Pakistani American Students Win $1M Hult Prize for Social Entrepreneurship

Yet another amazing feat has been accomplished by Pakistani students studying abroad.

A group of four Pakistani-American students have won the very prestigious Hult Prize this Saturday, for an idea that could help make the lives of millions of refugees better all over the world.

What Is Hult Prize?

The Hult Prize competition challenged student teams from around the world to propose scalable start-up businesses capable of improving the lives of 10 million refugees by 2022.

The Hult Prize provides a platform to help students come up with projects which will help the social welfare. These start-ups are non-profitable. It is one of the most prestigious awards.

The team of students from Pakistan was able to raise around $30,000 in a crowd funding campaign in May earlier this year. Later on in the summer they ran a pilot project in Karachi’s Orangi Town which also contributed towards their project.

What Was Their Idea?

The project by the Pakistani American students focused on creating a transport network for the refugees. This transport network would help refugees stay better connected to all the essential daily services. The idea was not new by any means, but what gave their project the edge was their innovative idea of using solar powered rickshaws.

The group won the prize by beating 5 other teams from all over the world and managed to secure a prize of $1 million.


Team RoshniRides pitching at Hult Prize Finals at United Nations

The Innovation

Four students of Rutgers University Gia Farooqi, Moneeb Mian and Hasan Usmani and alumna Hanaa Lakhani teamed up to form the business plan of Roshni Rides.

Earlier in the year they formed their team and started shaping their plan. The plan was to use the solar powered rickshaw rides to transport the refugees to hospitals, schools and markets. The vehicles would be run on a systematic route.

Suffiyan Malik (L) & Noman Azhar (R) from Pakistan with Team RoshniRides at UN

Noman Azhar from JS Bank and Suffiyan Malik from NUST represented Pakistan at Hult Prize 2017 Finals held at United Nations on Saturday 16 September.

Suffiyan Malik & Noman Azhar representing Pakistan at UN

  • Something to be proud of for Pakistan. The team received the prize from an ex-US president. Pakistanis are showing that they are creative and entrepreneurial. However, the question remains that how many of these startups are valued at $1 billion plus. Only Affinity comes to mind. Now we need startups to come up with ideas like facebook, whatsapp, etc. to make it truly big on a global level.

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