For Us By Us: Global Diaries – Toronto Edition

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 entrepreneurship journey is long and tough. I started mine 5 years ago as a 3rd-year pharmacy student when I began to lose interest in what I was studying. My curiosity led me to look for new opportunities at my university, through different eyes.

I discovered more about myself during the process, realizing that I’m passionate about improving things, taking initiatives, and relieving other’s pains.
One day, I was introduced to something called the Hult Prize by one of my professors. Three months later, I found myself in England, attending my first Hult Prize retreat.

During the retreat, I felt empowered. I realized that I am not the only one with the same passion or drive. There are many others that walked the path I was trying to take and found success.

That day, particularly during a moment when each one of us was sharing their experience I knew instinctively that I was going in the right direction. However, my trajectory was not common at the time in my country or my community.

I started as a volunteer with Hult Prize for a year and a half. I then began expanding Hult Prize into my country and got the chance to run a Hult Prize Regional Summit there with more than 200 attendees from 35+ countries, pitching their ideas to win USD 1,000,000 in seed funding.

This year I was appointed to be the Regional Director of the Toronto & San Francisco Regional Summits. While a difficult challenge, I accepted it without hesitation. The fact that I’ve never been to these two cities was just an added bonus.

I spent the previous weekend in Toronto, where more than 200 entrepreneurs coming from all over the world and representing 40 universities came to pitch. We pulled off a life-changing summit for our student entrepreneurs, which was only possible due to our collaboration with New York University.

The teams got the chance to pitch in front of 12 world class judges representing different organizations from different sectors. We had around 40 pitches happening throughout the day, culminating the effort and work these teams have been putting in for the last 5 months

Afterward, there was a round of pitches for the top 6 teams at MaRs Discovery District, the biggest entrepreneurship hub in North America. The judges selected team Ozé from Harvard University, and they will be spending the summer at the Hult Prize Accelerator Program in London. The Accelerator allows participants to develop their startup and then pitch at the United Nations for USD 1 million in seed funding.

My experience running the Toronto Regional Summit highlighted how Hult Prize has impacted my life in the last 4 years. In less than 2 months, I recruited and trained 27 volunteers, secured a partnership with New York University, prepared all logistics needed for the 2 days event, and closed a deal with MaRs Discovery District. I did all of this while I was in another country and never having visited Toronto. Hult Prize taught me is that the impossible is not an existing thing. Through hustling and persisting you can get whatever you want.

Next week I have a new challenge: running the San Francisco Regional Summit. But after the great achievements in Toronto, I am ready for San Francisco.

At the end of the Toronto Summit, a student came to me and said “I have been studying for 4 years and this is my last one. This is the best things that happened to me during my university experience.” His words made me proud of what I do and it reminds me why we do it. We want to impact the lives of these students, and with the ripple effect, the world!

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