Western teams advance in Hult Prize competition

Two teams of Western students have advanced to the regional finals of the sixth annual Hult Prize Challenge, putting the eight students in line for the competition’s $1-million prize, the organization announced today.

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

Under the theme, Early Childhood Education: The Unmet Need of the Century, 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 6 in urban slums and beyond by the year 2020.

Each team selected for the regional finals was chosen from more than 20,000 applications received from more than 500 colleges and universities in more than 150 countries. Teams from eight Canadian universities qualified. The Hult Prize regional final competitions will take place on March 13-14 in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai.

The Western team of Shivani Chotalia, HBA and Green Process Engineering; Dimuth Kurukula, Geography; Denise Liu, HBA and Health Sciences; and Ahsan Syed, HBA and Environmental Science, is scheduled to compete in Dubai.

The Western team of Daniel Andru, HBA; Eric Huang, HBA and Economics; Haejo Kim, Psychology and Physiology; and Angelica Martinez, Biology, is scheduled to 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 and scale their new ventures. A final round of competition will be hosted by Clinton the the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in September.