An interview with Pragya Gyawali, Campus Director Hult Prize at SOM, Tribhuvan University


Pragya Gyawali is the Campus Director for the Hult Prize at School of Management, Tribhuvan University 2019/20. Hult Prize at School of Management Tribhuvan University is the event where all the non-science /non-technical student entrepreneurs will be asked to create viable start-up centered on the theme of the Hult. 

As SOM TU is preparing for the third edition of the Hult Prize on December 7, 2019, edusanjal caught up with Ms. Gyawali to discuss the Hult Prize 2019/20.

Pragya Gyawali

1. Tell us more about the Hult Prize 2019/20.

Well no other except than Ahmad Ashkar, the CEO and Founder of the Hult Prize Foundation himself can explain us right about the Hult Prize 2020 challenge. The Hult Prize 2020 challenge is “ Building Startups That Have A Positive Impact On Our Planet With Every Dollar Earned- Bold Business For A Better Planet”.

“I think this year’s challenge is our most important, biggest and most critical challenge because we’re going to take on challenges in the environment. However, one of the most important things to understand this year is that we are not going to rely on  campaigns, NGOs, awareness initiatives and non-profit to solve our crisis. We are actually going to rely on the very issue that got us into the mess, to begin with- Capitalism. How can capitalism change the world? You’re going to build products and services, with every dollar of revenue generated will have a net impact on the environment. We are going to actually use the idea of wealth creation and making money and building for-profit enterprise, in our advantage in our favor to use business as a driving force for good to finally bringing an end to climate change, pollution and some of the critical crisis faced in our environment today.”- Ahmad

2. Why should students be motivated to compete for the Hult Prize?

As Hult Prize is named the Nobel Prize for the students by Muhammad Yunus, this itself is a big reason. Besides, the Hult Prize is an opportunity to win startup capital money of 1 million dollars. Solving the world’s most pressing challenges is not just the right thing to do but it is also good business. Hult Prize On Campus gives you an opportunity to deliver social change by bringing Hult Prize programs at your university. 

As part of the On-Campus Program, we will be able to train, educate and inspire students by building an impact community around On Campus events. The winning team from the On-Campus program will have a guaranteed spot at one of 25+ Regional Summits happening across the globe.

3. What sort of strategies are you and your team applying to make the 3rd edition of the Hult Prize at Tribhuvan University successful?

Well, it’s is the guidance of the university professors, organizing team, our event sponsors and partners and most importantly the participants that will make any event successful. We have the best team of 31 competent and equally capable individuals. We have continuous guidance and support from our Director Prof.Dr. Mahananda Chalise, Deputy Directors Ass.Prof. Dr. Govinda Tamang and Dr. Gangaram Bishwakarma who are constantly keeping an eye on every meticulous detail we have been working on, despite their busy schedule. We also have various sponsors- Nepal Telecom Limited, Bhotekoshi Power Co.Pvt.Ltd and partners, Knowledge Partner, Outreach Partner- Ensemble for Bachelors Pvt. Ltd, Strategy Partner- Bihani Social Ventures Pvt.Ltd, Radio Partner- Times FM, Photography Partner- FotoFusion Pvt.Ltd. , Media Partner- Desh Sanchar, that have supported us from the very beginning to make this program a huge success. 

Also, we have reached out to various colleges across Nepal and have selected the Campus Representatives who are bridging the gap between Hult Prize Tribhuvan University and their respective colleges. We are also conducting orientation sessions at various parts of Nepal as well.

4. Any recent plans on the orientation session?

Yes, we are visiting Pokhara for the orientation session this Thursday. We’ve scheduled our session with Prithvi Narayan Campus and Janapriya Multiple Campus. Our outreach partners have been supporting us for all the outreach activities. Besides, we’re also have scheduled our orientation session at colleges inside the valley and have planned to reach Jhapa soon.

5. What is the history of the Hult Prize in Nepal and how a platform like this helps to breed the next generation of Nepali entrepreneurs as many banks are reluctant to lend start-ups?

The history of the Hult Prize at Tribhuvan University dates 4 years back. Institute of Engineering (IOE), Tribhuvan University was the pioneer in bringing Hult Prize at Tribhuvan University. We had our first ever Hult Prize movement SOMTU edition under the directorship of the Campus Director Mr. Bibek Aryal. A platform like this helps to breed the next generation of Nepali entrepreneurs despite the banks being reluctant to lend start-ups because this platform firstly gives a chance to win the seed capital worth one million.

Secondly, the idea is to pitch and convince the judges why they are worth it. The banks are just one source we can get funding through. We have the judges who are supporting and promoting new entrepreneurs. Besides, Hult Prize is just not about start-ups it is about an idea generation. You can always sell your ideas if you can pitch it in the right way, right time at the right place.

6. Who can compete in the Hult Prize at SOM TU and what is the competition format?

Anyone who is currently studying under Tribhuvan University constituent campus and affiliated colleges can participate in the Hult Prize at SOMTU. Since we have the Institute of Engineering ( IOE), Institute of Science and Technology (IOST) that hosts the Hult Prize for the students from science background, we are welcoming the non-science students. There are no restrictions though.

The teams that have registered will go through screening from our judges. The selected ones will give a presentation about their challenge and the teams that will qualify will further get to pitch their the idea to the mega panel, the same day where the winner will bypass the application round and be guaranteed a place into one of +25 Regional Finals.

7. What advice do you have to the students who are planning to apply for the on-campus program at Tribhuvan University?

Think outside the box, not as a cliché but to solve this challenge you have to think bigger, be bolder, be smarter than anyone ever has been in reimagining, or supply chain, packaging, wellness, health care, hospitality, industries that rely so much on leaving such a big carbon footprint on our society that they are not worth being business anymore. So, go out there.  Think creatively. Be bold. And I look forward to welcoming all of you to our university- Tribhuvan University at the School of Management, Tribhuvan University on December 7, where you will compete to win your chance to advance to the Asia Regionals and finally advancing to win the whopping start-up money of One Million Dollar and help us lead a generation to change the world.

8. Any messages that you would like to convey to our readers?

Hult Prize is not just a prize, it is a movement. A movement that aims to lead a generation to change the world. We challenge young people to solve the world’s toughest issues by empowering them to make money, do good and make life better for millions of people through the creation of for-good for-profit businesses. Through leveraging human capital, knowledge and the crowd like never before, the Hult Prize has helped launch social enterprises that share the common facets: Serve the least fortunate, Tackle humanity’s greatest challenges, Pursue revenue and sustainability, Use existing channels, Create market efficiency, Pursue large, untapped markets and become environmentally and socially responsible.