Media Releases

University of Toronto Team Advances to Regional Final of the Hult Prize

December 14, 2016

Toronto, ON – Teams of students with an interest in social entrepreneurship gathered at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management on December 3 to participate in the quarterfinal qualifying round for the Hult Prize. The prize is a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurship which brings together the brightest college and university students from around the globe to solve the world’s most pressing issues. The student teams drawn from a wide range of faculties at UofT tackled the competition’s challenge of “Refugees – Reawakening Human Potential and Restoring the Dignity of 10M People by 2022” which focuses on restoring the rights and dignity of people and societies who may be, or are forced into motion due to social injustices, politics, economic pressures, climate change and war.

The winners of the UofT competition was Team Journey composed of three Rotman MBA students and a UofT Master of Engineering student who developed a substitute for firewood made from recycled coffee grounds which could be used to alleviate the fuel and firewood shortage in many refugee camps in Africa. Matthew Frehlich, MEng’16; Lucas Siow, MBA’18; Sam Bennett, MBA’18; and, Gowtham Ramachandran, MBA’18, will advance to one of the Hult Prize regional finals to be held in March.

“The caliber of ideas coming out of this year’s competition was exceptional. The panel of judges contributed invaluable insights in both rounds of pitches. Our speakers, Rod Lohin, Executive Director of the Michael Lee-Chin Family Institute for Corporate Citizenship and Prof. Nouman Ashraf, provided motivation and much food for thought for anyone looking to make their mark with a career in innovation and sustainability,” says Tina Assi, MBA’17, who is the Hult Prize Campus Director at the University of Toronto.

Judges for the qualifying round included Aisha Bukhari, a Rotman MBA graduate with Attolo SE Inc., who reached the final round of the Hult Prize in 2015; Assaf Weisz, Co-founder & Managing Director of Purpose Capital; Astrum Nanji, founder and managing director at Lux Equity; Hamoon Ekhtiari, Director of Strategy and Innovation for the Executive Vice President at TELUS; Jacky Magee, Director of Developer Audience Experience for Microsoft Canada; Jamal Khayyat, a Rotman MBA graduate who was the Hult Prize Campus Director at the University of Toronto in 2015/16; Ted Graham, Head of Open Innovation at General Motors; and, Zahra Ebrahim, a co-leader of Doblin’s Canada practice.

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


For more information:

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