Bold Business for a Better Planet: The First Hult Prize at King’s College

By Gaurab Raj Pandey (Hult Prize Campus Director 2019-2020; MBA Student, King’s College)

A moment of spark is enough to embark on something remarkable. I was busy doing my assignment as usual, and there was a message from a very good friend of mine – “Bro, apply for Hult Prize Campus Director.” Well, the name itself was enough to draw my attention. It took me hours to fill up the application form and had gone through a series of interviews from the Hult Prize Foundation. After a few days, I got an email, with the subject line “Congratulations! Hult Prize is coming to your Campus!”. That was an exciting moment for me.
Being a keen believer and practitioner of entrepreneurship theory in my professional as well as personal life, I embark on this challenging yet rewarding journey of Hult Prize’s campus directorship. Soon, I became we and the pledge for a new collaboration was taken.
With this, our journey of creating history began. It was a journey of immense learning, joy, and fulfillment. We (Aditi, Pushpa, Reeya, Abhisekh, Pooza, Sushoban, Rishika, and I), as organizers, acted to inspire, educate, train and curate a hyper-localized community of change-makers for the Hult Prize 2020 challenge – ‘Bold Business For a Better Planet’. Hult Prize 2020 challenge excited us more as it was seeking bold business ideas to shake the way current industries function and have a net positive impact on the environment.
Our journey as a team was never straight forward. It was like a roller-coaster with lots of ups & down; success & failures; agreements & disagreements. Many things were beyond our expectations and what we have planned. We had limited budget; team registrations were slow; we had no prior experience of handling such a situation. But we learned, reached out for help, and acted with our full enthusiasm. Our failure taught us how to handle tough situations. We learned to agree on the disagreements of each other’s arguments and find the best possible solution amidst all.
As we started with this journey, we received support from Demola Alliance, Upasarga Technology, Impact Week Kathmandu 2019, Annapurna Media Network, Kharkhana, and our teachers at King’s College. Collaboration and seeking help have been the keys to our success. We came in alliance with other entrepreneurship programs at King’s College, under one umbrella platform called the ‘Funnovation Festival’ to cultivate, nurture, and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of the students at King’s College.

Hult Prize On-Campus Program can be a perfect example of a democratic approach as it is the program led by students for students. Over a decade, the Hult Prize has empowered 21 million students with the tools to change the world through business and has invested more than 55 million US dollars in the impact sector. The Hult Prize Global US$ 1M challenge is the Foundation’s anchor program. Student teams from around the world compete to solve a mega global challenge through the design and commercialization of a for-good, for-profit startup.
16 teams applied, 6 teams were shortlisted for the pre-finals, and the top 3 teams were selected for the final round of the On-Campus program at King’s College. Finally, the day we had been working for the past three months was there. We were nervous and anxious. But our determination to give our best surpassed our nervousness and anxiety. At last, it was our feeling of accomplishment, joy, and victory which gave worth to our sleepless nights, and three months of planning and relentless efforts. I simply cannot describe those feelings in words.
There was a panel of eleven Judges in the process of screening and selecting the winner from the campus. The panel of judges included CEOs, Co-Founders, and Program Coordinators from prestigious organizations in Nepal. Team Antidote led my Manish Jung Thapa (MBA student at King’s College) was the first runner up and Team Upcycle led by Rajan Chakradhar (MBA student at King’s College) was the second runner up. The winning team “Pop-Pack” got direct entry to compete at the Hult Prize Regional Summits. The winning team members included Sachin Dangi, Rupesh Puri, Samaya Khadka, and Sushant Gaire (BBA students at King’s College). Hult Prize On-Campus Program 2019-2020 has been concluded setting a stepping stone for years to come.
I believe this is the beginning of creation of global opportunities for the students at King’s College. I believe the 2021 Hult Prize challenge will bring opportunity for all entrepreneurs across the globe to act against global crises such as COVID-19. I, on behalf of the Hult Prize Foundation, invite you to join the movement and be a part of the global community of change-makers.
P.S. Watch Our Journey: Hult Prize at King’s College 2019-2020: https://cutt.ly/hultprize_kings019