My Origin Story
In 2017, I graduated from my university with a Bachelor in Accounting and I was ready to pursue my career as an auditor. I was even considering sitting for the Australia CPA program. Before leaving university, I wanted to do something special, life-changing, outside the box, something that can benefit my community. My passion and determination led me to look for new opportunities at my university, which lead me to the Hult Prize.
I decided to bring the Hult Prize to my university. In September 2017, I got the Directorship from Nelly and I was super excited for the project. I made sure that the whole university knew about the program and every team was super clear about the case challenge. We conducted many workshops and I was overwhelmed to see so many teams turning up and showing unprecedented interest and support for our event. We had a phenomenal campus event and I was acknowledged as one of the top 3 Campus Director Globally. What an honor! Our team was super thrilled.
During that year, I had the chance to attend the Impact Retreat held at the Castle. It was such a great experience meeting all the likeminded people so passionate about impact. It was an honor and a totally fun learning experience meeting awesome minds with beautiful hearts. I learned one important lesson about life that I didn’t learn at my university. I realized that, even if we have a minimal amount of resources, we should make them accessible to everyone. I felt empowered and realized that this is my true passion and this is what I have to do. I quit my full-time job in PWC and decided to help and inspire the youth to pursue a career in social entrepreneurship. I believe if we can incorporate the SDGs in social entrepreneurship, we can create a new business model, one that includes sustainable development, and bring us close to peace and large-scale prosperity.
Campus Director to Regional Director
I was fortunate enough to travel to the UN Final and saw the best teams in the world pitch their idea for the million dollar prize. I was even lucky enough to meet the former USA President Bill Clinton. In that event, my good buddy Callum Porter-Harris offered me the Kuala Lumpur Regional Director Position. I couldn’t believe what he just said. I was offered to run a Hult Prize Regional Summit where more than 200 attendees from 35+ countries, will be pitching their ideas to win USD 1,000,000 in seed funding. It’s an amazing opportunity but I knew it’s going to be a difficult task yet I accepted it without hesitation.
Getting the Core Team Ready
I had previous experience with a Regional summit and knew it’s not a one-man show. So I knew I needed to pick a reliable and trustworthy team with flexible hours. “Build your core team first. That is the most important part. Make sure you train them well,” my Regional Advisor told me. He could not be closer to the truth. So I reached out to some of the best student leaders from different universities and offered them the opportunity to join the core team.
During my first week in Kuala Lumpur, I arranged a meeting with the core team, who were super excited and added so much value to our Regional. I trained them and assigned them roles based on their skills, expertise, and interest.
Then we started recruiting volunteers for the summit. More than 250 applicants wanted to join but we could only pick the best 40 and train them well before the summit, ensuring they were super clear about the Summit’s proceedings.
The night before the Summit
OMG! Can’t believe the day had finally arrived. The volunteers arrive really early and we had a final briefing session with them. We have our last run-through to ease our doubts. I thanked my team for all their hard work and dedication. We checked everything around the venue to make sure it was ready. We had our final pizza party. It was showtime!! Looking back, I realized I didn’t have to do much during the day because my team knew what to do. They were on top of everything. My core team ensured that every volunteer was in their spot and doing their job. Participants started coming at 3:30 pm. There were more than 200 entrepreneurs coming from all over the world, representing 40 universities. I got the chance to share my own Hult Prize journey with the teams present during the opening ceremony. I got so excited that I forgot to use my slides. Callum explained later and backed me up. The guests were then encouraged to network, meet people, share and learn.
The night before the event was a bit hectic. We had to stay really late to arrange the venue and get all the folders done. We were so glad to see all the volunteers making friends and working together side by side. We were accompanied by Callum, Priya from the Global Leadership Team and Hiro, our Japan Regional Director. We also ran a simulation and it was a lot of fun. It was stressful yet fun all at the same time.
It’s a huge day for the participants. They came so early which made me realize that they were very excited and nervous at the same time. During the Final Pitches, the room was filled with anxiety and enthusiasm, I could almost feel it. The teams got the chance to pitch in front of 12 world class judges representing different organizations from different sectors. We had around 53 pitches happening throughout the day, culminating the effort and work these teams have been putting in for the last 4 months.
All Top 6 teams were amazing, making the judges’ choice difficult. Our 6 honorable judges went up on stage to announce the Top 6 Teams and invite them to pitch their plan. After this our prestigious set of judges now had to choose the winner of the fast pass to the Global Accelerator Program. It wasn’t easy and it took 2 hours for the judges to decide after looking from every possible angle. In the end, judges declared Team AgriLab from the University of Ghana the Kuala Lumpur Regional Champion. AgriLab is an innovative social enterprise that seeks to revolutionize agricultural productivity in Africa by utilizing the synergy of high yield and data. We went to the main auditorium from the judging room. It was around 11 pm and everyone should be tired. But I can’t believe my eyes. All 50 teams were there and most of them were dancing at the stage with the volunteers. Judges and core teams were so surprised and emotional to see everyone there waiting for the results. We went on the stage and Lakeesha Ransom one of our rockstar judges announced the winner.
Hult Prize changed me on so many levels that I cannot put into words. My experience running the Kuala Lumpur Regional Summit highlighted how the Hult Prize has impacted my life in the last 2 years. In less than 2 months, I had a fantastic core team, got 40 volunteers and trained them, got 53 teams came from different parts of the world and everyone worked side by side to create a movement. I was completely blown away by the core team and volunteers engage with the teams and judges. This is the highlight of the KL Regional summit. Just remember these Legends; Rijve, Rashmi, Idrees, Shayka, Kai Jing, Shitab. I owe it to my team and I miss them so much. What now? In the next couple of weeks, I will be traveling to Manila and Mumbai to help my fellow Hult Prize teammates. The Kuala Lumpur Regional Summit is over but the new Chapter of Impact just begun!