Media Releases

Team of Rotman Evening MBA Students Advances to Regional Finals for the Hult Prize

December 6, 2017

Toronto, ON – A team of students from the Evening MBA program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management have won the UofT quarterfinal qualifying round to advance to the regional finals of the Hult Prize, the world’s largest student competition for social entrepreneurs.

Purifire, consisting of Daniel Weng, Andrea Lo, Nirusan Rajakulendran, and Michael Bosompra, all from the Rotman MBA Class of 2020, will advance to the regional finals to be held in March 2018. The goal of the Hult Prize is to launch a start-up enterprise that can radically change the world and breed the next generation of social entrepreneurs. This year’s challenge focuses on harnessing the power of energy through one of six dimensions: food, water, mobility, connectivity, education, and health. The world has enough latent capacity for energy-powered innovation to shift the trajectory of global development and needs more disruption that taps into those energy-powered innovations and transforms lives not only among the ultra-poor, but across every economic stratum in society.

“The caliber of ideas presented at this year’s competition was exceptional. The panel of judges contributed invaluable insights in both rounds of pitches. Our speakers, Paul Klein, Founder and CEO of Impakt and Prof. Nouman Ashraf, provided inspiration and much food for thought for those interested in careers in social innovation and sustainability,” says Shonakshi Chaubal, MBA’18, who is the Hult Prize Campus Director at the University of Toronto.

Judges for the qualifying round included: Aisha Bukhari, Rotman MBA’15, from the Advanced Energy Centre at MaRS, who reached the final round of the Hult Prize in 2015 with Team Attollo; Jacky Magee, Director, Commercial Software Engineering at Microsoft Canada; Roy Houkayem, MBA’17, who participated in the Hult Prize Regionals in Shanghai in 2016; Richard Lu, President and CEO of Abundant Solar Energy Inc.; Jen Robinson, Client Director at Public Inc.; Gonzalo Duarte, Annex Manager with the Centre for Social Innovation; Ryan Collins-Swartz, Social Impact Manager at TREC; Farid Sharifi, Rotman MBA’11,  Lead Specialist, Renewable Energy at WWF-Canada; and Kathleen Gnocato, Manager, Utility Transformation Program, Advanced Energy Centre, MaRS.

Teams from the University of Toronto have succeeded in previous years of the competition. In 2015, Team Attollo, composed of MBA students and alumni from the Rotman School, reached the global final. The 2016 challenge saw four UofT teams reach the regional finals held in Dubai, San Francisco, London UK and Shanghai. In the 2017 competition held earlier this year, three UofT teams advanced to the regional finals, with two of those teams composed of Rotman students.

For more information on the Hult Prize, please visit

The Rotman School of Management is located in the heart of Canada’s commercial and cultural capital and is part of the University of Toronto, one of the world’s top 20 research universities. The Rotman School fosters a new way to think that enables our graduates to tackle today’s global business and societal challenges.  For more information, visit


Ken McGuffin
Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto
Tel: 416-946-3818