Syracuse Hosting Hult Prize Regional Impact Competition

On Friday, April 9, Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars will virtually host approximately three dozen teams from 19 countries and all five continents for the prestigious Hult Prize Regional Impact Summit competition. This year’s Hult Prize 2021 Challenge is centered around the theme “Food for Good.” Hult Prize Impact Summits are hosted in 100 locations around the world, and this year Syracuse is one of only three regional hosts in North America. Winners of the regional campus entrepreneurial competitions go on to compete in the global competition hosted by the United Nations, with that winner receiving a $1 million seed capital grant.

The Syracuse University campus director of the Summit is Claire Howard ’23 (Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Policy), a Global Fellow at the Syracuse University LaunchPad. The day-long event will kick-off with keynote speaker Catherine Bertini, Professor Emeritus from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, at 9:30 AM EST.  Bertini is the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate and long-time director of the World Food Programme which recently won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The distinguished panel of competition judges will include:

  • Adam Motiwala – Former global disaster information officer for the United Nations and former product manager of International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Motiwala is the current Senior Product Owner of Fifth Tribe, a digital agency that serves government agencies and nonprofits.
  • Ryan Riegg – An experienced lawyer and founder of startups, featured in major press outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and CNN, Riegg is an Innovation Fellow for Columbia Business School’s Entrepreneurship Center, mentor for the Hult Prize, and current senior associate in corporate law.
  • Sheryl Chamberlain –  Chamberlain serves as a chair on the Hult Prize Council and works as the Director of Global Alliances at Coupa Software. She’s experienced in strategic partnerships and business improvements and has sat on numerous boards such as Forbes Nonprofit Council and How Women Lead.
  • Kailesh Karavadra – Karavadra is the Global Coordinating partner for EY services of a major healthcare corporation and the San Jose Office Managing Principle. Born in Uganda and raised in India and the United Kingdom, he’s spent his career serving global clients with EY and helping them improve their business performance.
  • Ankha Marza –  Marza is an internationally renowned executive coach at SpeakYourPower and  has coached presidents and vice presidents of countries and corporations, Navy SEALs, royalty and government dignitaries, Hollywood celebrities, Fortune 500 Executives, global sales groups, nonprofit organizations, young entrepreneurs and startup founders, CEOs, and their teams in the US and worldwide.
  • Derek Wallace – CEO and Founder of Kalamata’s Kitchen, Wallace is a Syracuse University alumnus dedicated to creating a more open-minded generation of children through exploration of food and diversity of culture.
  • Catherine Bertini – An accomplished leader in international food organizational reform, Bertini is the former head of the United Nations World Food Programme and United Nations Under Secretary General. In 2003 she was named the World Food Prize Laureate for her transformational work in food access and policy. She has served as a Senior Fellow of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is currently chair of the board Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She is professor emeritus at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
  • Amjad Janjua  – Former committee member of the World Economic Forum and CEO of the Pakistan State Oil Company, Janjua is the President & CEO of the Business Council for Sustainable Development in Pakistan and works on projects to shape future policies for sustainable growth.
  • Ashok Mahbubani – Mentor for the Hult Prize, Mahbubani is the co-founder and CEO of the Multitronics Group, a business in the automotive electronics industry utilized to become a force for social good.
  • Ethan Tyo – A Syracuse University graduate student in food studies, Tyo is the author of his own cookbook Fetagetaboutit, which highlights a plant-based diet. He’s also worked with several global entrepreneurs and food companies in content creation and planning.

In between competition pitch rounds, presenters will share “Advice of a Lifetime” featuring Derrell Smith, a Syracuse alumnus, former NFL player, food show host for Mad Good Food, and founder and CEO of the culinary brand 99EATS, a virtual brand working to connect people through food, and William Wright, Senior Vice President of Global Product Innovation and EVP and Chief Operating Officer at Tupperware Brands.

