Four bachelor students of IE University were the only undergraduate students competing against experts with MBAs, PhDs and Master’s degrees.

An IE University Team comprising students Stefan Wolf Staertzel, Victor Berthon, Pablo Otero and Carlos Beltrán, won a spot among the top 4 in the regional finals of the prestigious Hult Prize, the planet’s largest student competition in the field of social entrepreneurship, with a million dollar prize. IE students were the only graduates competing against more experienced candidates with PhDs, MBAs and a range of master’s degrees. They were also the only students under 22 in a final round in which the average age was 30 years old.

The Hult Prize, which received a record number of more than 10,000 first-round applicants, was created by Hult and Clinton Global Initiative to boost the development of social start-ups in the healthcare industry. This year entrants were required to focus on “Non-communicable Disease in the Urban Slum”, and more than 250 teams competed against each other in six regional finals in the cities of Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai and Sao Paulo.

The members of the IE University Team were from France, Germany, Venezuela and Spain, and aged 20 and under. The four students met in the Bachelor in Business Administration program at the Madrid-based university and presented their project for the Dubai Final.

They won the first two rounds with “Cuidado Verde”, a project aimed at helping the 92% of slum-dwellers in Peru who do not receive a timely diagnosis for chronic diseases. In order to do this the team came up with a simple but innovative idea: a business that recycles the uncollected trash generated by the area to fund a free full annual check-up for its inhabitants.

“I think the Hult Prize was one of my greatest achievements so far in my life!” says Victor Berthon, team captain. “Being the youngest and the only team comprised of undergraduate students it was already a huge achievement to get to the finals, but ending up in the top 4 exceeded our expectations and showed that no matter how small we are, we can create an impact.”

Photography Credit: Marko Zirdum / Hult Prize

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