One of These 5 Student Ideas For Refugee Tech Will Win A $1 Million Prize
There are many reasons for student-entrepreneurs to enter this year’s Hult Prize, including the $1 million check (the most of any social good innovation contest anywhere), and the chance of standing on stage with Bill Clinton as he announces the winner this Fall. Bloomberg Businessweek has dubbed the Hult, which recognizes and develops new social enterprise ideas, “the Nobel Prize for B-schools.”
For several team contestants, though, the motivation is more personal. This year’s prize is focused on the needs of refugees, and some have family who have been refugees at one time, know refugees directly, or are refugees themselves (the University of Calgary team includes a refugee from Liberia). “Both my parents were refugees 30 years ago,” says Joseph Truong, a member of the Empower team from York University, Toronto. “I was able to get a lot insight from what the camps were like, and help with our idea.” Truong’s Vietnamese parents stayed in refugee camps in Malaysia in the 1970s, before resettling in Canada.
Clinton announced this year’s challenge at the Clinton Global Initiative last September. The rubric calls on teams to “build sustainable and scalable, for-good, for-profit enterprises” to “reawaken human potential” and “restore the dignity” of 10 million people. Hult says it received 50,000 ideas in all.