From coming up with innovative business ideas that will impact the food industry to progressively working on making the idea into reality, participants of the Hult Prize at Tokyo International University prepared for the six-minute pitch that would determine a position for them in the Hult Prize Regionals.
The On-Campus Program of Hult Prize at Tokyo International University was conducted for the first time this year by a group of dedicated students led by Campus Director, Sabrina Tiffany. The event was conducted to motivate students on social entrepreneurship and the significance of the Hult Prize in general. The past few months have been very productive in terms of hosting events that would motivate students to become social entrepreneurs, learn how to build their innovative idea into a business pitch, and also present the pitch to a group of investors or a group of judges in the case of the competition, within a six-minute timeframe.
Hult Prize at Tokyo International University opened registration to the students in the university at the beginning of September. Throughout the registration process, different sessions were conducted that would inspire students to join the Hult Prize and the significant changes that they can make for the benefit of society with the $1 million cash prize. The Organizing Committee hosted information sessions, networking sessions, and team matching sessions during the registration period. From that point, they conducted career coaching and also collective and one-to-one mentorship sessions that would train students to think like social entrepreneurs and compile their ideas to form a six-minute business pitch.
The moment that the students would ultimately present their pitch got closer to the day of the final pitch scheduled on the 22nd of November, 2020. As the day had arrived, students were ready and motivated to present their pitch, knowing well that going through the mentoring sessions and the countless days of continuous effort in putting everything together would be paid off. Their pitches were ruled by 7 judges who held notable positions in the industries they work.
The judges present in the event were Marton Lendvai, Tamako Watanabe, Rita Monteiro, Kristina Yasuda, Mona Neuhauss, Alexis R. Rocamora, and John Kojiro Moriwaka. Mr. Marton Lendvai is the CEO of TOO international, which provides market development services and focuses on services to companies in the food industry. Mrs. Tamako Watanabe is a Specialist of Impact Business Creation at Japan Research Institute, which provides information services such as information systems, consulting, and think tank services that are targeted to business development. Mrs. Rita Monteiro acts on her role as the Head of Sustainability at Amazon Japan. Kristina Yasuda, who is an Identity Standard Architect at Microsoft, was featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Japan last year. Mrs. Mona Neuhauss is the Founder of No Plastic Japan, a company that aims to reduce the disposal of plastic goods for a more sustainable environment. Additionally, Mr. Alexis R. Rocamora is a Senior Consultant on Sustainability Climate Change at EY Japan, and Mr. John Kojiro Moriwaka is the Founder and Director of Startup Grind Fukuoka, an advisor of startups and accelerators, and also a motivational speaker.
The final event began at 12.30 pm with 14 teams competing for the title of the winners of the Hult Prize at Tokyo International University. Each team had to present their business pitch in under six minutes, concluding with a four-minute Q&A session with the judges for more analysis on the pitch. The majority of the teams participating that day could offer many amazing ideas that would be innovative and could potentially create an impact on society. Their performance left the judges with the very challenging decision of choosing the winners at the end.
After all of the teams had pitched their ideas, the judges came to a mutual decision.
The team that was ranked third in the event was Roots, which was presented by a team of three: Amelinda Agus, Angela Wibowo, and Geraldine Gunawan. Their pitch was about implementing a digital food ecosystem that would offer B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2C (Business-to-Customer) features to their users and would act as a marketplace that would also provide quality control, payment facilities, and customer service.
The team which was ranked second was SeaPal that was pitched by a team of four: Nicholas Widodo, Jeihan Aurrell, M. Sulthon Prabowo, and Nada Salsabila. Their pitch addresses solving the problem of wasting fish due to lack of consumption by providing an online platform and a hub for fisherman and consumers, reducing the length of the supply chain, and also impacting a large population of stakeholders in the process.
The team that was declared the winner of the Hult Prize at TIU On-campus Program was H2OGrow, which was pitched by a team of four: Nama Nyachhyon, Shreya Data, Vaamika Sinha, and Roja Kamiyama. Their pitch showed a concept of combining Hydroponics and Aquaculture to ensure sustainable growth of vegetables and fish, and the company would serve as an intermediary between farmers and consumers of fish and vegetables. The team was selected to participate in the Hult Prize Regionals held next year, and we all wish them good fortune on advancing to the Hult Prize flagship competition hosted by the United Nations next year.
It has been not only an amazing journey for the participants, but also for the judges, sponsors, the audience who witnessed the final pitch, and also the organizing committee led by a group of students who were determined to lead and organize the very first Hult Prize event at Tokyo International University. To review more details on the Hult Prize at Tokyo International University On-Campus Program and the final pitch recorded broadcast, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages listed below:
Written by: Nilusha Kachchakaduge