The Hult Prize is an annual, year-long competition that crowd-sources ideas from university level students after challenging them to solve a pressing social issue around topics such as food security, water access, energy, and education.

For more than a decade, the Hult Prize Foundation has been transforming how young people envision their own possibilities as impact leaders of change in the world around them. Originally founded as a one-million dollar prize startup program, the organization today is the  worldwide leader in impact education and has trained and graduated more than two-million alumni across 121 countries.

This years Hult Prize Challenge is titled Food for Good. The Hult Prize is asking youth around the world to build viable food enterprises that will create jobs, stimulate economies, reimagine supply chains, and improve outcomes for 10,000,000 people by 2030.

I was privileged to be invited to participate as a judge in the Nairobi regional competition which saw entrepreneurs from Africa and Asia submit their innovations and enterprises that solved this challenge. As you would imagine, this was a full day of listening to amazing pitches, deciding on which ones were the best whilst looking at many moving dynamics in the pitches and the people behind the pitches.


Here is a summary of some of the most important lessons that I learnt about pitching and presentation during this experience:

  1. Your pitch deck and your presentation is key. First impressions matter an impressive presentation gives you attention and recognition.
  2. Be adequately prepared, anticipate the questions that you may be asked and be ready with answers and feedback beforehand. This reduces the stage shock that you may get when asked these questions.
  3. Breakdown your finances and justify them. The financial bit of the pitch is one of the most important parts in the pitch, know your numbers.
  4. Technology aspect is now becoming a vital part of any product or service. Carefully consider the technological component in any innovation and highlight it.
  5. More than just the idea, and the enterprise, a good knowledge of the market acquired through a market survey and analysis is a very important information needed for your pitch. More than that, leveraging and creating strategic partnerships is very important in ensuring that you are able to cover your weaker areas.
  6. Ideas in themselves do not win. Always have at least a prototype or a product that you are able to showcase during your presentation.
  7. Finally, copyrights and patents are always important factors to consider when appropriate.

To learn more about the Hult prize and its competitions visit their website at



  1. Stephen Ogweno it was an honour having you serve as a member of our prestigious jury for the Nairobi Impact Summit regional final and helping us select the regional winning startup that will advance to the global Hult Prize Accelerator – recently selected as #1 in the world for social impact. They are now a step closer to clinching the chance of pitching at UN Headquarters for US$1,000,000 in our Hult Prize US$1M Startup Challenge!

    The important lessons that you have highlighted above are on point! Every startup/entrepreneur should abide by them. I went through them and couldn’t help pointing out that as the worldwide leader today in impact education, we have a Level 1 Pitch Certificate program that helps entrepreneurs level up in terms of key fundamental skills and knowledge on pitching. Everything that you have mentioned resonates with the course content. Being an alumnus of the program myself I couldn’t help but think about how on the point you were!

    Anyone interested can check it out here:

    Stephen, once again, thank you for joining us to ‘Lead a Generation to Change the World’.

    Looking forward to more collaborations.

    Jefferson Mwangolo
    Africa Business Development Associate
    Hult Prize Foundation


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