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Making a Change Via IMU Hult Prize Challenge

31 Dec 2020

‘Great companies start because the founders want to change the world, not making a fast buck’ – Guy Kawasaki

IMU Hult Prize Challenge is a platform for passionate university students who want to change the world through social enterprise to solve world pressing issues and this year, it focuses on ‘Food For Good’. It requires all participants to come out with viable business models within 3 months and pitch our ideas in front of remarkable individuals who have contributed extravagantly in social enterprise throughout the years. Winners from the campus stage are qualified to join the regionals, which will take place in 2021. Coming from a medical background, Christine Tay, Billy Tay and I, Shahkeerah Kamarul, never thought that we could do well in this competition. We have very limited knowledge on business, accountancy and also marketing but we received a lot of guidelines, especially from the IMU Cares team – Prof Khoo and Daniel, and Mr Juara who have always been there to answer our never-ending questions and insecurities. Christine Tay, leader of Sustainize initially approached me to join her in this challenge and I gladly accepted the offer after several times of declining it. At first, we were all quite worried as both of us were very occupied with other academic and non-academic workload, especially with Final Professional Examination Part 2, which is scheduled just a week before the competition. Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) made it much harder for us to meet each other for a more thorough discussion. We are very glad that the existence of technologies allowed us to be able to plan these remotely. Before CMCO was reimplemented, the three of us attended a four-day workshop on design thinking and social enterprise led by Mr Juara.

We were not assigned to any mentors and sought help from various people, including
Lincoln Lee who was the previous Hult Prize winner cum co-founder of Rice Inc
Dr Rushdan from FRIM who created the technology that could benefit our business model

Our Business Model
Sustainize focuses on repurposing the rice stalks into food packaging in order to tackle open burning of rice stalks and overused plastics by the community. We also help the underserved community, such as single mothers, ex-convicts by including them, into our business models as our employees.

We were very shocked to hear that we have won the competition. Winning was initially not our chief priority as we will still continue to contribute back to the community and the ecosystem regardless of the outcome. We believe that we should take this great opportunity to gain more investors to invest in this business model. We hope that we could win the Regionals thus making us qualified to go for the final stage.

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