Heller team advances to regional semi-final following inaugural Hult Prize@ Brandeis University

December 16, 2016

image of the Hult Prize logo and tagline

Nearly 50 Brandeis University students and volunteers gathered at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management to compete in the inaugural Hult Prize @ Brandeis Competition on Dec 3, 2016. Ten student teams presented business solutions to restore the rights and dignity of 10 million refugees by 2022. The day-long event tested students’ research, teamwork, and problem-solving skills as the teams went head-to-head for an opportunity to win regional recognition.

With the support of a shared case packet, teams of Brandeis University undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni became fluent in interdisciplinary approaches to migration and resettlement. Students networked with peers and professionals to invigorate social change and drew linkages among academic work, research, and the challenges faced by the world at large. Throughout the competition, teams presented solutions to a panel of judges for a chance to advance to the regional semi-final round. The winning team will work with with the Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center (HFIC) to develop their business. HFIC generously invites the team to participate in Lean Launch Pad and the SPARK program, granting the team access to intensive on-campus mentorship, training and funding.  

image of winning team

Winners: Team Gray Collar. Team members (left to right): Huong Le, MBA/MA SID'17, Steven Siegel, MBA/MPP'16, Mariam Hassan, MBA'16; Photo credit: Anna Jen .

The panel of expert judges represent social services and social entrepreneurship, including: Grace Gaskill, Catholic Charities of Boston; Sheryl Seller, Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy; Anna Treishman, Social Innovation Fund; and Nithyaa Venkataramani, New Profit. 

Brandeis University teams advancing to the regional semi-final in Boston on March 3-4 include the the event winner, Team Gray Collar. Gray Collar is a vocational job training program for refugees that uses 21st-century virtual reality technology. Runners-up include Promise Healthcare (second place), which aims to attain high-quality health care for Syrian refugees in Jordan, and Grafting Growth (third place), an organization which revitalizes a struggling industry by pairing retiring farmers with resettled refugees across the U.S. 

The Inaugural Hult Prize @ Brandeis Competition was sponsored by the Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center, the Asper Center for Global Entrepreneurship, the Brandeis Hiatt Career Center, the Heller Career Development Center, Heller admissions, and the Heller MBA program.