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