More than 200 teams from various Jordanian Universities participated in Hult Prize competition for Social entrepreneurship, where 36 advanced to the final national competition held on May 4-5 at King Hussein Business Park Amman, hoping to seize $150,000 in seed funding.
The finalist teams presented their business models to a jury of 12 experts in the field of energy, businessmen and corporate representatives, who assessed the students’ idea’s potential to develop into a viable startup fostering sustainable change and led to winning of “Here for Heat” team from University of Petra.
This year’s Hult Prize theme is creating innovative solutions to instill change in millions of lives by 2025 through harnessing the power of energy, team “Here for Heat” provided an unconventional solution related to energy by innovating a safe pharmaceutical formula, that can induce body warmth, with focus on areas that lack availability of conventional heating methods such as refugee’s camps in cold regions.
The four student team members Ramah Abu Safieh, Shaden Thwieb, Duha Ghazi and Murad Balqar worked at University of Petra’s pharmaceutical labs to produce formula prototype from natural products with supervision of Dr. Kenza Mansoor and Dr. Wael Abu Diyyah, while the Business Plan was built with support from UoP’s Business Incubator (SIQ) and Dr. Husam Barham.
“The idea behind our ‘Here for Heat’ team’s project was to serve the health sector in producing a safe pharmaceutical formula that generates thermal energy inside the human body in order to combat cold weather and increase the feeling of warmth through a group of internal mechanisms in the body,” Abu Safieh said, noting that the formula is prepared with natural plant extracts and natural products, further it is alcohol free”.
“Two years ago, I took part in the Atlantic Humanitarian Relief missions in Jordan that aim to provide medical relief and support services to the most vulnerable population including injured individuals, refugee women, children and the elderly,” the student recalled, noting that she witnessed the dramatic consequences of cold weather on these communities during winter.
“Our project aims to reduce the risk of hypothermia, support the traditional heating sources performance and reduce the complications caused by alcohol intake to feel warm in cold areas,” the team leader said, citing the danger of alcohol abuse by vulnerable population such as homeless people in countries with long cold winters or seasonal drops in temperature.
The project’s prototype, named “Hodka”, seeks to serve a large segment of people, specifically refugees, outdoor workers and people in vulnerable living settings.
The team is now preparing for the intensive start-up accelerator training held at the UK Ashbridge Castle along with 49 other teams from around the globe. They also hope to become one of the six international teams to be selected to attend the global finals held at the UN headquarters in New York, where they will compete for the $1 million prize to be handed out by Bill Clinton as a capital investment for their innovation.
In conclusion, such a formulation that was developed, adopted and supported by UOP research teams would foster the lives of many people in need during the upcoming years. Way to go “Here for Heat”, way to go UOP.