HULT Prize Competition 2018 @ OCAD U

Hult Prize at OCADU
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 12:00pm to Saturday, December 15, 2018 - 2:00pm

HULT aims to identify and launch the world’s next wave of social entrepreneurs by encouraging students from around the world to compete in teams to solve the planet’s biggest challenges with innovative ideas for sustainable start-up enterprises. Annual Hult Prize winners can make their ideas reality with the help of USD $1 million in seed funding, as well as mentorship from a network of global leaders and changemakers.

This year’s challenge: For us, by us youth unemployment: Build the foundations of a venture that will provide meaningful work for 10,000 youth within the next decade.

Award: $1 million dollars to implement your idea, mentorship and business support for your start-up.

Addressing the global youth challenge means starting anew. New ideas. New business models. New technologies. New mindsets. For the Hult Prize 2019, we’re not just looking for companies. We’re looking for new ways to organize society that will create large-scale opportunities for youth to engage in meaningful work Your venture can be of any type, in any industry. As in previous years, you will need to envision and launch a business that can scale up—specifically, by growing to have a large-scale positive impact on society. Unlike previous years, however, your venture will also need to scale out to provide meaningful work for 10,000 youth. Your impact will be greatest if you have a plausible strategy to reach disconnected youth—that is, those currently not in the workforce, in formal educational programs, or receiving training. To succeed in this challenge, you need first to understand the barriers youth face in connecting to meaningful work and then, most importantly, to come up with strategies to overcome those barriers—thereby enabling youth to create value for themselves and others. In this section, we describe some strategies for overcoming barriers that

include an array of potential businesses.

For more info, see

Important Dates:

Kick - Off Info Session

Thursday, November 1st | 6:15PM-7PM @ 205 Richmond St. Room 301

Expert Panel Discussion:

Thursday, November 15th | 6:15PM-8:30 PM @ 205 Richmond St.W. Rm 301 (Guest speakers from City of Toronto, MaRS, United Way Greater Toronto

Devil's Den:

Thursday, November 22nd | 6:30PM-8PM @ 205 Richmond St. W. Room 301 (Young business professionals advise on your ideas

Pitching Your Ideas Workshop:

Thursday, November 29th | 6:30PM - 8PM @ Jackman Reinvents 345 Adelaide St. W. Unit 100

OCAD U Hult Competition Event: Saturday, December 15th  | 10AM - 2PM @ Jackman Reinvents 345 Adelaide St. W. #100

Venue & Address: 
Jackman Reinvents 345 Adelaide St. W. #100

SFI Students represent OCAD U at the HULT Prize Regional Finals in Melbourne, Australia

Hult Prize Tara, Ariana, Jananda, Milena
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 2:15pm

Article written by:

Ariana Lutterman

Tara Campbell

Milena Tasic

The Hult Prize is a global business case competition that challenges today’s young leaders to think beyond profit to consider people and the planet, addressing the world’s most complex problems through a lens of social change. Out of the 100,000 teams that applied for the Hult Prize Challenge this year, there is only one winning team that takes home the $1M seed investment to be put towards launching their idea.


Photo: L to R Jananda, Tara, Milena, Ariana

Our Hult Prize journey started in October 2017 when the four of us were in our first year of our Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation, and were selected to work together on a group project for our Human Factors and Business and Design Thinking courses. In these courses, we had the opportunity to develop design interventions around a complex problem of our choosing. We chose a topic—food waste—that would allow us to align with Hult’s 2018 energy innovation challenge. Throughout that semester, we learned so much not only about tackling a wicked problem in a human-centred way, but also about working in an interdisciplinary team.

Our deep understanding of the food waste issue started with a lot of research, which, among many things, brought us to Detroit: a city that struggles with food security, but where a lot of innovation around food waste is currently taking place. What better way to ground our understanding of the food waste issue than to go there ourselves? We returned from Detroit just before the December break and pitched to the OCAD Hult campus competition with an entirely different solution from the one we had originally set out with. Being explicit about what we now knew we wanted from our innovation and how that might fit within Hult criteria had led us to a solution we believed could affect system-level transformation while fostering community autonomy and food sovereignty.

Our team found out we had been selected to participate in the Melbourne Regional Finals when we returned to school in January. It was a competition on the other side of the planet and we didn’t know how we would get there or fund it. But, we knew we wanted to go. We felt not only that Hult would be an amazing opportunity to meet students from around the world working on social innovation projects, but that we owed it to ourselves to put our team values and dynamics to the test. With some incredibly generous support from OCAD’s President’s Office, the Office for Graduate Studies, and the SFI program, we travelled all the way to Australia to represent the University.

