Innovation & Enterprise


UCL students reach prestigious Hult Prize regional finals

3 January 2018

A UCL team has got through to the regional finals of the 8th Annual Hult Prize in response to the United Nations Energy Challenge.

Winners of the The Hult Prize@UCL 2017

11 UCL teams competed in the Hult Prize competition hosted at UCL Innovation & Enterprise’s entrepreneurial hub, UCL Base KX. The teams pitched their business solutions for a chance to win a top prize of $1 million.

The Hult Prize

The Hult Prize is a crowdsourcing platform for social good, named as one of the top five ideas changing the world by TIME Magazine. The innovative platform identifies and launches social ventures that aim to solve the planet's most pressing challenges. This year, the Hult Prize is focused on finding innovative solutions to harness the power of energy and to progress the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to improve the lives of millions of people around the world.

The final round of competition will take place in September at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. A jury panel will select the annual Hult Prize winner and former president Bill Clinton will award the $1 million prize in seed capital for the social enterprise.

UCL’s winning team

The UCL team going through to the finals consists of Lincoln Lee (2nd year Biosciences), Ho Fung Kisum Chan (2nd year Biosciences), Julia Vannaxay (2nd year Statistical Science) and Pei Xuan Claire Lim (2nd year Biochemical Engineering). They’ll progress to the 8th annual regional finals of the competition taking place on 9 to 10 and 16 to 17 March 2018 in 16 cities around the globe.

The group aims to innovate the rice industry in South-East Asia with a solar-powered solution which aims to reduce the amount of rice wasted due to inefficiency within the supply chain. They’ll now advance as one of 1,000 university teams to compete at the Hult Prize Regional Finals in March.

On behalf of his team, Kisum Chan said:

"The Hult Prize @ UCL has been one of the most fruitful experiences for the whole team. Despite meeting everyone for the first time three weeks prior to the competition, the intense demand of time, focus and determination quickly catalysed the formation of a true team. We’re excited to compete and represent UCL in the regional finals of the competition, which was only made possible with massive support from the Hult Prize @ UCL organising committee, UCL Innovation & Enterprise and Dr Evangelos Markopoulos."

Second place

In second place was William Davies (1st year Biochemical Engineering), Cai Linton (1st year Biochemical Engineering), Jil Ong (1st year Biochemical Engineering) and Jonathan Knight (1st year UCL Medical School). The team pitched a creative solution for harnessing solar power to turn algae into a bio-fuel for women in Kenya.

Third place

The team RanoSol, with Hanfei Lui (1st year School of Management), Ken Onda (1st year School of Management), Oscar Schilly (1st year School of Management) and Liuhonggu Chen (1st year Economics), took third place with their pitch of offering clean water filtration to reduce water scarcity in Madagascar.

Congratulations to all the teams who took part

Hult Prize Campus Director for UCL, Mascha Samkova, said: “A special thank you goes to the Hult Prize Global Director Callum Porter-Harris for visiting the first Hult Prize @ UCL competition and sharing advice and inspiration for all UCL students driven to become entrepreneurs with global social impact. We also thank Dr Evangelos Markopoulos and UCL Innovation & Enterprise for mentoring, coaching and supporting the UCL teams in launching their disruptive business ideas.

The Hult Prize at UCL congratulates all teams for their achievements and mission to innovate and change the world!”

UCL Innovation & Enterprise Business Acceleration Advisor, Yuliana Topazly, said: “UCL Innovation & Enterprise is delighted to support the Hult competition. It’s been very inspiring to hear the ideas that can make a real difference in the world. It’s also been encouraging to see such a diverse range of students entering the competition. We look forward to supporting all the teams that have taken part and of course the winning team for the regional finals.”

Following the regional finals, the winning team from UCL will advance to an intensive eight-week summer business incubator. They’ll receive mentorship and advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set up to launch their new social business. 


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