Tag Archives: Hult Prize

Aurelion: Going Global from Tunisia

I had the opportunity to interview Ghofrane Baaziz, from the University of Tunis Business School. Her story is amazing- she competed in and won the Campus Challenge in 2017, with teammates Sarah Saadi, Wafa Kouni, and Baha Gritly. The 2017 challenge was her favorite, and her team name was Eirene, named after the goddess of peace in honor of the challenge being about refugees. The team’s goal that year was to provide a virtual financial services platform for refugees to allow them to perform financial transactions, getting paid easily and securely. She has been involved in at least three regional events and was even asked to lead the Tunisia National event.

Ghofrane’s story shows an important lesson- you don’t have to win the Prize to be a winner.

Team: Aurelion

Origin: University of Tunis

Year: 2018

Hult Prize Challenge: Harnessing the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people.

Objective: Our idea consisted of providing access to better air conditioning systems in Central African hospitals while empowering working women.San Francisco Team hp2018

How did you get involved with Hult Prize?

Freshman year of college, that is, last year, although I was a business student, I did not know a thing about entrepreneurship let alone social entrepreneurship. I was just starting business school, not even sure if I made the right choice, but there it was, a pink sign on the school entrance that says “Hult Prize on-campus event applications are open!”. I didn’t know what that was, but it looked cool, and I was planning on doing a lot of extracurricular activities so that seemed like a nice start. I told three friends of mine and we decided to participate! Soon after, we’d learn so many things about ideation, starting a business, building a business model, etc. Little did we know that we would be the event winners and soon be heading to London for the regional finals! (I’ll get to that experience on the next question)

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Fast forward a year later, 2018, I decide not to participate, but to organize the event in my school. I took care of the media department and appeared on more than 12 media platforms including national television to talk about the Hult Prize! on 2017, only 4 Tunisian universities hosted a HP event, 2018, the number jumped to 19 universities! I’d like to believe it was thanks to us! I even toured many Tunisian universities in different regions of the country to introduce them to the Hult Prize and talk about my experience as a regional finalist!31899133_191299088160708_5296109574103760896_n.jpg

After the on-campus event ended, I decided to apply to the wildcard because why not! We ended up getting accepted and headed to San Francisco for my second regional two years in a row! Coming back to Tunis, I was also the media director and host for the Tunis regional that took place a week after SFs finals! That was my 3rd regional event in just two years of college! I believe I made a record!

My final involvement with Hult was the Tunisia National Event which I also helped organize.

How has this experience changed you?

I can’t put in words how much Hult has changed me. In each regional, I made new friends, real friends, a Japanese friend I made in London even visited me from Tokyo and we spent this spring break together touring Tunisia! Hult helped shape me into the woman I am today. I now know what it takes to be a social entrepreneur, what it takes to start your own business, I know how to network, how to pitch my idea and most importantly, I got to know and discover a new part of me.hult spirit.jpg

What were the judges, mentors and advisors like?

Everyone involved with Hult was extremely helpful. We were offered help from so many people. Judges in our on campus event last year offered to help us prepare for the regionals after we won, we had great mentors and advisors who supported us along the way.

Did anyone stand out?

Definitely! Last year’s event, a judge [Youssef Fennira, CEO of Tunisian startup CORP] liked our idea so much that he invited us to his office and with whom I’m personally still in touch with. He sponsored our trip to London, offered us support, and he still recommends me for other opportunities and even offered me a job at his company!SF Tunis .jpeg nationals bootcamp.jpg

During the 2018 hp, Julie Abrams definitely stood out! She was so cheerful and came to talk to us after we lost. We really appreciated that.

What advice do I have for other people?

Join the movement! I have been to so many similar events and competitions, nothing was like the hult prize. The Hult spirit and atmosphere is incomparable! You never know what kind of amazing friends you’d meet, whether it’s a local competition, national or regional! It’s never a dull moment with the Hult Prize! So participate, I promise you you’ll learn so many things about yourself and about social good. You’d enjoy every part of making an impact and making a difference in the world!

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SolarCare Journey, Everyone is a Winner

Team: SolarCare

City: Dallas, TX

Year: 2018                    

Hult Prize Challenge: Harnessing the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people.

