Hult Prize Competition Comes to PKU Shenzhen
datetime:2015-10-20 16:54:40

     If you stood a chance to win 1,000,000 US Dollars, how would you make use of that to bring about a change in the social and economic tribulations faced by scores of developing communities across the globe? The HULT Challenge aims to precisely achieve that by enhancing the living conditions of billions of people subsisting on meager necessities in pockets of crowded, poverty-rife societies in developing nations.

     Established in 2010 by the HULT Foundation to encourage the brightest minds from colleges and universities around the world to develop economically viable solutions to mitigate the most pressing issues faced by some of the poorest economies in the world, the challenge has grown to become the world's largest crowd sourcing platform for social entrepreneurism. Today, it is one of the leading socio-economic channels of progress that strives to provide effective and efficient measures to bridge the disparity between the developed and the developing.

     So what exactly does the challenge entail and what are the rewards? As a start-up accelerator, the annual initiative calls for participants to present an active business model to accomplish a measurable objective aligning to each year's theme over days of intense competition to be selected as a winner in one of the 5 regional finals which are held in March every year at Shanghai, Boston, San Francisco, London and Dubai. So it’s not just about pitching an idea but creating a sustainable social enterprise that specifically addresses the challenge identified by each year’s case or theme. This case, known as the “President’s Challenge”, is selected by former U.S. President Bill Clinton in consultation with Mohammad Yunus, founder of the micro-credit institute, The Grameen Bank and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Regional winners in these 5 cities move on to a boot-camp styled competition involving rigorous training and expert mentoring to further compete with each other in the Clinton Global Initiative where the final winners will receive 1 million US dollars in seed capital to implement their strategy and scale their enterprise.

     The challenge for 2016 is “CROWDED URBAN SPACES: Building sustainable, scalable and fast-growing social enterprises that double the income of 10 million people residing in crowded urban spaces, by better connecting people, goods, services and capital.”

     PHBS too is gearing up to drive the change and who better to share valuable insights than someone who has mentored winning teams in the past? Says Kevin Chastagner, Professor of Management at PHBS and academic coordinator of the HULT Program, “What makes the Hult Challenge stand out is that unlike all other business challenges which involve case studies to seek a winner with a commercial, revenue-generating solution, this is about actually making a difference in people’s lives. It’s more than just winning money or gaining recognition. We want to show our students that this is an opportunity to gain exposure to connect with some of the most talented students and a chance to shoulder a more-meaningful responsibility than bearing a mere trophy. Participants need to be highly motivated & passionate about driving a social change and extremely professional & knowledgeable to understand the goal of the challenge. And as academics, we are ready to support and guide students to make this impact.”

     So, do you have an innovation breakthrough or a brilliantly simple product, service or platform that could make a telling contribution to the issue contained within this year’s theme? Then join us this Wednesday, the 21st of October at 19:00 in PHBS Room 519 or visit to get more information on how to apply.

Reported by Gayathri Jagannathan