Hult Prize 2019 – the competition’s tenth anniversary year – is in full swing around the globe, and we’ve proudly watched multiple Hult teams pitch their ideas through the rounds, seeking meaningful solutions to youth unemployment. We sat down with Team Silver Legacy, Hult Masters in International Business students and winners at the Hult Prize San Francisco Regionals, to hear more about life as a competitor and their onward journey to the Ashridge castle…
Firstly, congratulations, Silver Legacy! How does it feel to triumph at Regionals?
It was an amazing feeling competing on the behalf of Hult San Francisco. We felt a lot of support from the Hult community and got to know many inspiring social entrepreneurs. It was definitely a highlight of our Hult journeys. Then being called up as one of the top ideas and eventually winning was completely insane, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Silver Legacy: what does it mean? What’s your business idea, in short?
“Silver” refers to our target audience of people over 65; “legacy” comes from our mission to document a person’s life story and share their legacy with generations to come. Silver Legacy is a peer-to-peer platform that employs youth to carry out social care with the elderly, building bridges and sharing passions across generations.
This year’s challenge is primarily about youth unemployment – how did you come to integrate care for the elderly into the brief?
There is a core element in this year’s challenge, which is to provide 10,000 meaningful jobs to disconnected youth in the coming ten years. During our ideation we sought to find a meaningful cause that would create a sense of meaning in those jobs. We wanted to go with something that we could relate to and affects lives all over the world, and we ended up with an extremely precious cause: our grandparents. Ask any nurse or caregiver and you will find their job is meaningful; then imagine building jobs that are not only meaningful, but are formed around your own personal interests and passions. That is what we aim to do through Silver Legacy.
When it came to forming the team, did you have a process?
Coming from Hult International Business School the Hult Prize was of course a big deal. Many teams were being formulated on campus and although we all wanted to participate, we had a hard time finding the right team fit. Cédric and Alma paired up at the very last informational meeting, and Folha and Marie had been working successfully together in Module A already. We then decided to join forces and form a full team together. When we started looking to extend the team for HBC, Max joined forces with us. We are really happy with our team dynamic, we have various, complementing strengths within the team and a lot of passion for our work. We have also managed to work through any team challenge together.
Do you have a team mantra or motto?
Not officially, but “enjoying the ride” would probably come closest to it. To do good and be good, to each other and others. Then, of course, it is our mission to change the world and make it a better place for people of all generations.
To date, you’ve competed in Hult Prize internal campus rounds, then regionals – what have been your greatest learnings or realizations so far?
There has definitely been a lot of learning. First of all, we were learning to be more open with our feelings throughout the process, addressing tension and working together on resolving it. We have gained a lot of trust in each other and our work, and of course our understanding of what it means to build a startup has grown. Individually we have had various lessons as well, and this has definitely been an amazing growth opportunity for all of us.
Scariest moments so far?
On a very personal note, one of our team members had a pretty severe accident during our journey. It was a terrifying experience but fortunately he has been healing miraculously. It is a precious thing to have a team that can come together on moments like this, to support each other, and overcome even the most challenging of adversities.
And the stand-out highlights?
We would be lying if we didn’t say the moment they called us out as winners at Regionals. Our friends from Hult had been volunteering at the event and some of them knew the results. The looks on their faces were priceless when we were finally told!
Next up: the castle! You’ll be travelling to the U.K. to take part in the Hult Prize accelerator this summer – how will you be preparing?
As we are planning to launch Silver Legacy this summer, we are currently working on gathering resources. We will be working full-time in New York until the accelerator and will be launching a minimal viable product over there. There is also a crowdfunding campaign being designed, web page being built, mentors consulted, and much more. We sometimes say that building a startup is like tapping a new Pandora’s box everywhere you look: there is always work to do!
Is there an advantage to being a Hult student when competing in the Hult Prize?
Officially, not a lot. Some people have even said that it might be a disadvantage, given that our school carries the name of the prize. The unofficial perks exceed all of that. The sense of community we have experienced among our peers at Hult has been spectacular. Having the regionals at our home campus was amazing, and so many of our peers and faculty were there. We have also received precious mentorship from multiple professors, alumni, and faculty members, and many students have contributed in one way or another to our process. There is a certain entrepreneurial mindset within the Hult walls, so we have had many incredible inputs and ideas coming from our peers that have given us great support.
Would you recommend taking part in Hult Prize to incoming classes?
Absolutely! It is such an amazing journey that everyone should strive to take part in. Our advice is this: Find a good team, people you trust and want to work with. Reach out to your peers – an idea is worth so much more with the input from others. Work hard and always believe; you might be competing with great teams and ideas, but that does not mean that yous irs any less great!