Objective: Helping impoverished communities in Sub-Saharan Africa benefit from clean, affordable electricity in the form of solar energy

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At the convening of the United Nations on September 2017, President Bill Clinton announced the 2018 Hult Prize Challenge:  “Harnessing the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025”. Responding to the challenge, over 100,000 students from 1,000 Universities in 100 countries applied to bring their diverse energy-solution startup ideas to the international stage.  Ultimately, 40 teams will be selected to participate in the incubator at Hult Prize Castle, in Ashridge. Eventually six teams will get the opportunity to pitch their idea during finals at the United Nations, each hoping it will win the $1 million Hult Prize that will enable them to launch their idea.

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Each year, in addition to getting the prize money, the winning team gets well-deserved publicity for their project.  But what is less well known is how much of an impact the experience of competing for the Hult Prize creates. Excited by the ability to create positive global impact,  many teams that were eliminated at some point during the competition continue working on their projects, intent upon bringing their ideas to life. UT Dallas SolarCare was one of those teams.

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Eugene McDermott UT Dallas scholars Nikitha Vicas and Rohit Shenoy began their Hult Prize journey when they ventured from Dallas to travel to New York to attend the UN General assembly as student bloggers representing their school.  When they heard Clinton announce the Hult Prize, they were inspired to assemble a team for the competition, with Evan Sun and Benny Rubanov joining later.  Bradley Ritschel, UT Dallas’s Campus Director, played a major role in motivating the group in creating a viable product with his demonstrated interest in growing the Hult Prize’s influence on campus.  

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As a Dallas resident and member of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center’s advisory board, I had a special interest in seeing how the students benefited from the Hult experience. The team’s goal  was to provide clean, affordable and self-sustaining electricity to areas of the world that couldn’t otherwise afford it. The idea for SolarCare was born out of Rubanov’s research in solar panels and research conducted by the team.   It’s goal was to install small, solar farms in rural locations, supplying local areas with reliable electricity to power appliances.

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Simply by participating in the Hult Prize Challenge, they became part of an international community.  As a Hult Prize judge, I watched them deal with the challenges facing their business. Through their involvement with the competition, the team members gained the experience of being part of an international community determined to drive impact with the exposure to and support of international experts.   And it’s ignited a passion in each team member to explore how they can positive impact others in the future.

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This summer, Nikitha will be in India with the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship, taking classes in Hindi. Rohit will work in Dallas with Tech Wildcatters, a group that invests in promising startups.  Benny plans to be in Argentina working in marketing and consulting, and Evan will be in Washington D.C., working with the HHS Innovation Internship Program. Each of them has clearer sense of who he is and a commitment to living lives of impact all over the world.  That’s what the Hult Prize does for students- inspiring a new generation of socially conscious, caring entrepreneurs.

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My Journey to the West Bank

As I was preparing for my 5th trip to Israel, this time with family, I posted a photo of Old Jerusalem on my Facebook page along with a notice of my travel plans.

old-jersusalem-outside

Old City Jerusalem

My posting was noticed by my good friend Ahmad Ashkar, Founder and CEO of Hult Prize Foundation, who opened the door for me to visit his family in the West Bank. Flattered and humbled by his offer, I accepted without hesitation and started to plan my journey with his sister Suzy from the Jerusalem Waldorf Astoria to Nablus and onto Tulkarm.

 

road-with-buildings-to-nablus

Nablus

For everyone reading this blog, this is not a political statement about the West Bank and Israel. It is about my journey, the people, sounds, aroma and tastes of the old city of Nablus. This blog reflects one day in my life as an American Jew visiting my friend’s Palestinian Muslim family. This one day brought us closer and created a bond via our shared commitment to make the world a better place, one person and one day at a time.

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Ahmad and Sheryl at Boston Hult Prize Incubator July 4, 2016 celebration

Timing

As they say timing is everything, and the coincidences associated with my visit were uncanny. First, Ahmad’s mother was visiting their family home and his sister Suzy had just recently moved from Kansas to Tulkarm with her husband a few weeks earlier to raise their baby. Second, my trip was just several days before the UN vote on the resolution to curb Israeli settlements in the West Bank and West Bank politics were relatively quiet for that region while everyone was awaiting the outcome of the vote on the resolution.

