"One of the top five ideas
changing the world."

President Bill Clinton

"Empowering business minds
to pursue purpose."

Ahmad Ashkar

The 2015 Challenge


Solving the lack of quality early
childhood education in the urban slum.

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Hult Prize Final

at Clinton Global Initiative

New York, September 26, 2015

Meet the Judges

Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Laureate
Founder, Micro-finance
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Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus is the father of microcredit, the father of social business, the founder of Grameen Bank, and of more than 50 other companies in Bangladesh. For his constant innovation and enterprise, Fortune Magazine named Professor Yunus in March 2012 as "one of 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time."

Yunus has received several other national and international honors. He received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 and theCongressional Gold Medal in 2010. In 2008, he was rated #2 in Foreign Policy magazine's list of the 'Top 100 Global Thinkers'.

Julia Gillard

Former Prime Minister
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Julia Gillard is the Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education. She comes to the Global Partnership after a distinguished career of public service in Australia. She served as Prime Minister of Australia between 2010 and 2013 and successfully managed Australia’s economy during the global economic crisis.

Education is Ms. Gillard’s passion. She reformed Australia’s education at every level, from early childhood to higher education, with a special focus on disadvantaged children. She delivered new standards to improve the quality of childcare and access to early childhood education for every Australian child.

Fadi Ghandour

Founder & Vice Chairman
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Fadi Ghandour is the founder and vice chairman of Aramex, one of the leading global logistics and transportation companies. He is the executive chairman of Wamda Capital, a venture capital fund focusing on technology investments in the Arab World.

Ghandour is also the managing partner of MENA Venture Investments, a seed capital investment company investing in early-stage tech companies. He is a member of the board of Abraaj Capital, a member of the board of trustees at the American University of Beirut, and chairman of the advisory council of the Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) at the Institute of Business Administration Karachi (IBA).

Mo Ibrahim

Founder & Chairman
Mo Ibrahim Foundation
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Dr Ibrahim is the Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which he established in 2006 to support good governance and exceptional leadership on the African continent.

Sudanese-born, Dr Ibrahim has a distinguished business career. In 1989 he founded Mobile Systems International (MSI), a world leading cellular consulting and software provider and in 1998, Celtel International, one of Africa’s leading mobile telephone companies which pioneered mobile services in Africa.

Dr Ibrahim is also Founding Chairman of Satya Capital Limited, a private equity fund focused on Africa.

Charles Kane

One Laptop per Child Foundation
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Kane is currently chairman of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Foundation and was formerly the president of OLPC, a nonprofit organization that provides technology to enhance education in less developed countries. Prior to OLPC, Kane was a founding investor and CFO of Global BPO Services Corp., a Special Purpose Acquisition Corp. that acquired Stream Global Services.

Meet the Six

  • Somos

    Somos is empowering parents and caregivers in urban slums to become their children’s best educators.



    Start-up Concept:

    Poverty means that millions of children start school and life with the deck stackeagainst them because their primary influencers—their parents and caregivers—lack access to critical educational resources and support. Somos closes that resource gap by delivering world-class educational curricula, in text and in audio, directly to parents’ mobile phones. Each day, parents receive suggestions for 15 minutes’ worth of fun, engaging, age-appropriate activities they can share with their child. These activities have been proven to develop cognitive, communication, physical and socio-emotional skills, in some cases by nearly 40%.

    Because research has proven that peer-to-peer learning is the most empowering, engaging, and effective way to teach and learn new skills, we deliver this content in small groups. We enable parents to learn from each other, thereby strengthening communities, overcoming isolation, and building resilience in the areas it is most needed. We believe community-based solutions are necessary to create catalytic change for children in urban slums across the world.

    Somos—building brighter futures for millions of children who deserve the chance to thrive.

  • Tembo

    Tembo provides an education–based loyalty program to mobile phone networks.


    University of Tampa

    Start-up Concept:

    Caregivers who use our curriculum and mobile phone partner are awarded free minutes and texts. Adapting and digitizing the Clinton Global Initiative – endorsed education model of HIPPY international, we train local community health workers to Home Visitors and empower them to become micro-entrepreneurs. These home visitors market our text message-based curriculum and mobile phone partner to Caregivers. The curriculum is an evidenced – based program where home visitors teach caregivers our curriculum. Empowered, the caregivers then teach to their children.

