This Is What It Looks Like When a Ross Student Wins a Global Competition to Help End Hunger

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The Challenge: 

Develop a solution to feed nine billion people by 2050.

The Competition:

More than 2,400 students from 105 countries and 578 universities.

The Winners:

Michigan Ross Student Eric Katz, BBA ’17, and his team of entrepreneurs behind the new aquaculture company Kulisha!


It was all part of the 2016 Thought For Food Global Summit held in Zurich, Switzerland earlier this month. Thought For Food is a movement that brings together university students from around the world to tackle hunger and provide innovative solutions to global food security problems.

Katz and the Kulisha team were one of 10 finalists to present their business proposals to a panel of judges in competition for seed funding and a grand prize of $10,000.

Each finalist team was evaluated based on their proposal’s innovation, feasibility of implementation, uniqueness, team spirit, and the potential for their business to help feed nine billion people by 2050.

Here’s what it looked like when Kulisha took home the top prize:

You can check out the winning moment from a few different angles on Twitter.

Kulisha produces low-cost, high-quality, sustainable fish feed made from insects. Their product stands to revolutionize the aquaculture industry in East Africa, where fish feed is primarily made from wild-caught anchovies. Currently, harvesting the anchovies in order to produce fish feed destroys ecosystems and harms African fishing communities. It’s an unsustainable model Kulisha is looking to change.

In addition to Katz, the Kulisha team consists of Arjun Paunranan from UCLA, Lunalo Cletus from the University of Nairobi, and Maya Faulstich Han and Viraj Sikand of Brown University.

“I met Viraj, my co-founder, while working in the wildlife department of the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington state,” Katz said. “He would tell me stories about how the small coastal community he grew up visiting was now being ravaged by large-scale fish trawlers. We knew that 30 percent of all trawled fish went toward being used as a protein base for animal feed, so together we brainstormed a potential alternative that would take pressure off these communities. That was how Kulisha was born.”

The team took home another competition victory earlier this year, claiming the top spot in the Social Impact Track of the Michigan Business Challenge.

“We believe we have the opportunity to truly revolutionize the aquaculture industry in developing countries, starting with Kenya,” Katz said of Kulisha’s future. “More than 80 percent of total aquaculture production is in developing countries, and aquaculture is the fastest-growing form of food production in the world. We are designing our system in a low-tech and modular way so that the impact can be spread to regions of the world struggling with the exact same issues.”

This video from Katz and the team explains the winning concept a bit more:

 

 

Learn more about Kulisha on their website

Image courtesy of Thought For Food