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Nablus

Getting to Nablus

First, you cannot just hop into any taxi and say “take me to the West Bank”, as the color of the license plate prescribes which roads you can travel on. To simplify matters, I asked the Waldorf concierge to reshigh-viewerve a driver. Polite and courteous, yet curious, he asked only a few questions, then proceeded to offer assurances of my personal safety while also cautioning me that conditions can change at any time.

Nablus is a northern city in the West Bank, 39 miles from Old Jerusalem with a population of over 125,000 which is predominantly Muslim, with small Christian and Samaritan minorities. Since 1995, the city has been governed by the Palestinian National Authority. We visited the Old City where there are a number of sites of archaeological significance, spanning the 1st to 15th centuries.

Arrived In Nablus

Suzy (who has an MBA degree), Ahmad’s sister, and Diana (an attorney), Suzy’s sister in law, met me in the city center. After hugs we made our first food stop…Turkish coffee to go. It was just starting to rain, so we quickly parked the car in the lot and headed out on foot to the Old City.

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Food of Nablus

Until I arrived I didn’t realize that Nablus is such a gastronomic heaven. My father was a produce broker, so I was astounded by the abundance of inexpensive fresh fruits and vegetables. Nablus is known for its cheese, and we were indulged in warm cheese bread.

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Sheryl and Diana eating cheese bread and coffee

As if that wasn’t enough, as we were passing through, the falafel man overheard us talking and offered me a free sandwich with freshly ground hummus.

Not that we were still hungry, but Nablus is famous for its kunafeh, a stringy, cheesy, crispy, sweet, gooey, delicious desert which defies definition, so we had to try it. Served in slabs eaten warm, we lined up and got our share, as the rest of the dish was divided up and sold to the locals.

A Special Tour

Still we couldn’t stay dry, as it was pouring rain, my sneakers were wet and squishy…and to be honest, we looked like three drenched lost women roaming the streets.

Then we encountered Moses, a Nablus local, who overheard us talking and simply put aside his daily work to escort us through the city, through the ancient Mosque, into the soap, candy, metal, and shoe factories.

We parted at the spice store, which had a big sign welcoming the USA, as he left to pick up his girls from school. Moses is not a tour guide, he is simply a kind, proud, local man who wanted us to have a good visit to his city.

On the Road to Tulkarm

Each of us were overwhelmed by the kindness we were shown, but now it was time to get on the road to meet Ahmad’s family for a late lunch.

There was a “small” hitch, though. The road, and there is only one road between cities, was blocked. There was an accident ahead, a Nablus Arab and a Jewish Israeli died in a collision. Diana, an attorney, had a special ID card allowing her to pass through, and Suzy and I had American passports, so we maneuvered our way to the head of the line, only to be told we could not pass. We carefully moved back in line…with cars honking at us…and some 30 minutes later the road opened…and we were practically first in line as we drove ahead to Tulkarm.

blocked-road

Tulkarm

Now only 30 minutes away, I was eager to meet Ahmad’s mother and was swept away as we came around a corner to see the Ashkar’s family estate. I say estate as there are multiple homes on the grounds, each connected through walking paths and patios.

The main home was recently constructed had a huge driveway and massive columns leading to the front door. As we walked through the door we were greeted by Ahmad’s mother with a huge smile and open arms.

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As you might imagine, she was busy in the kitchen cooking a special meal for us which consisted of fresh lemonade, warm yoghurt soup, rice with vegetables and spices, chicken, salads, sweet and spicy sauces and homemade fig cookies. Enchanted by the feast, we conversed as if we had met many times before and discussed the world, family, and our journey.

Back on the Road

Sadly, this was a short trip, and just as the rest of Ahmad’s aunts and cousins were coming to visit, it was time to go back to Jerusalem. Suzy presented me with a beautiful silver necklace and Ahmad’s mother filled my bag with treats. It was sunset when we headed for the checkpoint a couple of miles away. Promising to return, the taxi picked me up, and we headed back to Old Jerusalem.

