Hult Global Case Challenge To Announce Incubator-Based ‘NGO 2.0’ At Clinton Global Initiative Conference
Monday, September 24, 2012
In April, I wrote about the Hult Global Case Challenge, a worldwide social entrepreneurship challenge hosted by the Hult International Business School, an entity owned by Swedish billionaire Bertil Hult (worth $3 billion as of March), the entrepreneur who made his fortune by building language and cultural learning giant EF Education First.
That was the third annual challenge event, which drew 350 teams from around the world, attracting competitors from heavyweights like Stanford, Harvard, Columbia and UPenn’s Wharton School. Historically, those teams crafted social entrepreneurship plans to be implemented by existing NGOs like Habitat for Humanity, Solaraid and One Laptop Per Child. The top three teams split $1 million in funding, to be sent to those NGOs and earmarked for the student created plans.
But for the fourth annual case challenge, founder Ahmad Ashkar is turning the event on its head, after being urged to do so by some of the challenge’s most visible proponents, former President Bill Clinton and micro-lending Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus. In a cover story written for Time’s Oct. 1 issue, Clinton describes the challenge as one of his favorite partnerships.
The case challenge will no longer work with already-existing NGOs. Teams will now compete to create wholly new organizations, oriented around a topic area selected by Clinton himself (this year’s challenge will be focused, somehow, around “food”), to be announced Tuesday — the last day of the annual CGI conference. Six regional winners will venture to Boston next summer, where, for two months, they will perfect their plans through an intensive two month incubator program – not unlike Paul Graham’s Y-Combinator. Those six teams will present at next year’s CGI annual meeting, and the Hult family will now award just one team the $1 million prize, although Ashkar hopes that the CGI platform will get other investors involved as well. He is calling the move “NGO 2.0.” And he hopes to create a new generation of profit-motive-driven social entrepreneurial start-ups.