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April 6, 2024

The Hult Prize awards a prize money of USD 1M annually to a startup with a world-changing idea for a social enterprise that addresses a specific industry or subject. For instance, the topic given to budding entrepreneurs last year was “Redesigning fashion to be sustainable.” But, this year, Hult did something they have never done before: making the Hult Prize challenge theme open for participants to choose. That means the teams could pitch any idea for a social enterprise, as long as it is world-changing and aligned with at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The competition provides a valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect with like-minded individuals, learn from experienced entrepreneurs, and gain exposure to potential investors and supporters.

The On-Campus elimination round of the Hult prize for IIT Roorkee was on 10th February 2024. The competition was fierce, with each team given just fifteen minutes to pitch their idea and convince the panel of judges why their start-up was worth investing in. After each team pitched their idea, the judges shared thorough feedback on improving their ideas or pitches.

Five teams from the participants’ pool, namely Aryam Urja, Kartavya, Nexus, SocRiz, and Solaris moved forward to the next and final round of the competition, which was held on 17th February.

The judges for the final round were the experts and veterans from the sustainability and innovation industry. Dr. Pradeep Panigrahi, with 27+ years of transformative experience,is a seasoned sustainability expert. His insights from Tata, Mahindra, and L&T guided the startup pitches towards embracing sustainability. Nistha Gupta, an ESG and Sustainability expert with 13+ years of experience, develops holistic solutions for strategic transformation and sustainability implementation. The third and final judge for the finals was Vishal Bhavsar, who has an experience of 17+ years in sustainability and leads sustainability across 50+ global locations at UltraTech Cement Ltd.

The teams then faced the difficult task of persuading the distinguished panel of judges and pioneers in the field. Every team had thirty minutes to pitch throughout the extensive pitching session. Even the judges found it challenging to choose just one winner from the presenting groups. However, Aryam Urja from IIT Roorkee Campus, emerged victorious due to its impact and feasibility. The judges agreed that the winning team has the potential to win the HULT prize among international competitors. Team Aryam Urja will head to Mumbai to represent IIT Roorkee in the Regional Finals in June 2024.