Last Thoughts

Ahmad was honored that I traveled to the West Bank to meet his family, and I was honored he invited me. Open your heart, open your mind, open your soul. There are good people on the other side. Good people who may differ in their political ideology but with the same family values and welcoming kindness that we all can appreciate and would do well to emulate.

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Three generations of women sharing the world we love!

 

Change Tomorrow Today – Maximize Human Potential Through Education

Students

Did you know that more than 100 million children under the age of six in developing countries currently fail to reach their potential in cognitive development? Can we be part of the solution and find innovative ways to deliver quality early education to millions of underprivileged children who desperately need to get education at the earliest ages in or near the world’s cities? This was the challenge put forth by President Clinton and Hult Prize to students from around the world.

Hult Prize and Clinton Global Initiative

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton – Hult Prize Finals NYC

The Hult Prize competition is a response to President Bill Clinton’s call to action for the world’s brightest minds to tackle the world’s most pressing issues. In the past, the Hult Prize Challenge tackled housing, energy, education, food security, and healthcare challenges on a global level, and the competition has yielded teams with powerful and transforming ideas. Winning teams managed to not only develop these ideas but also implement them in serving the greater good. In its 6th year, the Hult Prize challenge asks global university teams to find new sustainable social enterprise approaches to promote and increase early childhood development and help the not so privileged children access quality education. Student teams compete in five cities around the world for a chance to secure $1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture. This year 20,000 applications were received from more than 500 colleges and universities in over 150 countries.

Hult Prize Judges

Judges

A key element of the story, and the power of Hult Prize, is answering the social enterprise challenge each year impacting the world. Another equally important part of the story is about the opportunity and gratification of being a judge. The judges are a diverse group of people from the ranks of corporate CXOs, non-profit leaders, and social entrepreneurs.  When they participate as judges they join an extensive community established by Hult Prize and their partners:  Hult International Business School, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), and IXL Center.  Many of us have never met before, yet we come together as a working team at the regional championships.  Each of us is changed forever by being instrumental in helping to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs.

Ahmad Ashkar CEO & Founder Hult Prize

Ahmad Ashkar CEO & Founder Hult Prize

This is my 3rd year as a Hult Prize judge. I will be working with Ahmad Ashkar, Founder and CEO of Hult Prize, to create an alumni group of judges providing a unique opportunity to continue the experience and impact of being a judge, in addition to building a foundation upon which past and current judges can collaborate on providing a platform for extending the impact of social entrepreneurship. More to come in the next few months on this topic.

Hult Prize Regional Competition

Faces of Students

Faces of Students

An international rolling judging process follows the sun starting at Hult campuses in Dubai, Shanghai, London, Boston, and finishes in San Francisco. At my location in San Francisco we had 4 groups, 4 judges for each group, and a morning and afternoon pitch contest, 7 in each session. One difference in the process this year was having peer group students listening to the pitch and providing feedback to the judges prior to the deliberation process. I facilitated the discussion between the students and my fellow judges and found that, while the day was longer than it had been in prior years, interacting with the students provided additional insight supporting the decision making process.

Selecting the San Francisco Regional Winner

Athollo San Francisco Winning Team

Athollo San Francisco Winning Team

After hearing the presentations of the final 8 teams, the 16 judges convened in a tent at Levi Center to vote on the San Francisco regional winner. You would think that after a long day of judging (over 10 hours) that we would exhausted from the long day. Instead, each of us came to the room initially voting for the team we had brought to the final selection process. Via deep discussion about the winning criteria, which included innovative idea, clear business plan, partnerships, and a line of sight to execute against their vision, we concluded and selected Athollo, University of Tampa, to move to the New York finals. Their tag line – Maximizing Human Potential Through Education. Their vision, provide top quality early childhood education for children living in urban slums of developing nations through the utilization of mobile phones of female micro-entrepreneurs. In doing so, they endeavor to alleviate the inaccessibility of education around the world. It will be interesting to see how their idea matures through the summer Hult Prize accelerator program.

