Commonwealth Honors College Students Caelon Smith and James Chappuis, along with Jeffrey Perillo and Lauren Bolduc, took first place for their proposed business venture "Recycled Revenue" in UMass Amherst’s first Hult Prize event. Caelon Smith is a sophomore finance major on the alternative investments track. James Chappuis is a sophomore operation and information management major.
The Hult Prize Foundation, a partnership between Hult International Business School and the Clinton Global Initiative, is the largest business student competition in the world, aimed and launching compelling start-up enterprises tackling social business ideas and issues affecting the modern world. This year's competition challenged students to build sustainable social enterprises that double the income of 10 million people residing in crowded urban spaces. The competition encouraged participants to look for ways in which one could leverage connectivity to products, people, services, and capital.
Each team gave a three minute presentation of its business model before a panel of seven judges, with one follow-up question from the panel. Recycled Revenue's business plan focused on removing trash from Salvador, Brazil, recycling it, sending it through brokers in exchange for money, and then loaning the money to local individuals to fund entrepreneurial ventures. “We were looking for a company that is aligned with the program, and [Recycled Revenue] seemed to have an innovative approach and business model that can help communities,” said Dorn Carranza, one of the judges and a senior program officer at VentureWell.
The students will head to San Francisco in March to compete in the regional finals, where they will present their plan to an executive jury of regional CEOs, non-profit leaders, and social entrepreneurs.