-Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of The Hult Prize
Building sustainable, scalable start-up enterprises that will restore the rights and dignity of 10 million people by 2022
New York City
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'.
Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network, has worked for more than 20 years as an environmental attorney and advocate, focusing on international and domestic environmental public policy and law.
Kathleen has held senior positions with the National Audubon Society, the Environmental Law Institute, and two U.S. Olympic Organizing Committees. She has also worked for Garth Associates in New York City and the Beveridge & Diamond law firm, where she developed a white collar environmental crime defense practice. Kathleen was editor-in-chief of theUniversity of California at Davis Law Review, and clerked for the Honorable John Pratt at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She also worked with the U.S. Delegation at the United Nations Conference on Women.
Mohammed Ashour is the CEO and founder of Aspire Food Group, winner of the 2013 Hult Prize. Named as one of the world's top entrepreneurs under 30 by Forbes, Mr. Ashour is a leading authority in edible insects. His company, Aspire Food Group is a pioneer in the the social enterprise sector and is a driving force in the fight against food insecurity.
Roshni Rides is a solar powered eRickshaw service that acts as a public transportation system for refugee communities. The eRickshaws run on batteries that are charged by solar energy cultivated in Roshni Hubs, and provide consistent transportation that’s affordable, convenient, and safe. Our Roshni Hubs also act as a location for storage, repair, maintenance, and community space. With the excess electricity, Roshni Rides will be shedding light through our hub on to the surrounding community. Our unique service was inspired by the New York City subway system as we operate on a systematic route that has been strategically mapped out to create accessibility to critical resources like education, healthcare and employment.
Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México
Due to overpopulation and poor hygienic conditions in refugee camps, outbreak of diseases associated with poor sanitation and contact with human waste are common, and sometimes fatal. In order to prevent this, U-gas’ solution is to set up ecological dry toilets and urinals in camps, provide each toilet with antibacterial gel, clean them daily and collect the biowaste every week. To scale, the urine will be used to make gas with a biogas generator that produces 1 liter of gas per 500 ml of urine in 30 seconds. The gas will be sold at a wholesale price to gas businesses in the area that will distribute it. The biogas is for domestic use, the cheapest in the market, and also eco-friendly.
University of Waterloo
EPOCH is a mobile platform that brings refugees and community members together through the exchange of skills, talents, and services. Time will be the means of exchange, where money is not required. With EPOCH, refugees are able to receive support from the community, expand their trusted networks, and share their talents and cultures. EPOCH aims to build resilient communities where refugees and community members can reach reach their full potential.
University of Calgary
Skill2Scale leverages gamification and a smartphone application to promote integration by teaching language and cultural skills to refugees. The target market ranges from refugees living in camps in Africa, to refugees resettling in a new country, and the team has piloted the project in both settings with good results.
Empower is a connectivity solution that provides refugees with stable and affordable internet access through a WiFi bracelet. The WiFi bracelet is also a charging power bank powered by solar panels. Empower uses a subscription model that is 50% cheaper on average that what refugees currently pay. Empower unlocks information so refugees can access employment opportunities, stay up to date with their education and monitor their health.
University of Southern California
Team Ekta’s product Billfold aims to provide financial security to displaced persons who face challenges in protecting their money when on the move. Refugees convert their local currency to bitcoin with the help of Billfold Coordinators who for a minimal fee help convert the money. Once a refugee has reached their destination, a Billfold Coordinator in the new country will help them convert their bitcoin to the local currency of that country. Billfold also features an innovative profit sharing model, and trains customers on the use of bitcoin.
Harvard University, Kennedy School
Our mission is to provide sustainable employment opportunities to refugees and restore dignity back into their lives despite their circumstances. According to the UNHCR, there are over 21 million refugees, being approximately 40% of them of working age, but their refugee status in practice excludes them from the formal job market, preventing access to reliable sources of income. Dignify is a mobile platform that links these refugees to digital microwork, unlocking a $450 million job market previously out of reach.
University of Rochester
Lebanon’s biggest landfill, which serves 50% of the population, closed in 2015 without a viable alternative. With only three out of nine landfills in the country operational, two tons of trash have since piled up on the streets. Lebanon is also suffering from a large Syrian refugee influx. Syrian refugees make up 25% of Lebanon’s population, 70% of them live under extreme poverty line. We can reuse non-biodegradable waste to create proprietary interlocking bricks. These bricks can be used to build low cost, semi-permanent houses that can solve the problem of finding affordable temporary housing for refugees.
"The largest student competition
on earth is about changing the world."
Bertil Hult, Founder of EF Education First
"We didn't launch a startup,
we just created an industry "
Ahmad Ashkar, CEO of Hult Prize
"A brilliant award for a brilliant idea."
Yves Behar, Award-winning industrial designer and entrepreneur.
"If you look globally at what is happening in the developing world, you see that the beneficiary of a charity is moving from being a beneficiary to being a customer, and the corporate sector is integrating social because it knows this is its customer base of the future."
When you think of business school students, what do you think of? Do you view them as the next generation of managers, armed with a Millennial mindset and a solid grounding in business principles?
Ending world hunger is a lofty goal with a United Nations' estimate of 870 million people being uncertain of their food supplies. One start-up is poised to tackle this challenge head-on after winning the 2013 Hult Prize and its $1 million capital investment.