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‘Recycled Revenue’ business proposal wins Hult Prize competition

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

A team of four University of Massachusetts students will head to California to compete in the next round of the Hult Prize competition after a panel of judges awarded their social enterprise proposal aimed at improving crowded urban spaces first place at a schoolwide contest held Tuesday evening.

Judges awarded sophomores Caelon Smith, Jeffrey Perillo, Lauren Bolduc and James Chappuis first place for their proposed business venture “Recycled Revenue.”

The competition was held in the Honors College Events Hall, with 14 teams competing to present the best social enterprise aimed at doubling the income of 10 million people in crowded urban spaces.

The Hult Prize is the largest business student competition in the world, and with this victory the Recycled Revenue team will head to San Francisco to compete in the regional finals, a trip that will primarily be funded by the Isenberg School of Management.

If the team of UMass students wins at regionals, they will head to the global finals – hosted by former President Bill Clinton – where they will compete for a grand prize of $1 million in start-up funding.

Recycled Revenue’s business plan revolves around removing trash in Salvador, Brazil, sorting and recycling it, sending it through brokers in exchange for money and then loaning the money to local individuals for them to start their own entrepreneurial ventures.

“We came up with the idea through teamwork and through mentorship,” said Bolduc, a journalism and political science major. “I think that all of our collaboration and realism made this possible.”

Gina Semensi, a senior business management and nutrition major, organized the competition.

“I am really impressed with all the teams and all the ideas that came about,” Semensi said. “My whole goal for this was to just lay down really stable tracks to get people motivated. The more people hear about the Hult Prize the more people are going to look at it online, the more people are going to compete next year… I think it gets people thinking about entrepreneurship from a social perspective.”

Each team was given three minutes to present its business model before a panel of seven judges and was allowed to respond to one follow-up question from the judges. At regionals, each team will have eight minutes to pitch their start-up.

Second place went to a business called “Wheel Power,” which focused on creating energy from generators attached to bicycles, and third place went to “Community Hydroponics,” which focused on implementing greenhouses and urban community gardens. The members of the Wheel Power and Community Hydroponics were awarded Visa gift cards for $50 and $25, respectively.

“We were looking for a company that is aligned with the program, and (Recycled Revenue) seemed to have social impact,” said Dorn Carranza, one of the judges and a senior program officer at VentureWell. “They seemed to have an innovative approach and business model that can help communities.”

In addition to Carranza, the judges for the competition included PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Todd Bari, EMC consultant program manager Alyssa Caddle, Next Step Living manager Bob Hastings, associate dean of faculty and engagement in Isenberg Thomas Moliterno, Pathfinder International vice president of external relations Scott Schroeder and KPMG partner Jason Tata.

Going forward, Semensi hopes that the Hult Prize helps to start what she called the “social entrepreneurial movement.”

 

Stefan Geller can be reached at stefangeller@umass.edu.

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