Impact Challenges


The Impact Challenge Competition served as the apex of HPAIR’s academic programming - a culmination of all the lessons and skills gained from the conference. The 2019 Harvard College Conference offered 5 distinct Impact Challenges that pushed teams of delegates to collaboratively create proposals that will inspire and impress.

On Impact Challenge Day (February 18), teams received the full challenge briefing and have the opportunity to craft their presentations under the mentorship of industry experts.

+ Emerging Markets & Venture Capital Pitch Impact Challenge

The Emerging Markets & Venture Capital Pitch Impact Challenge challenged delegates to pursue a rational exploration into different emerging markets across Asia. Teams of delegates showcased comprehensive research and collaboration skills, effectively described innovative ideas, and introduced specific qualities of an emerging market that would make the market attractive to investors.

After a day of preparation and opportunities to consult with accomplished mentors, this Impact Challenge culminated in a presentation of an emerging market that is predicted to yield high investment returns to a panel of professional venture capitalists.

Manu Goswami (CEO of Trufan; Partner at JB Fitzgerald Venture Capital; UN Youth Ambassador)
Richard Robinson (Founding Partner of nHack; Adjunct Professor at Peking University)
Scott McNally (Advisor at Crescent Point Energy; Stanford and Harvard Alum)

1st Place Prize: Paid internship opportunity at either Trufan or JB Fitzgerald Venture Capital

+ Expansion & Marketing Impact Challenge

The Expansion and Marketing Impact Challenge was a business and strategy competition inviting delegates to critically analyze an existing business, E25Bio, and chart a cohesive expansion plan that includes significant marketing analysis. Taking on the role of Deloitte consultants, teams needed to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the target company’s products and capabilities, define a target customer demographic, suggest potential high-value partnerships, and craft an attractive marketing proposal.

Successful teams were asked to be innovative and incorporate advice from qualified mentors to impress a panel of advisors with fresh ideas that capture attention and produce effective expansion results.

Bobby Brooke Herrera (Co-founder of E25Bio)
Kate Liebelt (Life Sciences and Healthcare Manager at Deloitte Consulting; Becker’s Healthcare Rising Stars Under 40)
Benita Dua (CEO of Vanilla Skills)

1st Place Prize: Internship at E25Bio
2nd Place Prize: Internship at Vanilla Skills Pvt. Ltd.
3rd Place Prize: Resume Review and Career Coaching with Deloitte Professionals
Honorable Mention Prize: Whale of a Time with Social Media by Benita Bhatia

+ Humanitarian Policy Impact Challenge

The Humanitarian Policy Impact Challenge was a policy competition tasking delegates to engage in solution-oriented dialogue and craft propositions to three of the most pressing humanitarian crises in the Asia-Pacific: the Rohingya, Yemen, and Afghanistan Refugee Crises. Teams selected one crisis to focus on, assumed the role of policy experts advising a high-impact change agent (a government or international aid organization), and wrote a comprehensive policy recommendation for their selected change agent.

The expert judging panel presented briefings on each crisis and serve as mentors to delegate teams throughout the day. Successful proposals combined knowledge of international affairs, command of policy and humanitarian aid, and operational and logistic expertise.

JUDGES: Christopher Boian (Senior Public Information Officer at UNHCR)
Joung-ah Ghedini- William (Head of Global Communications at UNHCR)
Anne Sjolander (Director of Development at CARE)

1st Place Prize: UNHCR & CARE mentoring, a feature on the UNHCR global media page, and a video of winning proposal presented at the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva.

+ Space Technology Impact Challenge

The Space Technology Impact Challenge was a pitch competition for startups and new ventures in space -- the next trillion-dollar industry. In this Impact Challenge, delegates designed and pitched a technology startup. The startup was required to address emerging market needs and trends. Space shipping, space mining, lower cost satellites, space tourism, and defense technology were recommended as viable options.

Under the guidance of mentors, teams developed a pitch deck highlighting the key components of the technology, the startup business model, broad financial timelines, and other information that might help win the support of the panel of angel investors.

Luke Heine (Forbes 30 Under 30; Founder of Summer Playbook; YC Entrepreneur)
Scott Xiao (Former HPAIR Executive Director; CTO of Luminopia)
Jeff Foust (Space Journalist; MIT Alum)

1st Place Prize: a private lunch and mentoring session with Professor Dimitar Sasselov (Harvard University Professor of Astronomy; co-investigator of NASA’s Keplar Mission; Director of Harvard Origins of Life Initiative)

+ Wellness & Healthcare Impact Challenge

The Wellness & Healthcare Impact Challenge asked delegates to devise solutions to mitigate the growing problem of rising healthcare costs. The problem was contextualized as follows: insurance companies in Asia and elsewhere around the world are beginning to seek ways they can leverage emerging technologies to encourage the populations of individuals who they insure to improve their daily wellness habits in the hopes of becoming healthier in the aggregate, thereby reducing healthcare costs.

Expert mentors were available to advise teams as delegates developed a program that insurers would be able to use to encourage populations to live healthier lives, proactively manage their wellness, and reduce healthcare costs while balancing concerns of information sharing and the relationship between insurance companies and their insured populations.

Marcie Glicksman (CSO of Orig3n; Director and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School)
Kate Blanchard (Founder and COO of Orig3n)
Mike Robbat (VP of Business Development, Regenerative Medicine & General Counsel at Orig3n)

1st Place Prize: private breakfast, mentorship session, and tour of ORIG3N’s genetics & cell therapy labs, and free lifestyle DNA kits (of winners’ choosing)