Australia was, of course, a trip to remember. Yes, we got to revel in summer in the midst of Toronto winter, but importantly, we had the opportunity to work harder on something than any of us had in a long time. We crafted our trip as a sort of working retreat, parking ourselves at coffee shops for eight hours at a time, seeking Wifi wherever we could find it, Skyping advisors and practicing pitches in hallways and courtyards, getting access to local university working spaces to get our hands on some whiteboards, dreaming of our pitch, working through meals, brainstorming and writing and editing.

By our orientation day in Melbourne, we were ready. Getting away to focus solely on this project had allowed us the time and mental freedom to dedicate all of our energy toward making something we were proud of. We were proud of the idea, of the narrative we had built to communicate it, and of what we knew would make us stand out in a competition of twenty-five impressive international teams. As OCAD U MDes Strategic Foresight and Innovation students, we knew our way of thinking about wicked problems was different than most traditional MBA or engineering approaches. We had the opportunity to listen to so many great pitches and proposed innovations throughout the Hult weekend, but our way of framing a problem space and allowing a human-centred solution to emerge felt uniquely ours.

“The Hult Prize Competition is an exciting opportunity for our students to further develop their practical skills, and explore how to create positive social change on a global scale.” Dr. Michele Mastroeni, Graduate Program Director, Strategic Foresight & Innovation, OCAD University.

We didn’t win a million dollars, but winning the “prize” would have always been a bonus for us, not the primary goal. We wanted to learn how to work with each other and work really hard on something we believed in. We wanted to travel to an international competition and pitch something that aligned with our values. We wanted to pitch something we felt we had worked as hard as we could on. We wanted to dedicate our time and energy and what we’ve been learning at OCAD to real life problem solving - to problems with real impact around the world. So for the four of us, that was winning.

Part of what Hult gave us was the knowledge that we can work well with each other on critical, meaningful work. Whether we pitch to other innovation or business competitions or work together at other points in our lives, Hult has given us new confidence in our own ability to design for social change. We truly believe that any students who want to see how the processes and tools they’re learning can be applied outside of school work should consider applying to Hult. We invite any interested students who want to hear more about our experience or are thinking about the Hult prize to connect with us by emailing








Hult Prize Regional Semi-Finalists Team Fleet Competes at York University

OCAD U's Team Fleet at York University
OCAD U's Team Fleet at York University
OCAD U's Team Fleet at York University
OCAD U's Team Fleet at York University
OCAD U's Team Fleet at York University
Friday, March 9, 2018 - 10:30am

The Hult Prize Challenge is a platform that brings together students from over 100 different countries to solve some of the greatest challenges our world is facing at a global scale. This year’s challenge was “harnessing the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025”. OCAD University’s very own Team Fleet made up of Lucy Gao, Rachna Kumar & Juan Carlos Sandoval-all of which are currently pursuing a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight & Innovation-chose to pursue the challenge at York University located in our very own Toronto. After being fast-tracked to the regional semi-final round, they joined another 42 teams from around the world. Competing over an intense 2-day duration, they came out with an unforgettable experience and although they will not be moving forward to continue to compete for the 1 Million USD award, they have come out with a larger network all of which are aspiring to be future change makers.

Congratulations Team Fleet!

Strategic Foresight and Innovation Students Ranked #1!

Winning Team Fleet with industry leaders and Hult Prize competition at OCAD U Judges
Bo Siu (top left) is a first year Strategic Foresight and Innovation MDes student and they spearheaded the program as selected c
Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 9:00am

The Hult Prize Foundation is the largest crowdsourcing platform and startup accelerator for emerging social entrepreneurs from universities around the globe. The annual Hult Prize competition aims to build and launch the most captivating social business solution for the most challenging problem impacting billions every day.

A group of changemakers from the Strategic Foresight and Innovation  MDes program participated in a quarterfinal round of the Hult Prize competition at OCAD University on December 9, 2017. Four core teams successfully pitched a scalable, sustainable, human-centered design solution to address the challenge of harnessesing the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025.

Congratulations to Team Fleet for ranking #1! Rachna Kumar, Lucy Gao, and Juan-Carlos Sandoval can pursue the opportunity to fast-track to a regional semi-final round and join the top 50 finalists world-wide by next March. The United Nations Headquarters host the 2018 Global Finals in September to award a winning team with 1 Million USD in seed capital plus mentorship from a renowned business network.

Team Fleet was placed at the top by an esteemed panel of judges and benefactors; Anna Dewar Gully is Founder and Chief Strategist of Women Strategy, Giovanni Marsico is Founder and President of Archangel Academy, and Katherine Roos is Founder and Executive Director of The Imagination Catalyst. Panel members had a special presence as social innovators with progressive values, significant entrepreneurship and scaling credentials.

