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SDA Bocconi Asia Center holds Hult Prize Semi-Finals 2023: Re-defining Sustainable Fashion

SDA Bocconi Asia Center hosted one of the ten global summits of this year’s Hult Prize Semi-Finals 2023: Re-defining Sustainable Fashion. While the Hult Prize competition encourages student entrepreneurs to address pressing societal issues through their business ideas, SDA Bocconi Asia Center’s goal is to disseminate innovative business knowledge for the overall development of the students and society at large, making this a great collaboration.

Spread over two days, the Mumbai Summit was a success indeed. The Opening Ceremony was attended by 60 start-up teams and was filled with inspiring and encouraging words by Mr. Alessandro Giuliani (Managing Director of SDA Bocconi Asia Center), Ms. Carla Osnaya (Director of Human Resources, Hult Prize Foundation), Ms. Supriya Jangre (Regional Manager of Central and South Asia, Hult Prize Foundation), and Ms. Vaishali Shadangule (Celebrity  Fashion Designer). These speeches fired up the students’ inner entrepreneurs and fashionistas, readying them for the next day of pitches. The participating teams also enjoyed a Q&A session, a singing session by SDA Bocconi’s alumni and were also given some time to network amongst themselves.

On the following day, the shortlisted teams pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges consisting of incredible leaders from various sectors: Mr. Vinod Parmeshwar (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Vice President -HR, IT & Administration), Ms. Shweta Nimkar (PAIO Shoes, Founder & CEO), Ms. Jeevika Tyagi (Aastey, Co-founder & CEO), Mr. Manish Ranjan (NanoHealth, CEO), Ms. Tanya Singh (KPMG, Global Engagement Head), Mr. Harry Hakuei Kosato (Kikkoman India Pvt. Ltd., Director), Mr. Jatin Kataria (InMeSta, Founder & MD), and Mr. Anurag Chadha (Chr Hansen, Managing Director).

Students from not just all over India, but from all over the globe – Thailand, Nepal, Korea, and more – came together to create an indelible impact on the world and be a part of something inspiring and bigger than them.

SDA Bocconi Asia Center’s campus winner, ShoeStain, a web extension that helps consumers make informed, sustainable decisions while purchasing shoes, presented to the judges too. However, Straw Deshi, representing the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur from India, emerged as the triumphant team in the Semi-Finals. Their ground-breaking idea focused on making the fashion industry more sustainable by utilizing agricultural waste (rice straw) to replace traditional insulation material for winter jackets.

Straw Deshi emerged as a winner for one of the six coveted spots in this year’s Hult Prize Annual Finals. The team will travel to Paris, France this September, for the final round and stand a chance to win $1 million USD to fund their business idea!
60 start-ups, 13 Hult Prize Taskforce members, 8 judges, and multiple nationalities with one goal congregated at the Mumbai Summit. Everyone was hopeful, and even though just one team moved on to the finals, the experience and the learnings for everyone involved were tremendous. As for SDA Bocconi, we are already looking forward to hosting the On-Campus Round and the Mumbai Summit next year too!

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