The Hult Prize Foundation is an opportunity for young social entrepreneurs coming from different universities around the world to get significant aid for a start-up. The Hult Prize started in 2009 and in only a few years it has become an extremely prestigious student competition offering incredible opportunities and resources. It is an annual competition that aims to identify and launch the most convincing business ideas that will address serious issues faced by billions of people. The competition is composed of a series of rounds that end with one final winner receiving $1 million in start-up funding, as well as mentorships and advice from the international business community. It is the largest student competition in the world with a goal to engage and support students with the launch of social enterprises that address important, global challenges. The 2015 Challenge concerns early childhood education and, specifically, the issue of solving childhood education in the urban slum and beyond.  

This year, Penn has been offered the amazing opportunity to host its own quarterfinals, which will be held Saturday, Dec. 6 in the Jon M. Huntsman Hall Forum. Penn’s competition is open to undergraduates, grad students, PhD students and teams can even have one alumnus. Sunday, Nov. 16 was the last day for Penn students to register for Penn’s individual competition, and thanks to the hard work of the organizing committees, Penn is now looking to present a full-day event of business proposals from over 140 students to earn an automatic spot to the next round, the regional qualifiers, which takes place in several different locations around the world. 

Sophomore, Molly Wang, leads Hult Prize at Penn, and she has given us some insight about how she became involved with this project. She shares, “I learned about the competition through one of the participants in the 2014 Hult Prize from Penn. I followed up on opportunities to get involved because I have always been interested in the intersection of social impact and entrepreneurship. I’m especially intrigued by the middle area, between non-profit and for-profit, that these enterprises reside in. I firmly believe that a business can be profitable and work toward a social good.” Molly works with other Penn students who compose three interdependent organizing committees: Marketing (including me), Logistics, and Corporate and Sponsorship. The Penn event will be divided into two panels and consist of two sections: the first will include 5-minute pitches from each team and responses to a 4-minute Q&A. Then the top two teams in each panel will give yet another presentation in a final round in front of all the judges. So far we have five inspirational judges: 

  1. Ian C. MacMillan (Executive Director of the Wharton Entrepreneurial Research Center)
  2. Eva Zlotnicka (Director, Global ESF & Sustainability Research, UBS Investment Bank)
  3. Susan Cori (Chief Operations Officer of B Lab)
  4. Kate McCrery (Global Communications Manager of Village Capital) 
  5. Chao Guo (Associate Professor, Penn School of Social Policy & Practice)   

Hult Prize at Penn is working very hard to get this amazing event set up, and we encourage all Penn students to come support their friends who are competing or just come to hear all the excellent and innovative start-up ideas that students are coming up with to change the system of education around the world!        

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