Northeastern E-Club hosts Competition for Sustainable Fashion Business Pitches
The Northeastern University Entrepreneurs Club is participating in an international competition focused on redesigning fashion to make it more sustainable. The Hult Prize Challenge, hosted by Hult business school, is an annual competition dedicated to social enterprise. This year, it will be judging business pitches centered around sustainable fashion. Northeastern Entrepreneurs Club, or E-Club, needs 15 teams to participate in order to send the winner to the semifinals.
Bella Pivo is the campus director for the competition and Rohan Surana is the deputy campus director. Both have been involved in E-Club for two years’ time, though this is the first-time E-Club is participating in the Hult competition.
Growing up in Oregon, nature and sustainability has always been a part of Pivo’s life. She believes that business and sustainability, or more broadly social work, are not mutually exclusive and she hopes that the Hult prize and future E-Club events can help bridge the gap.
“There’s a lot of people who think you either have you go into business or go into sustainability, and I don’t think that’s the case,” Pivo said. “Why can’t it be both?”
Hult suggests that students focus on 6 out of 17 UN sustainability goals: gender equality, clean water and sanitization, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, responsible consumption and production, and climate action. Additionally, the startup does not need to be solely focused on actual clothing itself, it can be related to anything in the fashion value chain, including sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, consumption, and disposal.
E-Club itself will also select three winners to receive a cash prize, though only the winner will proceed to the Summits. The Hult competition has qualifiers, then quarterfinals, then semifinals, the global accelerator, and the global final. Whoever wins the Northeastern competition can advance directly to the semifinals, or Summits, which takes place in Boston. If a team does not win the Northeastern competition, they can still enter directly to Hult.
Anyone can submit their ideas to the competition, but they will not be able to advance right to the Summits. The teams must consist of one Northeastern student, but they can pull in other team members from outside Northeastern. Each team will consist of 3-5 people. The E-Club will have an independent judging panel.
Pivo encourages everybody to get involved, whether or not they have experience with startups. She said that startups need both an expert on the topic and an operations team to run the business, so knowledge about sustainability is just as crucial as knowledge about management.
“Entrepreneurship is not just for business people,” Pivo said. “If you want to make a change in the world, go through innovation, go through entrepreneurship, because that is where you are going to do it.”
To learn more, students should attend the ideation station, or group brainstorming session, held Thursday from 7-8 in the Ideas lab in the tunnels underneath Hayden Hall. The E-Club also hosts the Husky Startup Challenge bootcamp on Saturdays from 12-2 to teach everything about building a startup. More information can be found on the E-Club Instagram and website.
Written by Renée Abbott, February 3rd, 2023