Driven by a passion to build a sustainable, scalable social world, this year’s Hult Prize brings together global thought leaders committed to reducing food insecurity in urban slums by 2018. Almost a billion worldwide people need food security with urban slums representing almost 200 million. “The Challenge: Can we build sustainable, scalable, and fast-growing social enterprise to increase food security in urban slums by 2018?” It is clear this problem will get worse if nothing is done.
Hult Prize, in its fourth year, is an innovative challenge called into action by global college and university students to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing social issues. There is thousands of student participants, representing over 250 universities from over 150 countries. Nobel Peace Prize Winner Professor Muhammed Yunus said at the 2012 Hult Prize, “If you can create a real business, the beginning of a protype, you can change the world.”
The Hult Prize annual challenge is the largest student competition, which unlike other competitions requires students to use business skills and to develop sustainable, scalable solutions through social enterprise. The overall challenge consists of 5 regional international competitions, an online competition, and a business incubator leading to the global final which will take place at the Clinton Global Initiative on September 23, 2013. The 5 regional competitions are held at Hult International Business School campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. The winner of this year’s challenge will be awarded USD $1 Million in seed capital to launch a pilot of their winning idea. All of the regional winners participate in two months of training through the Hult Accelerator program.
This year, I was invited to participate as a judge representing EMC Corporation at the Boston Regional Competition.
Fellow judges represented some of the world’s top companies and not only invest the day in the judging process but also provide student mentorship, fostering growth of our next generation of leaders. The Hult Prize Founder, Ahmad Ashkar was on site along with Ron Jonash – Hult Prize Case Writer & Senior Partner, IXL Center. Ron shared his vision for the Hult Prize in this short video.
So what is it like to be a judge? First, I have to thank Peter Russell, Jr. the Director of Corporate Relations, Hult North America. His passion for the program is only surpassed by his attention to detail, ability to build teams and the associated community ensuring continued collaboration. Every element of the judging process is considered from the moment you sign up, engagement with fellow judges, student delivery, deliberation, decision and celebration. Also, and even more importantly everyone is a winner. While our goal as a judge it to determine the finalist in the regional competition, it is clear to me no one loses. Joining the Hult community is a lifetime and life long experience, one that will ensure that together we can make the world a better place.
But it doesn’t stop here. There are other amazing programs. Two come to mind. First of which is the Hult Action Projects. International students compete to deliver high-impact ideas and strategies for clients’ most pressing business issues. Led by experienced management consultants, student teams will focus nearly fulltime on one of two key objectives over 6 weeks: Competitive Intelligence in “Competing for the Future” and “Innovation & Growth in “Innovation Olympics”. In each program the teams make three competing presentations to the client sponsor at which point they receive feedback and direction from the client on where to focus their next level of pursuit. EMC China, through the personal support of YIng Li VP and GM EMC China, is participating in this program. The second, which is near and dear to my heart, is the Hult Women in Business event on April 20, 2013. This was presented to me by Dina Samra, Corporate Relations Coordinate, Hult Boston. As I look ahead, and consider my personal investment in Hult I, too, am committed to the success of this powerful community committed to sustainable, scalable social change. I hope you will join me ion my journey.
Learn more about the Boston Regionals from fellow judge Deidre White, CEO , CDC Development Solutions by reading her blog: Hult Prize Champions Insect Protein To Fight Hunger