The regional finals for the Hult Prize, a start-up accelerator for budding young social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities, is taking place on March 8th at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai, and will serve as the grand finale of Social Enterprise Week, taking place from 4 – 9th March (www.socentweek.me).
Recognized by President Bill Clinton and TIME Magazine as one of the top five ideas changing the world for the better, Hult Prize will host regional finals across the Hult International Business School campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai, with a sixth final hosted by Rio Branco University in Sao Paulo. One winning team from each city will advance to the summer accelerator program in Boston and will participate in the grand finals in New York, hosted by President Clinton during the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in September. The winner will receive USD1,000,000 in start-up capital along with mentorship from the international business community to launch their new enterprise.
The 2014 Hult Prize challenge focuses on “Solving Non-Communicable Disease in the Urban Slum” and will see 43 teams from 38 universities in the region participate. Each of the finalists has been shortlisted from over 10,000 applications fielded worldwide. Amongst those competing in Dubai are teams from Egypt, Turkey, China, Belgium, Netherlands, Malaysia, Russia, Canada, Lebanon, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, India, Spain, UK, USA, Palestine and Afghanistan – who are bringing a team from Kabul Medical University for the first time.
There are nine teams representing the United Arab Emirates in the competition including Hult International Business School, Masdar, New York University (NYU) in Abu Dhabi, the University of Sharjah, the Institute of Management Technology and Strathclyde University.
Judges for the Hult Prize Dubai Finals comprise the most influential decision makers in the region including CEOs, Managing Directors and Partners from the likes of: Bain, McKinsey, Booz & Co., MasterCard, TECOM, Dubai Cares, Philips, ADIB, Takseem amongst others.
Ahmad Ashkar, Founder and CEO of the Hult Prize Foundation said: “Since its inception in 2009 the Hult Prize has seen some remarkable talent emerge across the world, competing with fantastic ideas to solve the world’s toughest challenges. We see incredible interest from the Middle East and are extremely proud to have teams from across the region in this year’s challenge. Social entrepreneurship is vital to the long term prosperity in the Middle East and our goal is to create a bridge between the private sector, NGOs, social entrepreneurs and local governments to develop the infrastructure needed for social enterprises to thrive.” He added: “ At the conclusion of this year’s Hult Prize, we will have launched more social enterprises than the combined totals of the entire GCC and Levant regions. This in turn will impact millions and millions of people in the world.”
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