Call to Action

Pam McNamara IXL and Sheryl Chamberlain

Pam McNamara IXL and Sheryl Chamberlain

So, how are you going to change the world?  Is the time right for you to work with the students and help them on this amazing journey? I invite you to join our community committed to social innovation and entrepreneurship.  This year Hult Prize brought back the online challenge round, which gives all of the entries a second chance to make it to NYC as our “sixth” regional winner. The online round runs from March 16 – May 8. Join us there http://www.hultprize.org/en/compete/online-challenge-2015/overview/

Together, I am confident we can make a difference.

Honorable Mention

Amanda Boyek, San Francisco Regional Director, Hult Prize

Amanda Boyek, San Fran Regional Director, Hult Prize

Kicking off the San Francisco regionals was Amanda Boyek, 2014 finalist and after graduating SF Regional Director, Hult Prize.   She was on Team Monterey, the team my group of judges selected. We are now connected forever with our shared passion for social entrepreneurship and the Hult Prize. For me Amanda, young, bright and passionate is already showcasing the impact of her leader’s legacy.

Student Innovation: Changing the World

Hult Prize Inspires Cross Cultural Leaders to Unite While Building Communities of Social Change

Students Kick Off The Day

Students Kick Off The Day

Can we build a social healthcare enterprise that serves the needs of 25 million slum dwellers suffering from chronic diseases by 2019?  This was the Challenge put forth by President Clinton and Hult Prize to students from around the world.  The Hult Prize is a global competition and start-up accelerator for budding young social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities. Named as one of the top five ideas changing the world by President Bill Clinton and TIME Magazine, the annual competition for the Hult Prize aims to identify and launch the most compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by billions of people.

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton at Hult Prize Finals 2013

More than 11,000 applications were received, but only 300 start-ups selected to present ideas to judges at the 6 regional competitions held this past weekend (March 7-8, 2014) in Boston, Dubai, London, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Shanghai.  Although inspired by the experience of responding to this challenge, students are also motivated by the award of $1,000,000 in seed capital to the winners, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community in an intensive six-week Social Enterprise Accelerator held at IXL-Center in Boston.

Faces of Students

Faces of Students at Final Judging in San Francisco

A key part of the story, and the power of Hult Prize is answering the social enterprise challenge each year impacting the world, this year seeking solutions to improve chronic disease healthcare in slums.  Another part of the story is about the effect and gratification of being a judge.

The Judges

The Judges Team 2, Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO Matternet; Chris Stacy, Director IDEO, Sheryl Chamberlain, EMC; Lacy Caruthers, Principal Google;  Chris S. Thomas, Chief Strategist Intel

The judges are a diverse group of people from the ranks of corporate CXOs, non-profit leaders and social entrepreneurs.  When they participate as judges they join an extensive community established by Hult Prize and their partners:  Hult International Business School, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and IXL Center.  Many of us have never met before, yet we come together as a working team at the regional championships.  In total approximately 1,200 entrepreneurs spend an estimated 1.4 Million Man Hours on Hult Prize.  Each of us is changed forever by being instrumental in helping to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs.

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada's McGill University

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada’s McGill University

Last year I participated in the Boston regionals where the Challenge was to end world hunger. At the time, the United Nations estimated over 870 Million people in the urban slums are uncertain of food sustainability.  The 2013 Hult Prize winning team from McGill University, now a start-up posed to tackle this challenge head-on, was team Aspire. Their game changing idea?  Insects (see my blog Cricket Flour Power Wins 2013 Hult Prize).

Judges Team 3, The Winning Team

Judges Team 3, The Winning Team

This year I was local, participating in the San Francisco regionals, with a group of 25 judges separated into 4 groups.  Each group spent the day listening to pitches and deliberating as a team to select a group winner.  Then all of us together, competitive, rowdy, and filled with passion agreed on the regional champion, MIT’s Wi Care.  Their start-up concept – the Wound Pump. When left untreated wounds can become infected lead to death.  This is true everywhere in the world, but especially in the slums.  It will be interesting to see how their winning idea matures and flourishes after they spend the summer at the Hult Prize Accelerator in Boston.

