What would you do if you were awarded one million dollars? Winners of the Hult Prize use the money to help alleviate global poverty. College students compete for the prize by coming up with innovative ways to solve the world’s biggest problems. A student at Hult International Business School, Ahmad Ashkar, came up with the idea to have teams of students from around the globe attempt to come up with a solution for particular issues. For 2015, the issue is “early childhood education.”
Hult International Business School, having partnered with former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, held the first competition in 2010. The competition starts on a local/regional level with competitions being held in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. Winners then go on to a six-week program packed with seminars on innovation and entrepreneurship called “The Hult Prize Accelerator.” Afterward, six teams go on to the Global Finals, where one team with an impactful idea is decided on as the best. The winning team then gets the opportunity to put their plans into action.
Last year, the issue to focus on was “non-communicable diseases in urban slums” such as diabetes or heart disease. A team of students from the Indian School of Business were declared the winners for their business concept “NanoHealth,” where a group of doctors receive a “Dox-in-Box,” a diagnostic tool that will help identify those at risk of disease. The goal is for NanoHealth to help up to 25 million people currently living in slums. Other finalists came from the University of Pennsylvania, MIT, HEC Paris, ESADE Business School and York University, and many of them are known to continue going forward with implanting their idea despite not winning.
The Hult Prize has been referred to as the “Nobel prize for students” by Muhammad Yunus, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
“If you can create a real business, the beginning of a prototype, you can change the world,” he said.
This year’s winner will be decided on at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in the fall.
– Melissa Binns