MBA students vie for prestigious Hult Prize

Monday, 29 April 2013  Features

Worldwide business school event, the Hult Prize offers a group of winning students the chance to make their start-up business idea a reality. The prize rewards social entrepreneurship and this year's brief is for students to pitch a business solution to the food security challenges of urban slum dwellers around the world.

Current AGSM MBA students Des Viranna, Stephane Verhaeghe, Coco Liu, Dimitry Tran and Belinda Pratten are competing for the prize with their entry 'Good Food'.

The group have come up with an idea that uses cutting-edge food and packaging science to provide three nutritious meals a day at a price affordable for those living in urban slums.

"Coming from an MBA perspective, we wanted to create an idea that is commercially viable and scalable to 200 million people quickly. Our idea is to bring the convenience and health benefits of retort-packed meals from the western market to the slum dwellers who need it most," says Dimitry Tran.

The group's research found that instant noodles is the most popular food product worldwide with 90 billion packs consumed globally each year. While affordable and convenient for slum dwellers, instant noddles lack nutritional value.

The group's idea was to create a product that is as affordable and convenient as instant noodles with adequate nutrition.

"While shopping in Asia, I noticed a 'Curry Chicken with Rice' food pack on the shelf. The product was made by a company in India, using the retort pouch technology, which keeps a cooked meal fresh for 18 months without refrigeration or preservatives. Our further research showed that the technology was invented by the US Army to replace food canning," says Dimitry.

"Most of the food packs on the market today are made in Asian countries and exported to Western countries at a retail price of $3-$5 each. By reverse engineering the financial data of a listed company that manufacture this food pack, we found that the pack is manufactured at below 50 cents. And most of the mark-up to retail price goes to shipping, marketing, packaging and profits."

Watch the video pitch for 'Good Food' and don't forget to vote.

AGSM Net Impact Club members Nikee Pomper, Ed Lee, Gibert Ponlot, Carol Kong, and Steven Forson are also entering the Hult Prize with their entry Simunye Grow. You can view and vote for their video here.