Article contributed by Jaime Zulueta
Our journey to the Hult Regional Finals began in Singapore in December 2017, at the local qualification round. Out of numerous business entries in Nanyang Technological University, only ten were chosen to present. Luckily, Team PH was among them.
We decided to present a business model specifically for the Philippines where we identified an underserved market in resettlement communities. Resettlement housing is socialized housing provided to the landless and those devastated by natural and man-made calamities. The problem with resettlement communities was that there are limited income opportunities in these areas. We believed that Vertical Bottle Farming was a solution to this problem.
To our surprise, this idea made first runner up in the local round. We were quite happy as our business pitch was not reliant on technology compared to many of the presented ideas. Initially, Team PH thought this was the end of the Hult journey as we assumed only the first place team would go on to the next round. To our amazement, we received an email in January 2018 notifying us of our selection to go to Melbourne in March 2018. As we only had two weeks to confirm, we immediately contacted the Nanyang Business School for financial support. Once we confirmed this, we booked our tickets and sent our confirmation to the Hult Prize Committee.
February was very busy as this was the end of the 2nd semester at NTU. Many of us had internships, exams, and school requirements. However, we found time to work on our business pitch. We contacted Ruo Mei Chua, one of the judges who had shown interest in our group during the local round. She provided us with valuable insights which we gladly took into our presentation.
On the eve of the competition in March, we boarded a nearly 8-hour overnight flight from Changi to Tullamarine. We arrived in Melbourne at 6am, had a quick breakfast at Hungry Jack’s (the Australian Burger King) and immediately headed to the city to begin working on our presentation.
The first day of the competition was filled with talks from previous finalists and participants of the Hult Prize. They shared their experiences during and after their time at the Hult competition. In addition, we had the chance to listen to various entrepreneurs.
The second and last day of Hult was reserved for the various pitches. We were picked to go first which we thought went quite well. Sadly, we did not make it to the next pitch round which included the top 6 pitches. From the 6, one was chosen to go to the incubation stage in July 2018. The winner was a team from North America. They presented a business idea of farming algae to be used in cow feeds which would potentially reduce the methane produced by the cows.
Overall, the competition was a great venue to experience a new city, meet various students from around the world, and listen and share great business ideas. The learning experience cannot be matched compared to attending and sitting in classes. We were able to apply lessons from Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship. This event added to the beauty and learning of the MBA program.
All this would not have been possible without the Hult Prize Committee, and support from Nanyang Business School. As such, a big thank you goes out to these two.