Wednesday 23 October 2019
 
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(L to R): Lak Chinta, Aisha Bukhari and Peter Cinat

Canada varsity wins Mena finals of $1m Hult Prize

DUBAI, March 16, 2015

A team from the University of Toronto won the Hult Prize Foundation regional finals in Dubai, following a weekend of presentations judged by leading figures from academia, government and industry at Hult Dubai’s campus.

Run in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), the Hult Prize is the biggest student competition in the world, with this year’s challenge of building start-ups to provide sustainable early education solutions for 10 million children in urban slums set by former President Bill Clinton.

Beating more than 200 students that made up the 46 teams from colleges and universities across the Middle East and beyond, University of Toronto team Attallo’s winning idea was based around bridging the ‘word gap’ – a lack of childhood vocabulary and the resultant development issues that underprivileged children often face.

By using a combination of picture books with QR code stickers and a simple, low cost electronic ‘reader’, Team Attallo’s system allows parents to teach their children new words and increase all-important vocabulary in a simple, low-cost yet effective manner.

Team Attallo consists of Aisha Bukhari, 31; Peter Cinat, 35; Lak Chinta, 38 and Jamie Austin, 30 – all based in Toronto, Canada.

“We are really excited,” said Aisha Bukhari at the award ceremony. “We came up with the idea in the past two months. The biggest thing is for us to impact the lives of 10 million children and so winning this regional final is a great start for us. We have a plan that we’re hoping to complete between now and September and we hope that the regional finals and Hult Accelerator will give us the momentum to actually go through with it.”

Other regional finals were held simultaneously in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai, with a sixth held online, and all successful finalists will go on to attend the Hult Prize Accelerator in July, a six-week programme of intensive entrepreneurial seminars hosted by Hult International Business School.

The teams will then attend CGI's annual meeting in September, where Bill Clinton will host the Hult Prize Global Finals. Here, teams will pitch their winning presentations in front of an audience of globally renowned VIPs. The winner will be chosen from the six and awarded the $1 million prize.

Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and founder of the Hult Prize Foundation, said: “The standard of entries this year was extremely high and we were blown away with the innovation and creativity displayed by the students.”

“From the many worthy entries, the winning idea of Team Attallo stood out for its simplicity and elegance and we wish the team well in the next step of the Hult Prize journey. Solving issues such as childhood education is an incredibly difficult challenge, but as we have seen, these fine young people are more than up to the task,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service




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