Note to Reporters: Photos of members of Team CSU doing field work for their Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBAs are available with the news release at www.news.colostate.edu.
A team of Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBAs from Colorado State University’s College of Business has advanced to the regional finals of the fourth annual Hult Prize competition. They will be competing against teams from around the world for $1 million in startup funding to launch a sustainable social venture to address global food security.
The competition will focus on how to get safe, sufficient, affordable and easily accessible food to the 200 million people around the world who live in urban slums.The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition and crowdsourcing platform for social good, recently named one of the top five ideas changing the world by TIME Magazine and President Bill Clinton.
“Our team’s selection to participate in this important competition to solve one of the great challenges of our time is both humbling and validating,” said Carl Hammerdorfer, director of the GSSE MBA program at CSU. “These GSSE graduates have proven their mettle in Benin, Haiti, Bolivia, Kenya and other parts of our world where hunger is a daily reality. We expect they’ll do well in their pursuit of this prize. Regardless of the outcome, they are all deeply committed to solving global problems through sustainable enterprise solutions.”
Team CSU includes captain Rachael Miller, Lindsay Saperstone, Meghan Coleman and Jeannie Whitler. They applied for the Hult competition before they graduated in December and were notified in early January that they would be among the 43 teams presenting their big ideas in San Francisco March 1-2.
“We were selected on the basis of our resumes,” Miller explained. “We didn’t even know exactly what the challenge would be until after we were selected. We haven’t worked together before, but if there is a common theme across our team’s diverse work experiences, it is that we have each seen community empowerment as a key success factor in sustainable solutions. We’re excited to work together to create a for-profit solution that can create local jobs and outlast us all.”
Teams were chosen from more than 10,000 applications received, totaling over 350 colleges and universities representing over 150 countries. Regional competitions will take place simultaneously on Hult International Business School’s five campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. While Team CSU will compete on the West Coast, the only other Colorado team in the competition, from the University of Denver, will be in Boston.
“The Hult Prize is thrilled that Colorado State University has joined the initiative,” said Stephen Hodges, president of the Hult International Business School. “This year’s competition has received a record number of entries, bringing together some of the most talented students to help solve global food security which can benefit nearly a billion people.”
Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into the Hult Accelerator, a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set up to launch their new social business. A final round of competition will be hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September, where CGI delegates will select who will be awarded the million-dollar prize.
Team CSU has already reached its first fundraising goal of $3,500 to cover travel expenses to the competition as well as some of the research needed to complete their project and hosting meetings to form strategic relationships with prospective partner organizations. Institutional donors include Colorado State University’s College of Business and CSU’s Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA program. To see a video about their initiative, go to www.gofundme.com/letssolvehunger.
About the Hult Prize
Founded in 2009 by Hult International Business School Alumnus Ahmad Ashkar, responding to a challenge made by President Bill Clinton in 2010, the Hult Prize is committed to launching a new wave of social entrepreneurs through identifying and launching disruptive social ventures that are poised to change the world. The prize is funded by Swedish Entrepreneur and Founder of EF Education First Bertil Hult, sponsored by the Hult International Business School and run in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative.
About the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA program in the College of Business at Colorado State University
The GSSE MBA promotes entrepreneurship in developing economies while focusing on positive social, human, and environmental outcomes. Graduates of the program possess the skills, experience, and character to create and operate scalable, sustainable enterprises that address social, economic, and environmental challenges around the world. Completion of a GSSE MBA requires a minimum of 40 credit hours over three semesters and a summer of field work on a team project. In addition to traditional business disciplines such as marketing, finance, and accounting, every semester includes an interdisciplinary course on social entrepreneurship.
For more information, go to the CSU College of Business web page at biz.colostate.edu.