MIT Wi-Care

San Francisco Regionals Winning Team:  MIT Wi Care

So you have a good sense of what it is like to be a judge I asked my fellow judges to share a quote about their personal experience. Team 3, MIT’s Wi Care was the winning idea.

Team 1 UPenn Nexus

Kate O'Keefe Cisco, Dorian Stone McKinsey, Terri Mandel BioMedLink

Kate O’Keefe Cisco, Dorian Stone McKinsey, Terry Mandel BioMedLink

The Nexus team’s plan is aimed at providing cheap but first-world quality drugs to slum dwellers by (1) remotely diagnosing underserved slum dwellers via SMS, and (2) redirecting currently wasted near-expiration drugs from the U.S. and selling it at low cost to local clinics.  Terry Mandel, colleague, friend, healthcare leader, and CEO BioMedlink, “While their proposals covered a wide range of ideas, viability, and market readiness, the teams universally displayed a passion for, and commitment to, reducing human suffering through sustainable business innovation. I found out later that the UPenn team we advanced for their plan to stock Indian health clinics with first-world pharmaceutical drug “waste” comprised all undergraduates! Like the other teams, they were keen for feedback and mentoring to move their idea towards proof of concept.”

Team 2, My Team Monterey Institute of International Studies (one of many all women teams)

Monterey Institute of International Studies

Monterey Institute of International Studies

This all women team impressed me through their focus on solving high blood pressure, by targeting remittances and creating a partnership with local community healthcare workers. A two fold idea creating jobs while solving the issues associated with high blood pressure. I asked Chris S. Thomas who was the judge quote king for the day, succinctly summarizing each pitch with a pithy quote, for his impressions. At the end of the experience:  “Incredible rapid fire pipeline of quality ideas and innovative teams.  It was like “Speed Dating 4 Innovation” with the judges arguing over who to take home.”  Chris S. Thomas 
Chief Strategist 
Director of Architecture 
World Ahead 
Intel Corporation.

Team 3, the WinningTeam MIT Wi Care

Markus Fromherz, Xerox Chief Innovation Officer, Healthcare

Markus Fromherz, Xerox Chief Innovation Officer, Healthcare

Markus Fromherz, the Xerox Chief Innovation Officer, Healthcare said, “The MIT team demonstrated unusual insight and commitment to their chosen problem, open-wound care. The solution included not just a novel, safer, and easier-to-use device with proven business model based on their field work, but also addressed aspects like the local manufacturability and care-giver training to make this a successful social enterprise.”

Team 4 Hult International Business School

Hult International Business School

Hult International Business School

Introducing Hult at the regional finals was Kate O’Keefe, Chief Innovation Officer at Cisco.  Talking about powerful women committed to changing the world, Kate a recent Sydney/Bay Area transplant received standing applause, during her deliberations.

Kate O'Keefe Cisco, Hitendra Patel Ph.D, Managing Director of the IXL Center

Kate O’Keefe Chief Innovation Officer, Cisco; Hitendra Patel Ph.D, Managing Director of the IXL Center

“It was a privilege to be a judge for the Hult Prize, to be involved for just a moment in the incredible journey these social entrepreneurs from schools all over the world have been on… What impressed me most was that none of these teams were there to build businesses to enrich themselves – they were all there to enrich the lives of the world’s poor through addressing chronic illness.” Kate O’Keefe, Cisco.

Mike Leisher, GM GE Healthcare; Liz Maw, CEO Netimpact; Hugh Molotsti,VP Intuit Labs; Ki

Mike Leisher, GM GE Healthcare; Liz Maw, CEO Netimpact; Hugh Molotsti,VP Intuit Labs

Recounting the entire day’s experience, Hugh Molotsi, Vice President, Intuit Labs Incubator at Intuit.   “It was a long day rewarding day with lots of impressive teams.  MIT’s Wi Care team came out on top but I hope many other teams keep going.”  Fellow judge and blogger Shahid Kahn Innovation Evangelist & Coach at PayPal said, “One thing that lit my fire is that these young women and men could empathize with the poor living in slums, while they are from a completely different background. Check Shahid Khan’s blog on the Hult San Francisco Regionals.  Lacy Caruthers, Principal at Google said:   “The Hult Prize excels at finding and supporting the best and brightest entrepreneurs globally. I was blown away by the creativity and drive of the teams here, and look forward to seeing many of these ideas in action.”

