For Us By Us: Global Diaries is an initiative brought in partnership with the Hult Prize Foundation that is bringing to light the incredible behind-the-scenes stories that are occurring across the globe with young entrepreneurs trying to change the world through impact.
The Hult Prize Central Team starts organizing the Regional Summits in November usually. They start looking for venues, regional directors, and picking countries to host the 25+ summits. I hosted this years’ London Regional Summit but my journey didn’t begin in November. It started over three years ago.
My Origin Story
In the fall of 2015, I moved to London to pursue my BBA at Hult International Business School. There was an information session organized to talk about this weird competition and I decided to attend. Suddenly, I am bombarded with words like “Bill Clinton,” “United Nations,” “1 million dollars,” “poverty,” “solving pressing world issues.” I was raised in a very small town in north Argentina. It’s a very poor part of the country where I witnessed first hand the struggles of Argentineans and Argentineans aborigines alike.
Finding myself now in London and hearing all this “nonsense” was overwhelming, to say the least. I knew couldn’t miss the chance. In my head, I laid out a plan: I will be at Hult for 3 years. The first year I won´t win of course. In year 2, I may or may not win, but I will learn even more. By year 3, I will either make it or make it.”
I called my dad excited about this amazing new opportunity.
“Daddy, do you see this? A 6 weeks program surrounded by experts that are there ONLY to make your company happen. It is just amazing!!”
From Participant to Volunteer to Regional Director
I entered the competition my first year but as predicted, I didn’t win. However, instead of continuing with the competitions, I began volunteering for the Regionals every year. By my third year, I got to attend the Global Accelerator in London as a volunteer which lead me to the Global Finals in New York. Fast forward three years later, I am now living in Mexico, working at Hult Prize full time.
This year, I was offered London’s Regional Director position. Can you believe it?
Since the planning for Regional Summits began in November, I had to accommodate my time around London time since I was still based in Mexico. It was a challenge because of the 7-hour time difference. I would wake up with my inbox bursting with emails, and I had to answer them immediately before nightfall reached London. It was grueling work, having to work for Mexico and London at the same time, with the different tasks and schedules.
Getting the Team Ready
I arrived in London two weeks before the event to get the team ready. I had not been there since my graduation 7 months prior. My first day of work at Hult in London was emotional. I felt right at home.
On my very first day, I met my #1 star, Adria. He had been selected as the Social Media Lead for the London Regional Summit and we had some calls before I arrived in London. But meeting him in person was a completely different experience. His joyful energy added so much value to our Regional. While I was there I recruited my second star, Lindy, who came on board as an intern.
My Regional Advisor and good friend, Callum, always says “build your core team first. That is the most important part. Make sure you train them well”. He could not be closer to the truth. Lindy and Adria worked with me every day. They took care of editing documents, arranging the printing, shopping list, schedules and so much more, including making sure I don’t forget to eat. Without these two people, the London Regional Summit would not have been the same. My advice to all other Regional Directors to come “have people around you who you can trust. Make sure they are proactive and problem-solvers, you will need them.”
Meet my stars, Adria and Lindy
The Night Before
The night before the event, my team and I, including Callum and Ricardo stayed up late ensuring everything was ready. During the day, Spencer from the U.S, Brandon from Wales, and Patty from Paraguay joined us. It was a long night of pizza, printers, and schedules. It was stressful and fun all at the same time.
Friday is here and I can’t believe it. The volunteers arrive and we prepare the set-up. We have our last run-through to ease our doubts. I thanked my team for all their hard work, but how do really thank people who are you giving you their time, their most valuable asset? We checked everything around the campus to make sure it was ready.
We were ready.
Teams started to arrive at lunchtime. 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 amazing operations volunteer, Melissa, ensured that every volunteer was in their spot and doing their job. With the exception of an IT mishap that got corrected quickly, the day went smoothly.
I got the chance to share my own Hult Prize journey with the teams present. They are encouraged to network, meet people, share and learn. They may be just one winner by the end of the weekend, but it’s only the beginning for all the teams present.
Day 2 aka THE BIG DAY
The teams are half excited and half nervous, you can see it in their faces, the illusion of what is yet to come. Pitching time!!
I was next to one pitch room organizing some next steps when the first team comes out. First pitch of the day is done. It gave me this weird feeling of “it is just 6 minutes for them”, could not help but remember the Final’s Video Insert link.
When breakfast was over, the previous suspicious of having so much food, became a fact. We had SO much food. It was a moment that highlighted what kind of people are attracted to Hult Prize. Team members and volunteers put up a plan, contacted Homeless Shelters and some apps that collect food and donate it. We donated ALL extra food. NOTHING WAS WASTED. I am so proud of my entrepreneurs.
During the Final Pitches, the room was filled with anxiety and enthusiasm, you could almost taste it. Our prestigious set of judges now had to choose the winner of the fast pass to the Global Accelerator Program. We had the honor of hearing some word from the President of Hult International Business School and Chairman of Hult Prize, Stephen Hodges, who also took on the role of a judge for the Final event.
All Top 6 teams were amazing, making the judges’ choice difficult. Our dearest Riaz Shah went up on stage to announce the Top 2 Teams and invite them to the stage. We do crowd voting on who the favorite is before the judges announce the winner but we were all wrong. “We decided to take both of them to the Accelerator” Riaz announces and everyone goes crazy. The choice was so difficult that it was impossible to choose.
The event is over and I am happy, it was a successful Regional with two great winners. Three years ago, I imagined many things would happen but never this. Hult Prize changed me on so many levels that I cannot put into words. What now? I had my flight the very next day to Santo Domingo to run my second Regional Summit. This is just the beginning.