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My Unforgettable Journey to the 2024 Hult Prize Summit in Nairobi

A team of Newcastle University Business School students took part in the 2024 Hult Prize Nairobi Global Summit after being among the top 360 teams out of 10,000 entries in the previous qualifier round. Siddharth, a MSc Finance student and member of team Renew Med, discusses her experience in this article.

 

 

Hello everyone, I’m Siddharth, a current Newcastle University Business School student pursuing my Master’s in Finance. I recently had an incredible experience that I’d love to share with you all – my journey to Nairobi, Kenya, for the 2024 Hult Prize Summit.

 

The Beginning of an Exciting Adventure

It all started with a dream and a lot of hard work. Along with four of my amazing teammates – Mohit Bhargava, Mehul Verma, Manisha Singh and Padmapriya Sundararaman – we worked tirelessly on our project, hoping to make it through the rigorous selection process of the Hult Prize. When we received the news that we were among the top 360 teams out of 10,000 to qualify for the second-round summits, we were ecstatic. This was our chance to present our ideas on a global stage and to learn from some of the brightest minds in the world.

 

From Newcastle to Nairobi

Our journey began in Newcastle, where we spent countless hours in classrooms, libraries and cafes, brainstorming and perfecting our project. The excitement was palpable as we packed our bags and prepared for the trip. We travelled from Newcastle to London, each of us filled with anticipation and a bit of nervous energy.

London was a brief but memorable stop on our journey. We couldn’t resist taking some time to explore this magnificent city. We visited iconic landmarks such as Westminster Pier, the London Eye, and Tower Bridge. The grandeur and historical significance of these sites left us in awe.

London, with its bustling streets, towering skyscrapers and rich history, is vastly different from Newcastle. While Newcastle exudes a charming, close-knit vibe with its historical architecture and friendly atmosphere, London is a sprawling metropolis that pulsates with energy and diversity. The contrast between the two cities was striking and added an extra layer of excitement to our adventure.

From Heathrow Airport, we boarded our flight to Kenya, embarking on what promised to be a transformative experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arriving in Nairobi

Stepping off the plane in Nairobi was like entering a whole new world. The vibrant city, filled with the sounds of bustling streets and the warm glow of the sun, was a stark contrast to the UK. One of the first things I noticed was how different everyday life felt. For instance, crossing the road in Nairobi was an experience in itself – unlike in the UK, where we wait for traffic signals, here we could simply walk past, weaving through the traffic as locals do. It was both exhilarating and a bit nerve-wracking!

The city’s energy was infectious. Nairobi’s mix of modern skyscrapers and historic buildings, set against a backdrop of stunning natural landscapes, created a unique and dynamic atmosphere. The streets were alive with vendors selling everything from fresh fruits to vibrant crafts, and the air was filled with the delicious aroma of local cuisine. Everywhere we went, we were greeted with smiles and warm welcomes, making us feel at home despite being miles away.

 

The Summit Experience

Our summit took place at Strathmore University, where we were met with a sea of talented teams from across the world. We connected with teams from the United States, including one from South Dakota, as well as teams from the London College of Fashion and Nottingham Trent University. We also had the pleasure of meeting people from Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, and Hong Kong. It was incredible to see such a diverse group of passionate individuals in one place.

We learned a lot from each other, discussing our respective ideas and exchanging thoughts. It was fascinating to hear about the unique perspectives and innovative solutions that everyone brought to the table. One standout was Reagan Tech, the team from Zimbabwe, who won the summit. Their idea, Reagan Technologies, is a renewable energy social enterprise that has developed a pavement tile to generate green electricity by harnessing human motion. Their innovative approach and dedication to sustainability truly impressed everyone.

The summit concluded with a networking dinner where we tried local delicacies like Ugali Samaki and relished Kenyan food. It was a wonderful evening filled with laughter, stories, and delicious cuisine. All the teams vowed to grow together in the future and connected to stay in touch, ensuring that our shared journey wouldn’t end with the summit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Kenya

Of course, our trip wasn’t all work and no play. We took the opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Nairobi and its surroundings. One of the highlights was visiting the Nairobi National Park, where we were fortunate enough to see three of the Big Five animals: the white rhino, the lion, and the wild buffalo. We also saw graceful giraffes up close, which was a truly magical experience.

In addition to the safari, we stumbled upon an Indian restaurant named Haandi, where we enjoyed some of the most authentic Indian dishes we’ve ever had outside of India. It felt like a little taste of home in the heart of Nairobi and was the perfect way to end our trip on a high note.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflecting on the Journey

Looking back, our journey to the Hult Prize Summit in Nairobi was a whirlwind of emotions and experiences. It was a testament to what can be achieved with dedication, teamwork, and a shared vision. I’m grateful to Newcastle University Business School for sponsoring the entire trip and ensuring we had a smooth and hassle-free experience. From arranging the flights, accommodation, and even the cabs to travel locally, we were lucky to have the backing of our university.

We returned to Newcastle not just as students, but as global citizens, inspired to continue our work and make a difference in the world.

I’d like to thank my teammates and everyone who supported us along the way. This experience has enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined, and I’m excited to see where our journey will take us next.

Thank you for reading about my incredible journey to Nairobi. I hope it inspires you to pursue your passions and to never stop dreaming big.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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