The Hult Prize Quarterfinal Competition at OCAD University is an extracurricular non-profit student-led social entrepreneurship program. See more on Facebook!

Photo Credit: Krystle Merrow

News Story: Bo Siu

Hult Prize 2018: Quarter Final Campus Competition at OCAD University

Hult Prize Challenge: Harnessing the Power of Energy
Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 9:00am to 3:00pm

We are proud to announce the annual Hult Prize Quarterfinals Campus Competition at OCAD University: 

In partnership with the United Nations, the Hult Prize Foundation has created the world’s largest student movement and crowdsourcing platform dedicated to solving the most pressing social challenges on the planet. The 2018 Global Finals awards a winning team with 1 million USD in start-up capital and world renowned business-design mentorship. A quarterfinal round of the Hult Prize competition showcases diverse teams of brilliant minds with big ideas from across OCAD University. The winning team gets to by pass 20,000 plus applicants and fast track to regionals! 

Come compete with your team or simply join us on Saturday December 9th 2017 to watch the next wave of social entrepreneurs! 

Free admission

Register your team here:

Application deadline: Wednesday, December 6th 

Venue: Auditorum Rm. 190, 100 McCaul

Snacks and socializing! 

#hp18ocadu #PowerforGood

#Socent #HultPrizeEffect 

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University Rm. 190 100 McCaul Street
Hult Prize Challenge: Harnessing the Power of Energy

Three OCAD U teams heading to the Hult Prize regional finals

Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Friday, February 3, 2017

Students from the Strategic Foresight and Innovation (SFI) graduate program and the Digital Futures (DFI) program are on their way to the next level of the million-dollar Hult Prize competition on March 3, 2017.

The Hult Prize Foundation is a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities. The goal of the annual competition is to create and launch the most compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle issues faced by billions of people. Winners receive $1 million U.S. in seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community.

The 2017 Hult Prize "President's Challenge" is "Refugees - Reawakening Human Potential" and will focus on restoring the rights and dignity of people and societies who may be, or are forced into motion due to social injustices, politics, economic pressures, climate change and war. We will also work to restore the rights and dignity of those currently living in informal / illegal settlements. Our aim is to reach 10M by 2022 and believe young people and their collective wisdom is the only way forward. This challenge was selected by President Bill Clinton and announced at the 2016 Hult Prize Finals and Awards program New York.

The OCAD University teams:

Competing in Boston: Team Hive  

Collective Farming in Refugee Camps

Team Hive’s DIY Modular Indoor Farming Kit hopes to capture the talent and knowledge of the people in refugee camps. The kit is a self-contained low-tech module that will give people the opportunity to grow their own produce and redistribute to the local economy. The kits are designed with the concept of biomimicry - looking to nature to see how bees have created a community. Team Hive hopes to inspire the same sense of a collective community with the kits. Each module will be able to connect to another which will allow a larger system to be built over time, thus increasing the production capabilities within refugee camps.

  • Tania De Gasperis (SFI)
  • Daniel Ura  (SFI)
  • Sugeevan Shanmuganathan (DFI - undergraduate) 
  • Manik Gunatilleke (DFI - graduate)

Competing in London: Team Sage

Turning camps into classrooms without the need for internet connections or physical spaces.

As a universal right, education gives people the baseline skills to thrive, but for many children living in refugee camps, access to education is not guaranteed.

What if refugees could receive education without interruption? What if it was low cost, used existing infrastructure, and even created employment opportunities?

Using the smartphone that nearly every refugee already has, Sage turns refugee camps into classrooms without the need for internet connections or physical spaces. A mobile education solution, Sage uses mesh networks to connect students with tutors, and provides the necessary curriculum for them to continue their education while living in uncertainty.

  • Courtney Cooper (SFI)
  • Vince Galante  (SFI)
  • Ziyan Hossain  (SFI)
  • Lisa Hart   (SFI)

Competing in Shanghai: Team Forsati  

A mobile platform for economic resilience within refugee camps

What if a refugee could capitalize on the time they spend waiting in a refugee camp? What if the “wait” was not an obstacle, but an asset, to economic mobility? Forsati, which translates to “My Opportunity” in Arabic, is a simple but powerful mobile platform that helps refugees find safe work opportunities within a camp. Whether they have resources to rent, baking to sell, childcare to offer or trade skills to employ, Forsati can help connect them with the right buyer. Meanwhile, an authenticated work history log tracks completed jobs and compiles them into an accessible, usable résumé for life after the camp.

