KAUST Social Entrepreneurship Startup Reaches Hult Regional Final by Creating Platform that Empowers Tradespeople

KAUST’s social entrepreneurship startup team Tekiti has advanced to the London regional finals of the seventh annual Hult Prize by creating a platform that empowers underemployed tradespeople in developing countries.

The 2016 Hult Prize ‘President’s Challenge’ is focusing on crowded urban spaces and doubling the incomes of the residents through improved mobility and increased connectivity to people, products, services and capital by 2022.

Empowering Tradespeople

Tekiti provides an online mobile platform that can link underemployed tradespeople in urban areas with people that need their services.

In large urban mega-cities around the world such as Mexico City, there are large populations of underemployed people, especially day laborers. They often have to line up on the street each morning as they wait for casual employment. These tradespeople usually have limited education and do not have the skills to market their talents effectively.

There are also people with disposable incomes who have very busy schedules and do not have the time or the energy to search for suitable tradespeople such as appliance technicians, carpenters, plumbers, etc.

Tekiti’s technology brings these two groups together and will be especially relevant in areas of Latin America and the Middle East that have high youth unemployment, fast-growing populations and the need for high-quality services.

Tekiti team members are currently enrolled in M.S graduate programs at KAUST in Chemical Engineering, Material Sciences and Environmental Sciences. The team consists of Daniel Corzo (Mexico), Aniela Zarzar Toraño (Mexico) and Maria Fernanda Nava Ocampo (Mexico). They have benefited significantly from accelerator programs and mentorship from KAUST Innovation’s Entrepreneurship Center.

“Tekiti provides handyperson services to busy people in a fast, secure and reliable way. We look forward to empowering tradespeople in lower-income urban areas with this technology, ” said team member Daniel Corzo.

The Hult Prize and President Clinton

The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social good. In partnership with President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, the innovative crowdsourcing platform identifies and launches disruptive and catalytic social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. Student teams compete in five cities around the world for a chance to secure US$1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture.