SEMS Students Win Global Entrepreneurship Challenge - The Hult Prize 2020

15 May 2020

Team AlgaX: Ahmad, Abdinasir, Lucas and Marcos (L-R).
Team AlgaX: Ahmad, Abdinasir, Lucas and Marcos (L-R).
Team Stirla: Jawad, Agustin, Rami and Caumaghen (L-R) with Dr Evangelos Markopoulos (centre).
Team Stirla: Jawad, Agustin, Rami and Caumaghen (L-R) with Dr Evangelos Markopoulos (centre).
The Hult Prize is the largest socio-entrepreneurship student competition in the world. The 2019 Hult Prize Challenge was announced by President Bill Clinton at the United Nations. This was an invitation to student teams around the world to develop innovations that can be scaled to improve the lives of millions whilst having a positive impact on our planet.

The competition started with over 130,000 teams representing 150 countries and 3,500 universities in the first round (Sept-Dec 2019). Dr Evangelos Markopoulos, School of Business and Management (SBM), organised the competition at QMUL. Seventy two QMUL students participated in 18 teams. Five of our teams made it to the second (regional) round of the competition. The regional winners get to advance to the accelerator phase.

Ahmad Alquaid, 4th year Mechanical Engineering student (SEMS), competed in Team AlgaX with team members Lucas Bagdadi, Abdinasir Sharif and Marcos Ulloa from SBM. AlgaX made it to the accelerator phase and will be pitching their innovation to investors and high-tech companies in Boston (USA) in August this year. This is an amazing achievement. Only one in 200 teams participating in the regionals make it to the accelerator. To put this into context, in the 2018 competition only 2 UK teams made it to the accelerator (UCL and Oxford). In 2019, three UK teams made the accelerator (QMUL, Oxford and Cambridge).

This year, AlgaX will be competing in the accelerator phase with only one other UK team (from Imperial). AlgaX are developing sustainable modular photobioreactor algae panels for capturing CO2 emissions whilst producing Omega 3 oil and plant-based protein (super foods).

Six of the 30 teams that take part in the accelerator will be chosen to pitch their innovation at the United Nations in September 2020, with the chance of winning the Hult Prize Trophy and US$ 1,000,000. Well done AlgaX and best luck at the Global Accelerator. We are extremely proud of you at QMUL.

A big congratulations also to Team Stirla who came second in the Beirut (Lebanon) regionals. Stitla is composed entirely of SEMS MSc students – Rami Dagher, Agustin Guerrero Martinez, Caumaghen Sannassy and Jawad Sharqawi. Stirla combines evaporative cooling with organic gel dehumidifying filters to reduce drastically the energy consumption air conditioning units. Stirla are taking their product to market and are planning to start manufacturing their product in Aqaba (Jordan). Well done Stirla and best luck with your commercialisation plans.

On behalf of our students and colleagues at SEMS; a big Thank You to Dr Markopoulos and his team of volunteers for supporting all the QMUL teams and making this happen. It is worth noting that Dr Markopoulos is the only coach in the Hult Prize history to send teams to the accelerator 3 years in a row.

If you are a SEMS student and would like to take part in the next rounds of the Hult Prize, Email Dr Yousef Zawahreh.
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Contact:Dr Yousef Zawahreh

Updated by: Yousef Zawahreh