    Home visitors deliver 30 weeks of high quality school readiness curriculum activities directly to caregivers who then work 15 minutes a day with their children. Home visitors share the language, culture and life experiences of the families they serve. Working for Tembo is the first professional level job for many women employed as home visitors, highlighting the strong workforce development element of the model. Tembo maximizes human potential through education.

  • Libromat

    Libromats are neighborhood hubs where parents and children spend time together learning while their washing is done


    Oxford University

    Start-up Concept:

    A parent is a child’s best educator, but quality education requires quality time together. Yet for many women, valuable time is taken up by the chore of hand washing clothes. Libromats free up this time by combining affordable laundry services with courses that parents and their children can enjoy together. These are fun, comfortable spaces where they can borrow books and get support. Parents become part of a welcoming community of families who aspire to provide the best for themselves and their children.

    Our core educational programme equips parents to share picture books with their children from birth. This programme was evaluated in a randomised controlled trial in a South African township last year, and demonstrated profound educational gains for children. Remarkably, our programme was successful despite low-levels of caregiver literacy. Even if parents can’t read and write, they can help break the cycle so that their children can.

    Libromats can be run as social franchises by local entrepreneurs. Our educators are parents who themselves have graduated from the programme. This creates wealth and capacity within communities and enables us to scale rapidly.

    Libromat reimagines early childhood education to fit into how parents live their lives. We offer the most effective early childhood education programme, built into a fundamental domestic need. With a Libromat hub in every neighbourhood, we can transform the lives of parents around the world, and together, we can start a new chapter.

  • Attollo

    Talking Stickers mobilizes millions of parents to close childrens Word Gap.


    University of Toronto

    Start-up Concept:

    Underprivileged children are exposed to 30 million fewer words than privileged children by age 3. This is known as the Word Gap, which limits children’s preparedness for primary school. Our innovation, Talking Stickers, mobilizes millions of parents to close this Word Gap. Talking Stickers come with a QR code that links it to our Attollo Reader to capture the power of a parent or caregiver’s voice. Talking Stickers can be customized to talk, sing and read in any language to children without the need for internet or distracting screens. Since stickers can be placed on anything, Talking Stickers transform common household items into educational toys. Age appropriate content will be developed through our partnerships with ECE experts and trained facilitators across the world. The trained facilitators monitor progress with parents and children, and foster parent peer support groups in the communities. Talking Stickers are a sustainable and scalable solution that brings words to life for children all over the world.

  • teleStory

    teleStory is an app for dumb phones that empowers illiterate parents to read to their children for the first time.


    Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance

    Start-up Concept:

    To reach our end users, teleStory partners with NGOs already operating in the early childhood education space to establish community libraries. Parents take a book from the library and give a missed call to teleStory’s number. When they receive the call back, they enter the book’s ID and the corresponding audio plays. Parents can press 1 to go to the next page and 2 to repeat and throughout the story we program in games and questions designed to create parent-child interaction. Presently, teleStory operates in India and China, reaching over 1500 children in four different languages. In rural China, children are listening to teleStory for over an hour a night and in the slums of Mumbai, neighborhood children rush to gather around the nearest teleStory user’s phone for the nightly story.


    A full-stack solution to the problem of accessible and affordable early childhood education in urban slums.


    National Chengchi University

    Start-up Concept:

    IMPCT builds ECE businesses that are community operated, but globally owned. How? With our revolutionary IMPCT purpose-driven microequity platform. This platform enables anybody, anywhere, to make direct impact investments in the sustainable education businesses of talented local edupreneurs. IMPCT turns that capital into quality ECE schools with our unique context-appropriate building, curriculum, and training solutions. Our investors are powerful new stakeholders in urban slum education. Together we create a purely positive investment cycle with our radical profit-sharing model.

Hult Prize by the Numbers

  • 10M Slum Dwellers Targeted 2015 Hult Prize stretch target for individuals impacted by winning idea.
  • 2.5M Million Man Hours Estimated for 2015. Total applications multiplied by average hours spent per team per challenge via poll of past participants.
  • 21K Annual Applications Total number of applications in all rounds of 2015 Hult Prize.
  • 1500 Entrepreneurs Participating in the regional finals in 2015.
  • 1250 Social Business Ideas Generated Sum of all regional finalists teams through 2014 competition.
  • 600 Schools Represented In total since the inaugural year (2009).


The 2014 winners of the Hult Prize

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Aspire Foods

The 2013 winners of the Hult Prize

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