Fletcher students in Hult Prize regional finals

I think the word is out that I cherish students’ unsolicited contributions to the blog.  When I received a note from MALD student Lauren, I was happy not only because I was spared some writing, but also because she shared some exciting news.  Lauren told me:

A team of Fletcher and Friedman students has advanced to the regional finals for the 4th annual Hult Prize. Our team is made up of two Fletcher students (Jane Church and myself), one Friedman student (Kimberly Feeney London), and one dual-degree Fletcher-Friedman student (Christina Filipovic).  This year’s Hult Prize is themed around global food security, and the challenge (posed by President Clinton) is to create a social enterprise to get safe, sufficient, affordable and easily accessible food to the people of urban slums.  If we advance through the regional finals, we participate in a summer incubator to further develop our business.  A final round of decisions will occur in September and we could compete with the winners from the five other regions throughout the world for $1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture.

And here’s some general information Lauren provided:  The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition and crowdsourcing platform for social good.  In partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, the Hult Prize identifies and launches social ventures that aim to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.  Student teams compete in five cities around the world on March 1 and 2 (this coming weekend!).  The Tufts team will compete at the Boston regional final, with the four other regional competitions held in San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai.  Each team was selected from more than 10,000 applications received, totaling over 350 colleges and universities, representing over 150 countries.

The summer business incubator Lauren referred to provides participants with mentorship, and advisory and strategic planning, as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business.  The final round of competition is hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative and CGI delegates will select the winning team that receives the million dollar award, presented by former President Bill Clinton.

In a press release developed by the University, Lauren is quoted saying, “We think there is enormous potential to use market-based solutions to improve food security, economic growth and social justice despite the challenges posed due to population growth and climate change.”

In the same press release, the founder of the Hult Prize, Ahmad Ashkar, attributes the success of the competition to the global youth revolution and said, “We continue to be moved by the large number of students from around the world who are capitalizing on the opportunity to develop business models that target the bottom of the pyramid.”  And he said, “We wish every team the best of luck and thank Tufts University for supporting this initiative.”

You can follow news on the competition and the progress of the Tufts team on facebook or Twitter.  Good luck, Lauren, Jane, Kimberly, and Christina!

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