The program also includes a musical interlude with performances by Syracuse University student band  NONEWFRIENDS and a networking panel moderated by two Syracuse University alumni and former LaunchPad Global Fellows and Hult Prize winners, Audrey Miller, and Amanda Chou.

A final round of pitches by the top six teams will begin at 4:15 PM EST and is open for public viewing with advance registration

Two of the teams competing in the Syracuse Hult Prize Regional Impact Summit competition include Syracuse University teams:

  • WaxPax Solutions, Erica Morrison ’21 (Whitman School of Management and Newhouse School of Public Communications), Lidia Menbaeva ’21 (College of Arts and Sciences) and Daniel Hamrahi ’21 (Whitman School of Management), a multi-purpose biodegradable packaging solution made from a proprietary blend of beeswax and cellulose that will help eliminate landfill waste in the food supply chain.
  • Cuapa Monde Conservation, Claire Chevalier ’24 (Whitman School of Management) and Sasha Temerte ’23 (College of Arts and Sciences), a consulting firm that seeks to develop universal standards for sustainable packaging, similar to the organic certification standard for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products, for producers and consumers of all consumer-packaged goods in the U.S. and European Union.

Another Syracuse University team will be competing in the April 19 Regional Impact Summit hosted by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst:

  • Gather, Nolan Kagan ’23 (Whitman School of Management)  a community-building web and mobile application to bring people of various ages and cultures around the world together to cook and share favorite recipes and conversation, first in the digital space and then in real life post-pandemic, to address social isolation while building cultural and social literacy among people who not might otherwise meet.

The Hult Prize Foundation transforms how young people envision their own possibilities as impact leaders of change in the world with a goal to create jobs, stimulate economies, reimagine supply chains, and improve outcomes for 10 million people by 2030.


SU Selected to Host Hult Prize Regional Competition

The prestigious Hult Prize Foundation has selected Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars (LaunchPad) to host the Hult Prize Regional Summit. Hult Prize Impact Summits are hosted in 100 locations around the world, and this year Syracuse is one of only three regional hosts in North America. Winners of the regional campus competitions go on to compete in the global competition at the United Nations. The competition, being held virtually this year due to COVID-19, will take place on April 9, 2021.

“This is an incredible honor and testament to Syracuse University’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship in a global community,” said David Seaman, Dean of Syracuse University Libraries and University Librarian. “We’re thrilled to provide a world-wide stage that demonstrates the caliber of our campus ecosystem and all that Syracuse University has to offer.”

The Syracuse University campus director of the Summit is Claire Howard ’23 (Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Policy), a member of the Blackstone LaunchPad. The day-long event will include an inspirational speaker, Professor Emeritus from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs Catherine Bertini.  Bertini is an accomplished leader in international organization reform, a powerful advocate for women and girls, the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate, and recent co-chair working under the United Nations. A distinguished panel of judges and speakers will be featured throughout the day.

The LaunchPad is seeking student volunteers to assist with project management, communications, and social media coordination for this event. Interested volunteers can email Claire Howard at clhoward@syr.edu. Those interested in viewing the speakers or the competition virtually can email launchpad@syr.edu for registration information. 

The Hult Prize Foundation transforms how young people envision their own possibilities as impact leaders of change in the world.  This year’s Hult Prize 2021 Challenge is centered around the theme “Food for Good.” The goal is to create jobs, stimulate economies, reimagine supply chains, and improve outcomes for 10 million people by 2030. Syracuse University’s LaunchPad will host 40 global teams, made up of 120 students. Winners of the regional competitions will move on to the global competition hosted by the United Nations, with that winner receiving a $1 million seed capital grant.

This year’s winner of the Hult Prize campus competition who will be going on to the global regionals is WaxPax Solutions, Erica Morrison ’21 (Whitman School of Management and Newhouse School of Public Communications), Lidia Menbaeva ’21 (College of Arts and Sciences), and Daniel Hamrahi ’21 (Whitman School of Management), for a multi-purpose biodegradable packaging solution made from a proprietary blend of beeswax and cellulose that will help eliminate landfill waste in the food supply chain.