  • Alastair Woods (SFI)
  • Jessica Thornton (SFI)
  • Lindsay Clarke  (SFI)



Team Sage Wins Hult Prize at OCAD U Competition, Off to Compete at Regionals

Team Sage (Courtney Cooper, Vince Galante, Lisa Hart, and Ziyan Hossain (not pictured)) are students from OCAD U's Strategic For
Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Hult Prize is the world’s largest annual student competition and start-up platform for social good. It aims to identify and launch the world’s next wave of social entrepreneurs by encouraging students from around the world to compete in teams to solve the planet’s biggest challenges with innovative ideas for sustainable start-up enterprises. Annual Hult Prize winners can make their ideas reality with the help of USD $1 million in seed funding, as well as mentorship from a network of global leaders and changemakers.

This year’s challenge was “Refugees – Reawakening Human Potential”: Restoring the rights and dignity of 10M people by 2022. With a focus on people and societies who may be, or are forced into motion due to social injustices, politics, economic pressures, climate change and war, as well as those currently living in informal / illegal settlements.

OCAD U hosted its campus qualifying round on December 14, 2016. The winners of the qualifying round will bypass the traditional application process (20,000 applications!) and head straight to one of five final rounds of the competition in March 2017. The winning team was selected from a panel of esteemed judges including; Mathu Jeyaloganathan, Portfolio Manager of Impact Investing at World Vision, Marie Ang of the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, and Ava-Dayna Sefa of LEAP: The Centre for Social Impact. Impressed with the OCAD U teams, the judges couldn’t just pick one! They selected 3 very close Runner Up and Honourable Mention teams.

OCAD U looks forward to keeping up with the team’s progress throughout the competition.

Good Luck, Team Sage!


OCAD U’s Strategic Foresight and Innovation students reach regional finals for million-dollar Hult Prize

Photo of M-sana team members
Photo of Yogya team members
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 4:00am

Two teams from the Strategic Foresight and Innovation Master’s program will compete the regional finals of the prestigious Hult Prize Challenge, known as “the Nobel Prize for students.” The annual event is the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social good with some 20,000 applicants from around the world.

In partnership with President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, the competition identifies and launches social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. The 2015 Hult Prize will focus on providing sustainable, high-quality early education solutions to ten million children under the age of six in urban slums and beyond.

The regional finals take place March 13 and 14 in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. One winning team from each host city will move into a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentorship as well as advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set up to launch and scale their new ventures. A final round of competition will be hosted by former US President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September where the $1 million winning team will be selected.  

OCAD U’s Strategic Foresight and Innovation teams:


M-Sasa is a mobile phone-based solution using voicemail messages to connect working mothers who earn less than $3 a day with local community members who are able to provide early childhood education. Derived from the Swahili saying for “in the moment”, M-Sasa empowers mothers with unreliable incomes to find child care when they need it and for a fraction of the cost of current education offerings.

Team members:

  • Julie Sommerfreund: Policy specialist at Toronto Public Health with a background in environmental sciences and chemical engineering
  • Marta Scythes: Medical illustrator and educator
  • Kevin Morris: Strategic planning manager for a global manufacturer of sustainable building materials
  • Lorraine Randell: Visual communications designer with experience in education, graphic design, communications and environmental design
  • Sean Molloy: Director of Quality, Safety and Enterprise Risk at St. Joseph's Health Centre in Toronto

M-Sasa placed first at the official “Hult at OCAD U” competition, which the university hosted last fall. The team will go on to compete in the regional finals in Shanghai.


Yogya, the Sanskrit word for “worthy”, is a social enterprise shaped by the fundamental principle that every child is worthy of an education. It empowers young women from urban slums to educate children under age four, a critical stage in a child’s development before entering primary school.

Team members:

  • Ahmed Alazem: Certified Project Management professional
  • Christina Muia: Environmental consultant with experience in renewable energy, climate change, sustainable agriculture and source water protection
  • Jennifer McDougall: Leadership facilitator and public speaker with international business administration background
  • Mithula Naik: Ethnographer and industrial designer with an interest in developing products and services for specific cultural contexts while identifying unmet needs
  • Patrick Robinson: Community-focused design thinker with the goal of working with industry and educational leaders for social good

Yogya made it to the regional finals in San Francisco through online submission of their project.

The annual Hult Prize Challenge is the world’s largest student competition and crowd-sourcing platform for social good. The Hult Prize Foundation has been funded by the Hult family since it was founded in 2009 by current CEO, Ahmad Ashkar. To learn more, visit

The Clinton Global Initiative 
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, CGI members have made more than 2,500 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $87.9 billion.

Top image: Team M-Sasa

Lower image: Team Yogya

Photos by George Wang and Greg Van Alstyne