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Feb 26, 2018

Harnessing the Power of Ideas: The Hult Prize Challenge

By Aarondeep (Aaron) S. Bains and Nicholas Smith

For the first time since its inception in 2009, the social entrepreneurship driven Hult Prize is coming to Canada. The annual Hult Prize Challenge, which has been featured by TIME Magazine as one of the “Top 5 Ideas Changing the World,” welcomes university students from around the world to solve some of the world’s most pressing development issues by launching for-good, for-profit businesses. Over the past decade, these aspiring entrepreneurs have transformed ideas into startup companies in order to address, alleviate and solve a host of global challenges, including energy poverty, the global food crisis and most recently, the global refugee crisis. The 2018 Hult Prize Challenge is focused on Harnessing the Power of Energy. With the backing of the world-renowned Hult International Business School, EF Education First and the United Nations, the Hult Prize Challenge has empowered young people to engage their entrepreneurial spirits, connect and collaborate with partners and mentors, and change the world for the better.

The Hult Prize regional rounds come to Canada as social entrepreneurship continues to increase in the country. National Program Director for the Canadian regional round, Akash Sidhu, had this to say about the upcoming regional round in Toronto:

“A study done by the Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked Canada as the second best country in the world for social entrepreneurs because it is the top country where social enterprise is gaining momentum. It is a very exciting time to help put Canada on the global stage and thanks to the strong support of York University, we have been able to do this for the first time."

The Hult Prize runs regional competitions in 15 cities each year, with winners attending a boot-camp style “accelerator” to develop their ideas into investment-ready companies. These companies are then pitched at the Hult Prize Global Finals, where a US$1 million prize is awarded as seed capital to the winning enterprise. Toronto is one of the 15 international host cities for the 2018 Hult Prize Challenge, with the regional round to be held March 9-10 at York University. Aird & Berlis is proud to be sponsoring the Hult Prize, with Aaron Bains, a lawyer in the firm’s Capital Markets and Venture Finance Groups, sitting as one of the Toronto Regional Round judges.

For more information, please visit the Hult Prize Canada website at

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