Ambassador-led project Shortlisted for Prestigious US$1M Startup Award

Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao ( is a Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University, as well as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree in Energy for North America. His Ph.D. research on scalable “artificial photosynthesis” was featured in the World Economic Forum’s white paper as an energy breakthrough of the past decade (2020). Elvis is a member of the Technical Working Group on Energy Transition for the High-Level Dialogue on Energy by the United Nations (2021). He is a Lindau Nobel Alumnus (2020), UNICEF Young Changemaker on Sustainable WASH Solutions (2020), BP Future Energy Leader (2019), One Young World Ambassador (2019), and UNEP Young Champions of the Earth Finalist (2020, 2019), among others.

The Hult Prize Foundation announced that Food2X (, a startup impact enterprise founded by Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao and Xu Liu, has been shortlisted for the 2021 Hult Prize US1M Challenge regional final round. In partnership with the United Nations Office of Partnerships, the Hult Prize Foundation organizes the world’s largest startup program aimed at social impact and offers a grand startup prize of US$1,000,000 awarded by President Bill Clinton at the United Nations Headquarters on an annual basis. Food2X has beaten the odds, outperforming a record number of 350,000 program participants who began the journey this past fall. “It’s an amazing experience being selected for the next round, and we truly believe our idea can and will change the world,” says Xu Liu, co-founder of Food2X.

The team is now preparing for the next stage, where they will travel to the Hult Impact Summit - Amherst, MA, USA. This coming spring, where they will pitch for a coveted spot in the Hult Prize Global Accelerator - a best-in-class program, regularly ranking as the world’s number one accelerator for social impact. “It is fascinating to see like-minded young entrepreneurs, representing 121 countries, coming together around the same mission. The Hult Impact Summits will celebrate the youth-driven impact and showcase thousands of SDGs aligned businesses addressing the UN-issued Hult Prize Food for Good Challenge,” says Hamdi Ben El Elmi, Hult Prize Foundation Global Head of Programs. This year’s 2021 Hult Prize Challenge asks entrepreneurs to rethink food and build the foundations of a venture that will create jobs, stimulate economies, reimagine supply chains and improve the overall outcome for 10,000,000 people by 2030. Food2X does that by diverting food waste from local restaurants to wastewater treatment facilities for efficient biogas production, and you can follow their journey to impact by visiting

Both co-founders for Food2X are One Young World Ambassadors. “Our mission at Food2X is to see food waste as an opportunity rather than a liability. Last November, Food2X was recognized by One Young World as a finalist for the Food Systems Solutions Challenge to present at the Bold Action for Food as Force for Good Summit, a virtual pre-event of the UN Food Systems Summit. We are very grateful for the platform One Young World has provided to us,” says Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao, co-founder of Food2X.

Hult Prize Impact Summits have a history of being life-changing experiences for attendees and bring together a community of people with an outlook of changing the world through business. Events are open to college and university students, industry professionals, academic leaders, and non-profit / government executives. Planned programming includes professional networking mixers, social events, inspirational keynote speeches, workshops, and the headline activity of the summit - the regional final demo day of the million-dollar Hult Prize Challenge. More than 200 short-listed entrepreneurs will be pitching startups that solve this year’s UN-issued food challenge. At stake for one lucky team is a golden ticket invitation to attend the award-winning Hult Prize Accelerator program getting them one step closer to winning US$1,000,000 in startup capital.

To learn more about the Hult Prize Foundation and how to get involved, visit

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