Congratulations to Frans Bona Simanjuntak, Simon Battah, Lesly Gonzalez and Rolando Farrach – this remarkable team were victorious at the 2012 Hult Prize (formally known as Hult Global Case Challenge), winning £333,333 in seed capital and the opportunity to work with Habitat for Humanity International. But having worked hard to win at the Hult Prize it seems their real work is only just beginning. The team are already busy arranging partnerships with microwork providers and local microfinance instituitons, ready to provide employment and opportunities and financial services with local communities.

We caught up with the team prior to the finals and asked them about teamwork, about being in the finals and about the future…

1. – Please describe how you felt when you heard you would be going to the finals in NYC?

It was a sort of mix feeling in the sense that we felt we had made a huge step forward to the goal we aimed since the day we signed up to the challenge, but most importantly that we, as Hult International Business School representatives, had been given the opportunity to be part of an incredible event such as the Hult Prize. Where we could prove ourselves and our capabilities of developing innovative solutions to world known personalities within several industries to everyday issues that the poor are facing today in several parts of the world.

2. – How have you been preparing for the finals?

The preparation for such an event has been the result of daily meetings along several months, not only within the team members but as well with faculty staff from Hult International Business School. They’ve provided us with amazing support and help to improve our ideas and arguments as well as continuously research and development of new ideas and insights that can strengthen our business model proposal.

3. – What has been the key to the team’s success?

There are several factors that can be mentioned as key success factors at this point. Most importantly are the fact that the four of the members within the team come from developing countries (Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela, and Indonesia) so we can easily identify ourselves with the challenges that NGO’s such as Habitat for Humanity International is faced on a daily basis. We can understand and identify the problem from the NGO’s point of view as well as from the people that are constantly looking for a better life quality at the other extreme. Additional, the ability to critique and challenge our own ideas have been one key to succeed because we as team members are open to feedback from team members.

4. – Where do you see your project in 5 years time (especially if you’re declared the winners of the 2012 Hult Prize)? 

After tackling the issue for several months we are convinced and confident that the business model proposed can be carried out to help and support HFHI reach its goal. At the preliminary round we thought the idea was original and had a realistic approach. After the regional event, where we got the opportunity to talk with several judges, we realized that our idea was actually more realistic and feasible than what we thought and most importantly that it could bring several benefits to HFHI to reach the goal proposed. At this point in time we have no doubt that if we are given the opportunity to implement our idea we can strongly follow the steps outlined on our business model proposal to help HFHI build a world where everyone has a descent place to live by unleashing the potential of unserved communities by providing sustainable means.

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