The Hult Prize, formerly known as the Hult Global Case Challenge, kicks off today, with this year’s challenge announced live by Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in New York.
Over the last four years, the competition brought together thousands of students from over 130 countries who competed with each other to develop solutions to real world challenges facing NGOs. At stake is a $1 million cash grant to implement their idea. Last year’s challenge asked students to develop solutions to poverty through education, energy, and housing.
This year, however, the Hult Prize is moving to a new format in a movement dubbed “NGO 2.0”. The fundamental difference is that rather than working with existing NGOs, students will compete to build entirely new organizations that centre around a topic chosen by Bill Clinton himself. This year’s chosen topic is global food security. Teams will still have an NGO leader, who brings on-the-ground experience, on their board. Organizers believe this new format will liberate start-ups and remove bureaucracy after learning that the earmarking process with NGOs is slow and they are typically poorly configured to be successful and sustainable.
In this new format, teams of five will compete to become one of six regional winners to earn a spot in the Hult Accelerator, an intensive, two-month summer incubator program where they will perfect their plans. Teams will work alongside successful business leaders and established social entrepreneurs on product development, scalability, regional focus, and identifying partnerships.
They will present at the following year’s CGI conference and the Hult family will award one team with a $1 million prize. The hope is that the Hult Prize will attract other investors and spur a new generation of for-profit, social entrepreneurial start-ups that create “win-win” business models, as oppose to relying on charity whose donor funds can dry up for a number of reasons before any problem can be fixed.
Photo from Hult International Business School.
Social Enterprise Buzz is a media company dedicated to covering social enterprise news from around the world. We publish a range of stories from startups to entrepreneurship, innovation, and finance, which showcase business making the world a better place. Read more.