MBA: An idea that will change the world

A not-so-crazy idea

 
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Insect-based snacks produced by the McGill team’s company, Aspire Food Gropup. All photographs by Ben Stechschulte

On Sept. 23 five McGill MBA students beat out 10,000 MBA teams from around the world to win the Hult Prize, a $1-million global award for social enterprise. Canadian Business tagged along for the day as Mohammed Ashour, Gabriel Mott, Jesse Pearlstein, Shobhita Soor and Zev Thompson prepared to present their business plan to an intimidating team of judges including Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus and former president Bill Clinton.

The team’s world-changing idea? Feeding the developing world—with insects. Already a popular source of protein in many cultures, seasonal growing patterns makes insects too expensive. The team’s new company, Aspire Food Group, hopes its cheaper factory farm methods for “micro-livestock” like crickets and palm weevils will cheaply feed millions and boost farmers’ livelihoods in the process.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling of responsibility,” says Ashour of the win. “We’ve received this substantial funding, and a lot of people are waiting on the outcome.”

Zev Thompson and Gabriel preparing in the hotel room before the presentation.

Zev Thompson and Gabriel preparing in the hotel room before the presentation.

Zev Thompson,  Jesse Pearlstein, Shobhita Soor, Mohammed Ashour and Gabriel Mott being interviewed by CBC News  before their presentation.

Thompson, Pearlstein, Soor, Ashour and Mott being interviewed by CBC News before their presentation.

The team confers before the presentation.

The team confers before the presentation.

Ashour presenting Aspire's business plan.

Ashour presenting Aspire’s business plan.

The winning team poses with Bill Clinton.

The winning team poses with Bill Clinton.

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