By Gurman Sahota, May 7 2019 —
Roger Hull, a student from the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, was nominated for the Enactus 2019 Student Entrepreneur of the Year award. Hull and his colleagues at their company, Oberon Technologies, were instrumental in the launch of a sustainable electric car battery pack.
Oberon Technologies identified a problem with the traditional batteries of electric cars being colossal in weight and size. Further, to repair these batteries, they must be shipped internationally, making both the cost to consumer and harmful emissions from travel sky-rocket.
“Our whole goal is to make that process a lot easier so it can be done locally — what you get with a local repair versus an international repair is that you reduce all the emissions released in the transport as well as you reduce all the costs associated with transporting the thousand-pound battery pack,” said Hull. “We really focused on creating as much positive impact as we could with a profitable business model and it really allows you to scale that much quicker.”
After being nominated for the award by Haskayne instructor Houston Peschl, Hull mentioned how the application was a month-long process. With the standard written portion of the application came a video application and a one-minute video pitch describing the company’s entire business model alongside supplementary visuals. Although Hull was the one nominated, it was a team effort to bring the company together with plenty of hard work done on the video portion of the application.
“I was the one who was nominated, but the entire process is really a team effort — the video was the most intense part,” said Hull. “Creating accurate answers for the written portion was difficult but it’s something we had done before. Creating a video was very intensive.”
However, the effort of applying was not for naught as Hull was selected from candidates across the country, being only one of 12 students chosen for the coveted award. Despite the award money up for grabs, Hull valued the exposure the selection process provided to Oberon, stating the connections made throughout the process will be just as crucial for the viability of the business.
When asked what the future holds for himself and Oberon Technologies, Hull was optimistic in the dedication to social impact the company has, citing the need to find symbiosis between profit and social entrepreneurship.
“What comes with every destruction of old technology [is] a new set of problems that have to be solved,” said Hull. “If you stay on the edge of new technology, you can always find ways to improve it, to make things more efficient and find goal congruence between social entrepreneurship and a profitable business model that can create jobs and a cash flow as well.”
The Enactus 2019 Student Entrepreneur of the Year will be announced on May 8. For more information, visit the Enactus website.