UNSW Business School students dig deep at Hult Prize with DIY soil testing kit
Friday, 8 June 2018
Photo: Alan Nguyen, Tanya Han and Gary Liang
Three UNSW Business School students have travelled to Mexico to pitch their world-changing ideas in the Hult Prize, the largest student competition and start-up accelerator in the world. The Hult Prize brings together talented university students from around the globe to address critical social issues with sustainable social enterprises. The challenge for the young entrepreneurs this year was to harness the power of energy to impact 10 million lives by 2025. The winning team have the chance to launch their for-good for-profit business with $1 million in seed capital.
Current UNSW Business School students Tanya Han, Gary Liang, and Alan Nguyen competed against 67 teams in the regional final in Mexico City. After months of hard work, the group came up with an idea to tackle the lack of arable land in Sub-Saharan Africa.
"SoilCare is a DIY soil testing kit that aims to provide an affordable, accessible and easy to use tool for smallholder farmers to test their soil and identify the nutrient deficiencies," says Tanya Han.
Issues with soil affect the productive capacity of smallholder farmers and reinforce cycles of food shortage and poverty.
"SoilCare would also act as a resource for farmers to create a plan of action to address their soil issues, through a text-message based chatbot soil expert."
The regional final took place at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, where students had the chance to hear from Hult Prize founder Ahmad Ashkar and meet the other competing teams.
"This was an incredible experience that allowed us to meet with like-minded young people from all over the world to share our thoughts on sustainable social entrepreneurship and discuss all things energy.
"We're grateful to UNSW Business School for supporting us on this journey and would absolutely encourage other UNSW teams to enter the Hult Prize in the future."
The team narrowly missed out on progressing to the finals, but received valuable advice for their social enterprise idea from the judges and mentors.