By Tamara Pupic
The MENA finals of the world’s largest student competition, the Hult Prize Competition, will be held in Dubai
The Hult Prize Foundation has announced the 58 GCC teams which take part in the MENA finals of the foundation’s international student competition and crowdsourcing platform for social good.
The event will take place on 14 March at TECOM Auditorium, Knowledge Village, and will be hosted by the Hult International Business School in Dubai.
The shortlisted teams of students from colleges and universities across the Middle East will present their ideas for providing sustainable, early childhood education to the world’s poorest.
This year’s challenge – to build start-ups to provide sustainable early education solutions for 10 million children in urban slums – was set by the former US president, Bill Clinton.
Clinton’s initiative, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), is one of the partners of the competition.
This year’s MENA winner will be decided by a panel of 12 distinguished judges, including Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares, HE Shaima Al Zarooni, CEO of International Humanitarian City, Rahgu Malhotra, President (MENA) at Mastercard, and Mahmood Al Bastaki, CEO of Dubai Trade.
Founded in 2009 by Ahmad Ashkar, a Palestinian entrepreneur and the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Shaper 2012, the annual Hult Prize – named as one of the top five ideas changing the world by Bill Clinton and TIME Magazine – aims to identify and launch the most compelling social business ideas.
Speaking about the Hult Prize, the founder of Aramex, Fadi Ghandour, who was on last year’s judging panel, said: “It allows students to use all of their knowledge, expertise and creativity to help solve the world’s ever-growing problems, while giving them great recognition and a strong step through the door to the business world.”
The Hult Prize Foundation announced its regional finalists chosen among submissions of around 20,000 teams of three to five students from more than 500 colleges and universities in more than 150 countries.
Regional finals will be held in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai, with a sixth held online.
The six regional winners will compete for the first prize of US$1 million in start-up funding to turn their idea for a sustainable social venture into reality.
Before that, they will attend the Hult Prize Accelerator, a six-week programme of intensive entrepreneurial seminars hosted by Hult International Business School.
Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of the Hult Prize Foundation, said: ““Solving our regions toughest challenges is as simple as providing Arab youth with an opportunity and a platform to have impact.
“We couldn't be more pleased by the support we have received from Dubai and the UAE and look forward to the many outstanding ideas the Hult Prize Dubai will produce.”
For a full list of finalists, click here.