Rotman Net Impact

Driving Social and Environmental Changes


Fifteen Teams Compete in University of Toronto Hult Prize Quarterfinal.

Toronto – Amidst the start of exams and term assignments fifteen teams of students from the University of Toronto took a break from their studying to compete in a special quarterfinal qualifying round for the Hult Prize at UofT’s Rotman School of Management on December 5.

This year’s challenge for the world’s largest student competition is “Ending Poverty in Crowded Urban Spaces: Generating Income by Connecting People, Goods, Services, and Capital.” Specifically the call to action is: “Can we build social enterprises that double the income of 10 million people living in crowded spaces in the next 5 years by better connecting people, goods, services and capital?”

The winners of Hult Prize@UofT was Team Vicis who are developing a social enterprise which aims to deliver offline e-commerce in crowded urban spaces starting with the Philippines.

Team members included Adam Day, a Rotman MBA student; David St. Bernard, a JD/MBA student; Tricia Jose, a MASc candidate in biomedical engineering at UofT; and, Christopher Villegas-Cho, a Master of Global Affairs student.

The team will advance to the prize’s regional finals.

The annual competition for the Hult Prize aims to identify and launch the most compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by billions of people. Winners receive USD 1 million in seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community.  In the 2015 competition, Team Attollo, composed of MBA students and alumni from the Rotman School, reached the final. Three other Rotman teams reached the regional finals.

“After 5 months of planning and prepping, we, along with Rotman Net Impact, were able to host an event that attracted 15 multi-disciplined teams from around UofT’s campus.  The diverse set of passionate judges included leaders from Banking, Consulting, Urban Development and Non for Profit. This enabled rich feedback that improved the team’s ideas from multiple angels,” says Jamal Khayyat, MBA’16, who is the Hult Prize Coordinator at UofT. “Overall we had a blast and glad we had the opportunity to host the impactful Hult Prize@UofT. We wish the winning team the best and urge the rest of the teams to take their feedback, iterate accordingly and then re-apply to the regionals.

“The Hult Prize is such a unique opportunity for students and faculty alike to get involved in solving global problems. It has live real-time real-world application and requires business-thinkers, policy-thinkers and astute problem solvers across several other disciplines. It has been a privilege for Rotman Net Impact to serve as a steward in rolling-out this competition and we’ve really tried to develop a cross-faculty focus,” says Mathew Tansey, MBA’16, President of Rotman Net Impact. “It is important for us to make this platform appealing to all U of T students and to invite a variety of institutions in the GTA to be involved in the process of equilibrium shifting ideation.”

Judges for the day included Rotman alumni such as Johann Koss, EMBA’04, Founder of Right to Play and Soumak Chatterjee, MBA’ 10, Senior Manager, Chief of Staff – Financial Services Consulting at Deloitte. Other judges include entrepreneur Hamoon Ekhtiari; Joanne Kviring, Strategic Program Manager – Canada, Virgin Unite; Ted Graham, Innovation Leader, PwC; and Zahra Ebrahim, Founder and Principal, archiTEXT; Sandra Odendahl, Director, Corporate Sustainability & Social Finance at RBC; Astrum Nanji, Lawyer and Television Producer working in Private Equity; and Jason Visscher, Former Hult Prize Campus Director

Further information about the Hult Prize is online at

**This write-up is courtesy of Ken McGuffin – Rotman Media Relations  (