April 27, 2012
Three winning ideas to solve poverty share US$1 million prize
(NEW YORK CITY - April 27, 2012) Carnegie Mellon, Hult International Business School  and NYU Abu Dhabi were honored for their commitment to eradicating poverty at the Hult Global Case Challenge in New York City, hosted by Hult International Business and the Clinton Global Initiative. The three winning teams beat thousands of students from the world’s best business schools for a US$1 million cash grant and were honored by President Bill Clinton.
The team from Hult International Business School-Boston was selected as the winner of the housing track during the Hult Global Case Challenge.
Started three years ago by Hult graduate Ahmad Ashkar, the Hult Global Case Challenge is the largest and most respected initiative of its kind. Harnessing the power of crowd sourcing, the Hult Global Case Challenge attracted students from 350 colleges and universities to provide solutions to the real challenges facing three NGOs. These are Habitat for Humanity, which builds affordable housing; SolarAid, which brings renewable energy to impoverished communities; and One Laptop per Child, which provides low-cost computers to children.
A panel of high-profile judges including: Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Unilever Chairman Michael Treschow, social entrepreneur Darell Hammond and the CEOs of the three NGOs, selected the winners in education, housing and energy.
Winner: Carnegie Mellon
To help One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) put 10 million laptops in the hands of children worldwide in the next five years, the Carnegie Mellon team presented an innovative approach to ensure streamlined laptop deployment and to create a global brand for the NGO’s open-source software.
“The Hult Global Case Challenge has provided us with many ideas to address the challenge of scaling OLPC to enable learning for the world’s poorest children,” said Rodrigo Arboleda, Chairman and CEO of the One Laptop per Child Association. “We appreciate the creativity, passion and effort of all the student teams around the world who participated in the competition.”
Winner: Hult International Business School
Habitat for Humanity has a mission to provide homes for 50 million people within the next 10 years. Hult’s winning solution focuses on harnessing the intelligence of those at the bottom of the pyramid and equipping them to solve their own problems.
“Hult’s Global Case Challenge is good news for everyone involved,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity. “Students have the opportunity to solve real-world challenges, and organizations like Habitat benefit – not only from the prize money used to implement the winning proposal, but also from the ideas that emerge from crowdsourcing and the relationships that we develop with tomorrow’s business leaders.”
Winner: NYU Abu Dhabi
Many Africans still rely on kerosene lamps. NYU Abu Dhabi’s solution focuses on creating a network of entrepreneurs and technicians who will sell and fix solar lamps in a sustainable way.
Speaking in support of the winning team’s solution, SolarAid CEO Steve Andrews said: “Our goal is to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by the end of this decade. That’s a simply huge challenge, which will only be possible with massive innovation. Having the top students from around the world competing to come up with great ideas for how we will do this is an extraordinary boost. It’s already changing the way we think and work.”
Ahmad Ashkar, the founder and CEO of the Hult Global Case Challenge, said: “This initiative aims to revolutionize how we think about the world’s most pressing social challenges. With US$1 million in seed capital, students from all over the world have a chance to establish social enterprises that achieve real results.”
Congratulating the winning teams, Hult President Dr Stephen Hodges added: “The Hult Global Case Challenge is an important part of Hult’s push to encourage social entrepreneurship among talented students, whichever country they come from. Through this visionary kind of crowd sourcing we’re giving NGOs access to a wealth of new ideas and perspectives that help them grow stronger.”
About Hult International Business School
Hult International Business School (formerly known as the Arthur D. Little School of Management) is the first global business school with campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. The School offers a range of business-focused programs including MBA, Master and Undergraduate degrees. Hult’s one-year MBA program is ranked the top 30 in the world by The Economist and among the top 100 by the Financial Times. www.hult.edu .
About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by building and improving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. An estimated 17,000 of these families are in Europe and Central Asia, where Habitat has been active since the mid-1990s. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.habitateurope.org .