Former Syracuse LaunchPad alumni who have competed in the Hult Prize Regionals include:


LaunchPad Accepting Applications for Fall 2020 Competitions

Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars is now accepting online applications for Fall 2020 competitions. The universal application for the three competitions, with more than $25,000 in prizes, are for innovative or creative solutions to address problems or opportunities. Competitions are open to all undergraduate and graduate students from any academic program. In addition to the online application, registrants must provide a one-page business statement. The three LaunchPad competitions this Fall are:

  • ‘Cuse Tank:  Applications close October 4 for this shark-tank style competition with $10,000 in prizes, scheduled to take place on October 16.
  • Impact Prize: Applications close November 1 for this social impact entrepreneurship competition to be held on November 13, with $15,000 in prizes.
  • Hult Prize: Applications close November 22 for this year’s social entrepreneurship competition themed “Food for Good.” Syracuse University’s competition to be held on December 4, with winner progressing to global regionals.

Over the past four years, Syracuse University students have won $3.4 million in campus, state, and national competitions and raised more than $25 million in equity funding for their ventures. Out of upwards of 800 ideas, SU students have incorporated more than 95 businesses and have used their experience to build skills and their resumes and find their dream jobs at top innovation companies around the world.


LaunchPad Student Teams Sweep Award Competitions, Winning Nearly $80,000 in Fall 2019

Numerous student startup teams from the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars in Bird Library (LaunchPad) have won business competitions and prizes totaling $79,500 this past fall 2019. The LaunchPad is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the entire University’s resource-rich ecosystem with a global net­work that provides support for aspiring innovators, entrepreneurs, inventors, and creators. “The LaunchPad remains a library service supporting all aspects of entrepreneurship, innovation, and invention, but it has also evolved into a community of innovators who have found their campus home in the SU Libraries,” said David Seaman, Dean of Libraries, University Librarian, and interim Dean of the School of Information Studies (iSchool).  “It has been a delight to watch teams of students learn a range of skills as they develop business ideas and support each other in their endeavors, even when they are competing.”

A recap of the fall 2019 competitions and top winners included:

  • Techstars LaunchPad Startup Weekend (sponsored by the LaunchPad and SU Libraries in September):
    • Qingkun Zhu G’20 (iSchool) and Gokul Beed ’21 (VPA) from HAUS won 1st place ($750) for their Internet of Things smart humidifier de­vice;
    • Justin Diaz ’23 (Engineering and Computer Science) from EcoBamboo Living won 2nd place ($250) for their energy-efficient, sustainable bamboo buildings.
  • ’Cuse Tank (sponsored by the LaunchPad and SU Libraries in October):
    • Brianna Howard ’20 (Falk College) and Nikita Chatterjee ’20 (Arts & Sciences) from PAANI won 1st place ($7,000), for their clean water filtration system;
    • Justin Diaz ’23 (Engineering and Computer Science) from EcoBamboo Living won 2nd place ($3,000) for their energy-efficient, sustainable bamboo buildings;
    • Patrick Prioletti ’21 (iSchool) of Thinc-Hub, a platform to connect startup ventures with innovations ecosystems, and Clinton Garrahan ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science)  and Davis Mutware (Engineering and Computer Science – Science and Technology Entrance Program STEP) from FreeSwing Power Source, a portable device to produce electricity, each won $500 in a wild card round.
  • Orange Tank (sponsored by Whitman School of Manage­ment in November):
    • Kelsey Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G’20 (Whitman) and Brendan O’Keeffe ’21 (iSchool) from CLLCTVE won the grand prize ($25,000) for their digital platform connect­ing college creatives and brands;
    • Other top cash prizes went to Matt Shumer ’22 (Whitman) from Visos, 1st place ($4,000) for their enterprise virtual reality system;
    • Nicholas Barba ’20 (Whitman) and David Fox ’22 (College of Law) from Modern Systems won 2nd place ($2,500) for their smart home network. 
    • Top alumni cash prizes went to LaunchPad alumni Jose Javier Garcia Rovira ’19 (Whitman) and Quentin Rosso ’18 (Whitman), who won 1st prize ($4,000) for Gamercraft, their performance training ecosystem for collegiate and professional eSports;
    • Alumni Daniel Fridliand ’18 (Whitman) and Dylan Sen from Awning won 2nd place ($2,500) for their app that uses biometric data to administer stress relief through the form of guided meditation and breathing exercises.
  • Regional Qualifier for Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (held in Buffalo, NY in November):
    • Quinn King ’20 (VPA) from MedUX won 1st place ($7,500) with their innovative medical products through user-centered design. Quinn King will be advancing to the national competition for Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in the Silicon Valley February 10-12, 2020.
    • Nikita Chatterjee ’20 (Arts & Sciences) from PAANI won 2nd place ($2,000) for their clean water filtration systems.
  • Impact Prize Pitch Competition (sponsored by Syracuse University Libraries in November):
    • Brianna Howard ’20 (Falk College) and Nikita Chatterjee ’20 (Arts & Sciences), co-founders of PAANI, won 1st place ($5,000) for their clean water filtration system;
    • Caleb Obiagwu ’20 (Engineering and Computer Science) and Zachariah Reid ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science) from AttendPro, a device that improves maintenance work-flow, won 2nd place ($2,500);
    • Daniel Green ’21(Information Studies) from DreamConnect, a platform that optimizes the college experience for underrepresented students of color by facilitating culture, collaboration, and connectivity for student organizations across campuses; and Clinton Garrahan ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science)   and Davis Mutware (Engineering and Computer Science – Science and Technology Entrance Program STEP) from FreeSwing Power Source, a portable device to produce electricity, tied for 3rd place, each winning $1,250.
  • Hult Prize (sponsored by the LaunchPad and Syracuse University Libraries in November): 
    • Justin Diaz ’23 (Engineering and Computer Science) from EcoBamboo Living won 1st place and a trip to the global regionals for their energy-efficient, sustainable bamboo buildings;
    • Clinton Garrahan ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science) and Davis Mutware (Engineering and Computer Science – Science and Technology Entrance Program STEP) from FreeSwing Power Source won 2nd place and an alternate trip to the global regionals for their portable device to produce electricity.
  • Blackstone LaunchPad Techstars PROPEL (global competition held in New York City in November):
    • Kelsey Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G’20 (Whitman) and Brendan O’Keeffe ’21 (iSchool) from CLLCTVE won 2nd place ($10,000) for their digital platform connect­ing college creatives and brands.
Caucasian male in shirt and jacket and African male in embroidered shirt next to sign that reads "Hult Prize"
Clinton Garrahan and Davis Mutware of FreeSwing Power Source, 2nd place winners
Latinx male student in shirt and jacket next to sign that reads "Hult Prize"
Justin Diaz of EcoBamboo Living, 1st place winner
three students wearing white t-shirts with word PAANI next to Dean Seaman, standing in front of sandwich board sign that says "The Impact Prize"
PAANI team members Nikita Chatterjee, Jacob Sardino (SUNY ESF), and Brianna Howard with David Seaman, Dean of the SU Libraries
Caucasian male and Indian female students both holding giant checks
Quinn King of MedUX and Nikita Chatterjee of PAANI, winners of the Regional Qualifier for Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards held in Buffalo, NY
African American female and Caucasian male students both wearing navy blue t-shirts with word CLLCTVE in orange letter. Students are holding giant check for $10,000
Kelsey Davis and Brendan O’Keefe of CLLCTVE at Blackstone LaunchPad Techstars PROPEL global competition in New York City