Hitendra Patel, Ph.D. Managing Director of the IXL Center, Professor of Innovation & Growth, Hult IBS

Hitendra Patel, Ph.D. Managing Director of the IXL Center, Professor of Innovation & Growth, Hult IBS

After the program I had a chance to catch up with Hitendra Patel, Ph.D and Managing Director of the IXL Center.  Hitendra and Ron Jonash Senior Partner at the IXL Center both Hult International Business School Faculty wrote the Challenge in partnership with CGI and Hult. Hitendra said, the students answer the challenge completely on their own, and offered us a Challenge to work with the students, so they too can incubate their idea.

Sheryl Chamberlain Hult Prize San Francisco Judge
Sheryl Chamberlain Hult Prize San Francisco Judge

So, how are you going to change the world?  Is the time right for you to work with the students, and help them on this amazing journey? I invite you to join our community committed to social innovation and entrepreneurship.  Together, I am confident we can make a difference. Learn more about this year’s regional winners at Hult Prize 2014 Six Finalists and look for my post on the Hult Prize finals coming this September. 

the tent

Cricket Flour Power Wins 2013 Hult Prize

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton

The Hult Prize competition is a challenge to business school students from around the world to develop a feasible plan to solve a global problem while creating a viable, scalable business at the same time.  Endorsed by President Clinton’s Global Initiative, the program is founded on an endowment for an annual million-dollar prize, which is used by the winning team to launch their new social enterprise.  Equally important, all of the finalists receive a full one-year membership into the Clinton Global Initiative and support from its members to continue to develop their social business ideas.

Hult Prize CGI Award Dinner

Hult Prize CGI Award Dinner

The Hult competition has taken on huge social issues – education, housing and the water crisis. Through crowdsourcing, training, mentorship, and funding, the competition seeks to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs. This year, student teams were selected from over 11,000 applicants representing 350 colleges and universities to pitch their innovative social ventures for solving the Global Food Crisis at one of five Regional Final events. Teams were then selected to participate in regional finals held in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai, and online. Six of these teams then won the right to attend the Hult Prize Accelerator for startups and then pitch their social business ideas to President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City.

The world’s largest student competition for social good chose the global food crisis because while the world produces enough food to feed everyone, more than 1/3 is lost or wasted.  While this is not a new problem and is believed to be the world’s most solvable challenge, still today 25% of the children in the world are hungry.   

Hult Founder and CEO of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar

Hult Founder and CEO of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar

CEO and Founder of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar, explained why feeding the world was slected as the this year’s issue in his FOX News interview.  “Food is the easiest challenge to solve in the world. It is really a concept of distribution.” According to Ashkar, the world produces enough food to feed all of its inhabitants and the key is to figure out how to shorten supply chains, make food more efficient, bring costs down and make it accessible to those living in the urban slum.   Listen to the full interview on Fox News.

Students Hult Prize Boston Finals

Students Hult Prize Boston Finals

As a judge in the Boston Finals, I was fortunate to be interviewed by Living on Earth’s Managing Producer, Helen Palmer.  We met at the reception, where Helen said “ There were no crickets to eat – but I did find one of the judges. Sheryl Chamberlain works for the EMC Corporation, and she said it had been hard to choose a winner.”  Here is an excerpt from that interview that was played on NPR this summer.

CHAMBERLAIN: That was the hardest part. It was listening to these amazing young people that have creative ideas and new ways of solving this problem that we’re looking at, making sure we can feed the world. It’s so hard to decide who should come first and make a decision.

PALMER: In the end, Chamberlain said, all the judges agreed on the McGill team and their small cricket farms in the slums.

