneurial ideas this phenomenal event not only resulted in the winning team going forward to the Regional Finals in London (Europe) but also the second place team, the runners up being invited to compete in the Regional Finals in San Francisco (North America) which is unprecedented. 


The Winning Team, NATURA4, below is comprised of postgraduate students who will compete at the European Regionals in London on the 9th and 10th March 2018.

In-Campus winning team to attend regional finals in London for Hult Prize 2018

Left to right: Dr Haixue (Judge), ANNA MAGDALENA URBANSKA (Postgraduate Student), Mrs Athina Kafetsiou (Judge), LAURA MELISSA LOPEZ GONZALEZ (Postgraduate Student), Mr. Peter McBeath (Judge), EVANGELIA MITSA (Postgraduate Student), Mr Callum Porter-Harris, Hult Prize Global Director, Dr Evangelos Markopoulos.

Natura4’s idea is to set up and deliver a scalable and sustainable social enterprise that harnesses the power of energy and will transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025 by creating low-cost high-quality medical supplies made with bamboo such as bamboo balls, gauzes, bandages and buds. These products are usually made with cotton; and with bamboo, Natura4 can get the same end-product in a more sustainable and inexpensive way. The company is composed of three Masters students of the School of Business Management, Queen Mary University of London.  Natura4 looks forward to transforming the future of energy. 

The second place team named Rainbow is composed of the following students.  However, Meilin Wu, Gerhard Spitsak and Muhammad Ikrimah Bhutta will be travelling to San Francisco to compete at the North American Regionals also on the 9th and 10th March 2018.

  • BAIYANG BRYANT LIU (former team member)

Rainbows - runners up attending Regional Finals in San Francisco - Hult Prize

From Left to Right: WENHUI WANG - ANGELA KAMIDI – Dr Evangelos Markopoulos- BAIYANG BRYANT LIU - MEILIN WU

Rainbow identified that across different countries, there are more than 70 Million left-behind children in the world.  They would like to harness the power of connectivity to better their lives.  Their solution is firstly using Apps to connect families across these distances which is shared between the children, their parents, families and volunteers. Secondly they aim to also provide physical HUBs like a local classroom, Library room, Children’s home, tearoom, playground. Volunteers can organize all kinds of activities for children, especially sports. They believe their combination of HUBs and Apps will help to bring colour and hope to their otherwise hopeless situations.

Congratulations and good luck to both teams as they prepare for the Regional Finals on the 9th and 10th March 2018.  We look forward to finding out if they make it through to the next round which will involve the winning teams attending The HULT Prize Accelerator which will take place this year at the Ashridge Business School Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.

In the meantime, Dr Evangelos Markopoulos would like to give thanks to the School of Business and Management and Queen Mary University of London for their generosity and support of the students and the Hult Prize.  A special thank you and mention goes to:

  • Professor Frances Bowen, Dean, School of Business and Management
  • Dr Stephan Krummaker, Associate Dean, Taught Programmes
  • Emm Johnstone, Head of Administration
  • Stanley Babukutty, Student Engagement Manager
  • Natasha Kamalu, Operations Officer
  • Alicia George, Alumni Relations and Events Officer
  • QMUL Engineering and the Dental School for their support to the teams
  • All students that have/are participating in the Hult Prize

For further information about the Hult Prize, find out more here




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