Heller School Team advances to regional finals of fifth annual Hult Prize

January 20, 2014

Waltham, MA  — The Hult Prize Foundation recently announced that the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University has advanced to the regional finals of the fifth annual Hult Prize. The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social good. In partnership with President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, the innovative crowdsourcing platform identifies and launches disruptive and catalytic social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. Student teams compete in six cities around the world for a chance to secure $1 million USD in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture.

The team members are from Brandeis’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), and International Business School (IBS). The team consists of Rachael Gold-Brown, MA-SID/COEX ‘15 (USA); Melissa Nazareno, MBA ‘14 (USA); Eyad Fallatah, PhD ’19, GSAS (Saudi Arabia); Di Luo, MA-SID (exchange student from Beijing Normal University, China); and Yan Shi, MBA ’15, IBS (China). Prior to this competition, the team members were also the winners of Heller’s first social enterprise start-up competition, implemented by the vision of a student-led initiative of upperclassmen.  They believed they built momentum and worked well together as a team, and so decided they needed to push for the next challenge.

The 2014 Hult Prize will focus on the 250 million slum dwellers around the world suffering from chronic diseases who need help – a challenge personally selected by President Bill Clinton. Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of the Hult Prize, attributes the success of the competition to the shift in the global economy and the millennial generation’s refusal to live in a world with inequality: “We are giving entrepreneurs from around the world a platform to innovate and revolutionize the way we think about servicing the poor.”

Each team selected was chosen from more than 10,000 applications received from over 350 colleges and universities in over 150 countries. The Hult Prize regional competitions will take place on March 7 and 8, 2014 in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai and Sao Paulo. Brandeis University will compete in Boston.

Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set up to launch their new social business.  A final round of competition will be hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September, where CGI delegates will select a winning team, which will be awarded the $1 million USD prize by President Bill Clinton himself. The President has 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.”

About the Hult Prize

The Hult Prize is a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurship, which brings together the brightest college and university students from around the globe to solve the world’s most pressing issues. The annual initiative is the world’s largest student competition and crowdsourcing platform for social good. The Hult Prize has been funded by the Hult family since its inception in 2009. To learn more, visit www.hultprize.org.

About the Clinton Global Initiative 

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, CGI members have made more than 2,500 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $87.9 billion.

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