Earlhamites in pursuit of $1M Hult Prize to solve Clinton's crowded urban spaces challenge | Earlham College Skip to Content

Earlhamites in pursuit of $1M Hult Prize to solve Clinton's crowded urban spaces challenge

March 07, 2016

Hultprize _logoEarlham College is sending two teams of aspiring social entrepreneurs to the regional finals of the Hult Prize, the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social good.

In partnership with former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, the Hult Prize’s innovative crowdsourcing platform identifies and launches social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges.

The 2016 Hult Prize awards $1 million and asks entrepreneurs to create sustainable businesses that double the income of 10 million people living in crowded urban spaces — a challenge personally selected by Clinton.

“The competition is extremely exciting, especially for a freshmen like me,” says Son Ngoc Tran ’19, a member of Earlham’s “Spriland” team, which advanced to the regional finals during an on-campus pitch event.

That team’s business plan aims to empower urban communities to solve malnutrition affordably.  They will compete at the San Francisco regional.

“It is not only a chance to present my idea and skills in a huge competition but also a great opportunity to connect with people from other colleges and universities sharing the same interest,” he says. “This competition is not only open to undergraduate students but also for MBA and graduate school. Therefore, it is very competitive. Hopefully, I can show my best in the presentation.”

A second team from Earlham, the “Magic Bus” team, applied to the Hult Prize directly and was among the teams chosen to compete in the Boston regional from a field of 25,000 applicants.  That team is working on a plan that offers affordable transportation solutions in crowded urban communities, particularly slum areas.

“As a team we are greatly looking forward to the competition in March, and are excited to meet all the other young, like-minded social entrepreneurs who are the up-and-coming world leaders in innovation and social change,” says Iman Cooper ‘16. “What a phenomenal opportunity we have to interact with such a diverse group of people, and we are proud to be representing Earlham at such a high-profile competition.”

Other students representing Earlham from the “Magic Bus” team is Sonia Kabra ’16, Leslie Ossete ’16, and Wyclife Omondi ’17. Minh Duc Vu ’19, Hiep Xuan Nguyen ’17, and Saw Yan Naung ’17 round out the “Spriland” team.

“The Hult Prize and Earlham College stand for many of the same things,” Earlham President David Dawson says. “We attract students who care deeply about the many challenges facing the world. Every year, our students demonstrate the passion and aptitude it takes to move the world forward.”

Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of the Hult Prize, attributes the success of the competition to the shift in the global economy and the millennial generation’s refusal to live in a world with inequality, “We are giving entrepreneurs from around the world a platform to innovate and revolutionize the way we think about servicing the poor.”

Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into the Hult Prize Accelerator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business. 

A final round of competition will be hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September, where CGI delegates will select a winning team and President Bill Clinton will award the $1 million prize himself.  The President has said, “The Hult Prize is a wonderful example of the creative cooperation needed to build a world with shared opportunity, shared responsibility, and shared prosperity, and each year I look forward to seeing the many outstanding ideas the competition produces.”

Social entrepreneurship is thriving at Earlham through the Integrated Program in Business and Entrepreneurship. In addition to the Hult Prize, Earlhamites are receiving support to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University and Harvard African Business conferences.

About the Hult Prize Foundation

The Hult Prize Foundation is a pioneer in crowd-based approaches to the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems and the acceleration of social enterprise. Its startup accelerator is the world’s largest and brings together the brightest college and university students from around the globe to solve the world’s most pressing issues. It has been named by TIME amongst the top five ideas changing the world. The annual Hult Prize Challenge is the world’s largest student competition and crowd-sourcing platform for social good, offering a grand prize of US$1,000,000. The Hult Prize Foundation has been funded by the Hult family since it was founded in 2009 by current CEO, Ahmad Ashkar. It is run in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative and is sponsored by the Hult International Business School. To learn more, visit www.hultprize.org.

About The Clinton Global Initiative

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, CGI members have made more than 2,500 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $87.9 billion.

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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at (765) 983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.


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