How 3 Rickshaws Won A Million Dollar Prize

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On a stage at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, the young executives of six start-up companies made their final, feverish bids to win the coveted Hult Prize. Each had formed and launched business ideas over the last year that would try to solve this year’s Hult Prize challenge – improving the well-being of at least one million refugees over the next five years.

The six finalists rose to the stage from a pool of 50,000 applicants. The judges are an illustrious bunch, including Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-GuyerEarth Day Network president Kathleen Rogers and KIVA president Premal Shah. They decided who wins a big blue megaphone-shaped trophy — and a million dollars in startup capital. The money comes from the Hult family, whose patriarch, Bertil Hult, founded EF Education First. The Hult Prize was formerly associated with the Clinton Global Initiative. The Initiative has ended its annual conference, so the U.N. hosted the Hult Prize for the first time this year and plans to host again next year.

One team pitched an enterprise to bring fast and reliable web services to refugees, and two companies sought to connect displaced people to jobs through apps and digital workplaces.

The winner this year is a startup called Roshni Rides, Bill Clinton announced at the end of the competition last Saturday. The former president, who began working with the Hult Prize in 2010, continued to speak but a roar of cheers drowned out his words. As he inched toward the stage, Roshni Rides CFO Moneeb Mian said in a breathless falsetto, “Oh, my God, we won.”

Photo courtesy of Ronit Bhattacharjee.

Source: NPR (link opens in a new window)

global development, refugees, SDGs, social enterprise, transportation