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High five

10 February 2015

The article at a glance

Record five Cambridge MBA teams advance to regional finals of Hult Prize 2015. Five Cambridge MBA teams have emerged from more than …

Record five Cambridge MBA teams advance to regional finals of Hult Prize 2015.

Record five Cambridge MBA teams advance to regional finals of Hult Prize 2015
Five Cambridge MBA teams have emerged from more than 20,000 applications to continue pursuing a $1 million development challenge organised by former President Bill Clinton.

The annual Hult Prize Challenge is the world’s largest student competition and a start-up platform for social good. In partnership with President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, the crowdsourcing platform identifies and launches catalytic social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. Student teams compete in five cities around the world for the chance to secure $1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture.

The five Cambridge teams will compete on 13-14 March 2015 in London (two teams), Dubai, Shanghai and San Francisco, for the chance to attend the finals of the sixth annual Hult Prize. The 2015 Hult Prize focuses on building start-ups that provide sustainable, high-quality early education solutions to 10 million children under the age of six in urban slums and beyond, by the year 2020.

This year’s challenge was selected by President Clinton, who 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.

Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of the Hult Prize Foundation, attributes the rapid growth of the SRI sector to new demand being created by the international market place. He said: “Servicing the world’s poorest through profitable and sustainable enterprise is not just good for the world, it’s great business. Our pioneering platform builds ecosystems by leveraging crowd and we couldn’t be happier that Cambridge Judge Business School will be joining our mission with their participation in the 6th annual Hult Prize.”

Current Cambridge MBA Carolina Serra, a former innovation specialist within technology management, whose team will participate in the Dubai regional final, said of the competition:

One of the most remarkable aspects of Cambridge’s success in the Hult Prize this year is the collaborative approach of Cambridge students. Since the beginning, when we gathered information and formed teams, we’ve been sharing resources that could be helpful for everybody. We put our success down to understanding the opportunity not as a competition among each other, but as a chance to work together towards a challenging goal.

Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentoring, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and seek to scale their new ventures. A final round of competition will be hosted by Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September, where CGI delegates will select a winning team, to be awarded the $1 million prize.

The Hult Prize final was previously won by a Cambridge MBA team in 2011. Akanksha Hazari and her team’s proposal of an innovative incentive scheme to bring clean water and sanitation to those living at the bottom of the economic pyramid, through mobile technology, strategic telecom partnerships and a rebate programme, went on to become m.Paani, an independent social enterprise working to bring safe water, education, healthcare, energy, nutrition and mobility to communities in rural India. Akanksha has since been recognised as one of the top 10 female social entrepreneurs in India.