"One of the top five ideas
changing the world."

President Bill Clinton

"Empowering business minds
to pursue purpose."

-Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of The Hult Prize

The 2017 Challenge

REAWAKENING HUMAN POTENTIAL

Building sustainable, scalable start-up enterprises that will restore the rights and dignity of 10 million people by 2022

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Hult Prize Global Final

New York City
September 2017


Meet Some of Our Past Judges

Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Laureate
Founder, Micro-finance
 
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Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus is the father of microcredit, the father of social business, the founder of Grameen Bank, and of more than 50 other companies in Bangladesh. For his constant innovation and enterprise, Fortune Magazine named Professor Yunus in March 2012 as "one of 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time."

Yunus has received several other national and international honors. He received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 and theCongressional Gold Medal in 2010. In 2008, he was rated #2 in Foreign Policy magazine's list of the 'Top 100 Global Thinkers'.

Kathleen Rogers

President
Earth Day
 
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Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network, has worked for more than 20 years as an environmental attorney and advocate, focusing on international and domestic environmental public policy and law.

Kathleen has held senior positions with the National Audubon Society, the Environmental Law Institute, and two U.S. Olympic Organizing Committees. She has also worked for Garth Associates in New York City and the Beveridge & Diamond law firm, where she developed a white collar environmental crime defense practice. Kathleen was editor-in-chief of theUniversity of California at Davis Law Review, and clerked for the Honorable John Pratt at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She also worked with the U.S. Delegation at the United Nations Conference on Women.

Mohammed Ashour

CEO
Aspire Food Group
 
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Mohammed Ashour is the CEO and founder of Aspire Food Group, winner of the 2013 Hult Prize. Named as one of the world's top entrepreneurs under 30 by Forbes, Mr. Ashour is a leading authority in edible insects. His company, Aspire Food Group is a pioneer in the the social enterprise sector and is a driving force in the fight against food insecurity.

Meet the Teams

  • Roshni Rides

    From:

    Rutgers University

    Start-up Concept:

    Roshni Rides is a solar powered eRickshaw service that acts as a public transportation system for refugee communities. The eRickshaws run on batteries that are charged by solar energy cultivated in Roshni Hubs, and provide consistent transportation that’s affordable, convenient, and safe. Our Roshni Hubs also act as a location for storage, repair, maintenance, and community space. With the excess electricity, Roshni Rides will be shedding light through our hub on to the surrounding community. Our unique service was inspired by the New York City subway system as we operate on a systematic route that has been strategically mapped out to create accessibility to critical resources like education, healthcare and employment.

  • U-Gas

    From:

    Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México

    Start-up Concept:

    Due to overpopulation and poor hygienic conditions in refugee camps, outbreak of diseases associated with poor sanitation and contact with human waste are common, and sometimes fatal. In order to prevent this, U-gas’ solution is to set up ecological dry toilets and urinals in camps, provide each toilet with antibacterial gel, clean them daily and collect the biowaste every week. To scale, the urine will be used to make gas with a biogas generator that produces 1 liter of gas per 500 ml of urine in 30 seconds. The gas will be sold at a wholesale price to gas businesses in the area that will distribute it. The biogas is for domestic use, the cheapest in the market, and also eco-friendly.

  • EPOCH

    From:

    University of Waterloo

    Start-up Concept:

    EPOCH is a mobile platform that brings refugees and community members together through the exchange of skills, talents, and services. Time will be the means of exchange, where money is not required. With EPOCH, refugees are able to receive support from the community, expand their trusted networks, and share their talents and cultures. EPOCH aims to build resilient communities where refugees and community members can reach reach their full potential.

  • Skill2Scale

    From:

    University of Calgary

    Start-up Concept:

    Skill2Scale leverages gamification and a smartphone application to promote integration by teaching language and cultural skills to refugees. The target market ranges from refugees living in camps in Africa, to refugees resettling in a new country, and the team has piloted the project in both settings with good results.

  • Empower

    From:

    York University

    Start-up Concept:

    Empower is a connectivity solution that provides refugees with stable and affordable internet access through a WiFi bracelet. The WiFi bracelet is also a charging power bank powered by solar panels. Empower uses a subscription model that is 50% cheaper on average that what refugees currently pay. Empower unlocks information so refugees can access employment opportunities, stay up to date with their education and monitor their health.

  • Ekta

    From:

    University of Southern California

    Start-up Concept:

    Team Ekta’s product Billfold aims to provide financial security to displaced persons who face challenges in protecting their money when on the move. Refugees convert their local currency to bitcoin with the help of Billfold Coordinators who for a minimal fee help convert the money. Once a refugee has reached their destination, a Billfold Coordinator in the new country will help them convert their bitcoin to the local currency of that country. Billfold also features an innovative profit sharing model, and trains customers on the use of bitcoin.

  • Dignify

    From:

    Harvard University, Kennedy School

    Start-up Concept:

    Our mission is to provide sustainable employment opportunities to refugees and restore dignity back into their lives despite their circumstances. According to the UNHCR, there are over 21 million refugees, being approximately 40% of them of working age, but their refugee status in practice excludes them from the formal job market, preventing access to reliable sources of income. Dignify is a mobile platform that links these refugees to digital microwork, unlocking a $450 million job market previously out of reach.

  • Meliora

    From:

    University of Rochester

    Start-up Concept:

    Lebanon’s biggest landfill, which serves 50% of the population, closed in 2015 without a viable alternative. With only three out of nine landfills in the country operational, two tons of trash have since piled up on the streets. Lebanon is also suffering from a large Syrian refugee influx. Syrian refugees make up 25% of Lebanon’s population, 70% of them live under extreme poverty line. We can reuse non-biodegradable waste to create proprietary interlocking bricks. These bricks can be used to build low cost, semi-permanent houses that can solve the problem of finding affordable temporary housing for refugees.

Hult Prize by the Numbers

  • 10M Involuntary Migrants Targeted 2017 Hult Prize stretch target for individuals impacted by winning idea.
  • 10M Million Man Hours Estimated for 2015. Total applications multiplied by average hours spent per team per challenge via poll of past participants.
  • 50K Annual Applications Total number of applications in all rounds of 2017 Hult Prize.
  • 1500 Entrepreneurs Participating in the regional finals in 2017.
  • 1750 Social Business Ideas Generated Sum of all regional finalists teams through 2016 competition.
  • 650 Schools Represented In total since the inaugural year (2009).

BuuPass

The 2016 winners of the Hult Prize

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IMPCT

The 2015 winners of the Hult Prize

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Nanohealth

The 2014 winners of the Hult Prize

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Aspire Foods

The 2013 winners of the Hult Prize

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Press

Social entrepreneurship: business smiles

"If you look globally at what is happening in the developing world, you see that the beneficiary of a charity is moving from being a beneficiary to being a customer, and the corporate sector is integrating social because it knows this is its customer base of the future."

Changing the Social Conscience of Business Students

When you think of business school students, what do you think of? Do you view them as the next generation of managers, armed with a Millennial mindset and a solid grounding in business principles?

Can insects end world hunger?

Ending world hunger is a lofty goal with a United Nations' estimate of 870 million people being uncertain of their food supplies. One start-up is poised to tackle this challenge head-on after winning the 2013 Hult Prize and its $1 million capital investment.