In the mid-19th Century, Cholera used to be known as “The King” in London.  In slum areas particularly, its spread was fast, ferocious and fatal.

So when tasked with addressing health in today’s urban slums, it may perhaps be surprising that non-communicable diseases – cancers, mental health disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases – are on the agenda. We (Nidhi, Vidhi, Jacqui, Andrew and I) are proud to have the opportunity to solve this issue, reportedly set to cause a USD 21 Trillion loss to low and middle income countries in the coming 20 years.

As well as pride, we have a sense of energy, passion and determination. For a successful solution,

  • the expectations are almost too high, but not quite;
  • the constraints are almost too tight but not quite;
  • the inherent problems almost insurmountable, but not quite.

It is the tiny sliver of chance of success in battling such a major societal problem that spurs us on this mission. We know that we will have to bring together all our experience, all our learning, all our networks and all our intellect. We will swing at any ball that comes our way in the knowledge that we may strike out, but equally we may strike a spark which ignites an idea that can revolutionalise healthcare in urban slums, improving the lives of the hundreds of millions people who inhabit them.

Using the skills and networks we have picked up from the Cambridge MBA programme, we’ll present a case in early March in Dubai. While there, we are sure to hear from a wide variety of impressive teams with great ideas. Even if ours is not an eventual winner, our research and work in the field may at least help clarify routes not to follow, saving future social entrepreneurs time and money.

It is an honour to represent Cambridge Judge Business School at such a prestigious international event, and to work with such talented, bright and creative team-mates. The prize includes USD 1 million to start a venture, the opportunity to meet Bill Clinton, but far more importantly, to save lives.

I hope that I can write here again in a few months explaining how we won. Even if that is not possible, I hope that one day someone will start a blog, “In the early 21st Century, non-communicable disease was a major problem in slums…”

Hult Prize - regional finals team L-R Gopal Rao Vidhi Chopra Jacqueline Gilbert Nidhi Sheth Andrew Quan (2)