The Hult Prize Foundation recently announced that a team from the Stockholm School of Economics has advanced to the regional finals of the sixth annual Hult Prize Challenge, a competition in which participants work to solve a development challenge.
The annual Hult Prize Challenge is the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social improvement. 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 five cities around the world for a chance to secure USD 1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture.
The 2015 Hult Prize will focus on building start-ups that provide sustainable, high quality early education solutions to ten million children under the age of six in urban slums and beyond by the year 2020. This year’s challenge was set and selected by President Bill Clinton, who said, “The Hult Prize is about more than the solution to the problem, it’s about how the world has to work in the 21st century.”
About the team from SSE
Seven competing teams presented their ideas in the local competition at SSE in December. The board of judges included the President of the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, Ulf Eriksson, Cecilia Chatterjee-Martinsen, CEO of the NGO Water Aid, along with other acknowledged social entrepreneurs.
Picture taken at the local competition at SSE. Photo: Lewis Beischer
The winning team is from the Master Program in Economics and consists of Tomás da Costa e Silva Vasconcelos (Brazil), Sigita Zvirblite (Lithuania), Adomas Balkevicius (Lithuania) and Piotrek Rozwalka (Poland). Throughout the competition they had mentoring sessions Accenture and the Swedish Social Entrepreneurship Forum and will continue to receive mentoring from the SSE faculty.
The team’s winning concept
“In rough lines we want to design very low cost educational toys, adapted to the materials available in urban slums. The long-term goal is to raise awareness of the importance of education, but toys allow us to start change immediately. They facilitate the introduction of education in children’s daily routine even before parents realize how important it is. Children would simply learn from playing. It's easily scalable and adaptable, and we can reach 10 million children in five years”, says Tomás da Costa e Silva Vasconcelos, one of the team members.
To prepare for the competition in London on March 13-14, the team is busy doing the market research and field research that provides the input for their business plan.
About the Hult Prize
The Hult Prize gives entrepreneurs from around the world a platform to innovate and revolutionize the way society thinks about servicing the poor. Each team selected was chosen from more than 20,000 applications received from over 500 colleges and universities in over 150 countries. The Hult Prize regional final competitions will take place on March 13 and 14, 2015 in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai.
Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentorship and startup their business idea as they create prototypes and set up to launch and scale their new ventures. A final round of competition will be hosted by President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September, where CGI delegates will select the team to be awarded the USD 1 million prize by President Bill Clinton himself.