PROTRASH starts as an idea of a school project for the urban design methodologies subject, of the bachelor in architecture. where we presented the Hult Prize competition for the first time. The teacher told us about this contest global relevance and called as a final project for their subject to develop a proposal to participate in the challenge. The aim of the competition Hult Prize is to create a business model of social entrepreneurship to help solve some global problems. A contest where thousands of students from different universities participate recognized worldwide aims to put big challenges young minds that are capable of innovating solutions to solve various problems. The event is held in 5 locations worldwide: Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. The call changes every year, trying different issues of common interest. This year the competition posed the challenge of doubling the income of 10 million people living in urban areas over populated in a span of 6 years.
By presenting face this great challenge, we conducted extensive research on different aspects that represent a problem in urban areas over populated, and at the same time represent a business opportunity. No doubt the accumulation of garbage was an aspect that emerged after some initiation of the investigation. The accumulation of waste is a protagonist of the urban image in these areas, creating various problems, and other people waste represents big business.
PROTRASH initially tried to position a machine called "reverse vending machines" in underserved communities. This machine already exists, its function is to receive PET, aluminum and glass to pay a value determined by such materials, the machine handles the material and compact storage. Giving the opportunity for anyone to be able to receive a benefit for their garbage. This is where PROtrash saw a great opportunity to give a non-monetary benefit to people living in urban areas over populated to cover some of their basic needs. After an extensive search and research in the field we could see that the exchange garbage nutrition was a great opportunity to help people living in marginalized areas out of their poverty and marginalization.
Our first approach to Hult Prize were the regional semifinals of our university, the Tec de Monterrey, which were held in 3 venues, divided by north, west and center area. In the event we had the opportunity to compete with different teams of our university presenting the project against a wide jury. Although we do not belong to the business school within the institution we had the great privilege to win our pass to the regional semifinals in Boston that would take place in mid-March.
Since then the team has committed itself to a hard work to carry out the project, and to represent the best way to our university headquarters in Boston. For several months of work, the initial idea was transformed and evolved due to the different advice that we receive as a team, from specialists in each area that required it, such advisories were all provided by teachers and members of the Tec. Also we had the opportunity to go to validate our idea to field during a workshop organized by the university within the community of sun Valley. During this workshop our project underwent the greatest transformation process, and to bring an idea to reality makes you realize many things that were not previously contemplated. Experiencing our field project has made great progress and many of the results of this workshop make our project what it is today.
PROTRASH at this moement, is a system that is based on the exchange of basic necessities from the recycling of three materials: PET, aluminum and glass; by a bike-crushing machine, which increases the value of such materials and cutting processes in the value chain of waste management. The machine, which is our own design, issue a ticket will be exchanged for basic nutrition, which is possible because we created a partnership with the Food Bank, who provide us food. Thus the value produced by recyclable waste, will be available to all these people living in marginalized and overcrowded areas, making disposable income after food is doubled, and thus their quality of life will improve.
Finally the day came when traveling to Boston; We got excited and hoping to have one of the best experiences of our lives. In this place we played against each other 58 participating teams from different universities in the world. The event was organized in two days: the first conference and networking; and second, the competition which were organized in different rooms presented in two shifts, one in the morning and afternoon. Our team was assigned in the afternoon shift, so we had the opportunity to listen to 10 teams from different universities in the world during the morning session. The event concluded in an auditorium, where the 6 finalists in this round were announced. PRotrash was chosen as a finalist among the 58 teams participating in Boston. The response we got from the other teams, the jury and the directors of the competition was very motivating, and we were very complimented and encouraged to go ahead with the project despite not having gone to the final in this round.
But still we had a last chance to be in the final round online. Upon arriving back to Guadalajara, we decided to go ahead thanks to the response we got from different people. We made the decision to participate in the Wildcard round of Hult Prize, a round online that launches the award as a final opportunity for all teams to be in the final contesting for the million dollars that the competition is to award. This round is to send a video and a presentation on the project and demonstrating the impact that the project has achieved in different ways, and that the business model meets all the requirements requested by Hult Prize. So they choose the sixth finalist who will accelerator project, which is carried out for two months in the city of Boston, Ma. Then participate in the final which is based at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. After two weeks of delivery of the documents we received a call from Karim Samra COO Hult prize, to tell us we were within 5 finalists in this round, and to ask some questions about the project. The next day we were notified that we had been winning the wildcard round and we had our direct to the final competition and accelerator in Boston pass.
The collaboration of TEC de Monterrey and especially the Campus Guadalajara was a key part of the project development as they prepared us with forums, consulting and boot camp to make the best possible role in the contest. We are very pleased with the support we receive from teachers and administrators throughout the preparation that gave us as an institution.
The team is comprised of Andrea Garcia, Monica Lopez, Valeria Sanchez (ARQ); Giovanni De Cisneros (LCDE), Victor Ramirez (IBT) and Yuvia Lopez (LCMD).
Different minds, profiles and personalities, but with the same goal, to help the neediest people and to generate real change and impact in our country.
Today we are fortunate to represent not only the Tecnologico de Monterrey, but Mexico and Latin America in a competition of international stature for the resource that can enable PROtrash a reality.