CHAMBERLAIN: So the idea of taking crickets and using them for a food source going forward, farming those crickets, eating them whole, looking at different ways to use them, because they give protein in a different way that we have not considered before. So it’s really innovative and watch out – there’ll be crickets flying around your town, and we’ll be grabbing them and using them for sustainable food.  Listen to Helen Palmer’s entire interview

Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, Akanksha Hazari 2011 Hult Prize Winner & Phillip Hult Co-CEO, EF Education First

Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, Akanksha Hazari 2011 Hult Prize Winner & Phillip Hult Co-CEO, EF Education First

Impressed by my role as a judge at the Boston Regionals, Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, North America invited me to attend the Hult Prize Global Finals and Awards Dinner on September 23, 2013, where President Bill Clinton was the host at the opening event of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York. The six finalists teams pitched their start-ups, in front of a world-class audience of political leaders, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, and media luminaries. President Clinton and Muhammad Yunus along with Steve Andrews, CEO of Solar Aid, Erathrin Cousin, CEO of the World Food Program, Peter Sands, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Desh Deshpande, Chairman of the Deshpande Foundation, Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, and Premal Shah, Paypal co-founder and President and co-founder of Kiva, judged and selected the winner of the 2013 Hult Prize.  The award of 1 Million  USD to be used by the winning team as start-up funding, was donated by Swedish entrepreneur Bertil Hult and his family. The winning team was from Canada’s McGill  University, a Boston Regional Final, who was featured in the following day’s plenary session.

Muhammad Yunkus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and 2013 Hult Prize Finals Judge

Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and 2013 Hult Prize Finals Judge

Here is an overview of the winning solution in the team’s own words:

Apsire learned through research during the summer that food insecurity is not an issue of lack of food. The vast majority in urban slums do not go hungry. But they lack access to affordable nutrition. Many suffer from malnourishment and nutrient deficiencies despite being overweight or obese. Therefore, the problem of food security in urban slums is not one of food being expensive per se, but of nutritious food being unavailable or overpriced compared to cheaper, less nutritious offerings. While insects might not seem a common meal for Westerners, a new plan is being proposed by students from Montreal’s McGill University wherein edible insects can be produced at an industrial scale to provide nourishment for folks

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada's McGill University with President Clinton

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada’s McGill University with President Bill Clinton

Our disruptive social enterprise, Aspire, aims to improve access to edible insects worldwide. We develop and distribute affordable and sustainable insect farming technologies for countries with established histories of entomophagy, or insect-consumption. Our farming solutions stabilize the supply of edible insects year-round, drastically improving and expanding the economic ecosystem surrounding insect consumption in the regions serviced. Not only do our durable farming units create income stability for rural farmers, they have a wider social impact by lowering the price of edible insects. This is central to our mission of increasing access to highly nutritious edible insects amongst the poorest, and therefore neediest, members of society.

Hélène  Barnekow EMC Senior Vice President, Worldwide Field & Partner Marketing and Sheryl Chamberlain

Hélène Barnekow EMC Senior Vice President, Worldwide Field & Partner Marketing and Sheryl Chamberlain

For next year’s challenge, President Bill Clinton asks teams to build sustainable and scalable social enterprises to address non-communicable disease in slums.  I can only hope I will once again be asked to join my fellow esteemed judges at the 2014 Boston Regionals.  I would look forward to witnessing the innovative proposals for addressing President Clinton’s challenge.

Learn more:  Bugs as an edible food source. Winner’s Blog, Clinton’s Global Initiative CGI and 2014 Hult Prize Challengeprize/2014-challenge/

President Bill Clinton and Sheryl Chamberlain at 2011RSA Conference

President Bill Clinton and Sheryl Chamberlain at 2011RSA Conference

 

How Will You Change the World?

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 International Students

Hult International Students

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.

Peter Alto, Fidelity; Mitchell Leiman, Bain; and Ellott Seaborn, Arnold Worldwide

Fellow Judges:  Peter Alto, Fidelity; Mitchell Leiman, Bain; and Ellott Seaborn, Arnold Worldwide

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.

Peter R. Russell, Jr. Director Corporate Relations, North America Hult International Business School

Peter R. Russell, Jr. Director Corporate Relations, North America Hult International Business School

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.

Rahul Joshi, Hult MBA Student

Rahul Joshi and Prabhu Gopalakrishnan Hult  International Business School MBA Students

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