M.Arch. student Avanzini part of multidisciplinary team in Hult Prize regional finals

M.Arch. student Avanzini part of multidisciplinary team in Hult Prize regional finals

Gregorio Avanzini (M.Arch.’14) is part of a multidisciplinary team that has advanced to the regional finals of the fifth annual Hult Prize challenge to be held March 7-8, 2014 in San Francisco.

Avanzini and his team are one of 50 from around the world invited to pitch their idea on how to build sustainable and scalable social enterprises to address non-communicable disease in urban slums. Should they make the finals, the team will have an opportunity to pitch their start-up to global leaders for a chance to win the Hult Prize worth $1 million in start-up capital.

“I am directing my life toward social and sustainable development. This is a priceless and unique opportunity to bring radical change to the health system for the most underprivileged portion of the society, the world’s slum dwellers,” says Avanzini. “My experience having lived, volunteered, and traveled in many developing countries around the world has provided a realistic point of view about their situation and about possible solutions.”

Avanzini’s role, aside from being team leader, is to create the design of the infrastructures and buildings that are part of the team’s solution to the challenge. Consisting of two medical students, a student from the School of Public Health and another from the Ross School of Business, Avanzini’s team is diverse and global.

“This process has helped me understand how interdisciplinary effort and different backgrounds are necessary in order to solve global issues, adds Avanzini. “This collaboration is not only incredibly exciting, but our different perspectives and backgrounds were beneficial for understanding the project.”

Teams advancing beyond the regional finals will get to spend the summer inside of the Hult Prize Accelerator – an innovative incubator for social enterprise – to prepare and participate in the Hult Prize Finals to be hosted by President Bill Clinton in September 2014.

Photo: Members of the Hult Prize competition team (left to right): Callistus Ditah; Marianna Kerppola; Jonathan Awori; Gregorio Avanzini; and Joshua Bogus