The Boise State 2016 Hult Prize team recently arrived back from competing on the international stage in Shanghai China for a prize of 1 million US Dollars. The Hult Prize Competition, in collaboration with the Clinton Foundation, is the world’s largest social enterprise business plan competition. The annual, year-long competition begins on university campuses around the world and winners advance to one of the five regional Hult Business School locations. These locations include Shanghai, Dubai, and London with two locations in the U.S. Approximately 50 to 60 teams compete at each of the regionals with the winners advancing to the global competition in New York City after a summer-long incubator designed to cultivate their comprehensive business plan.
After holding a university-wide competition, this year Boise State University’s College of Business and Economics sent four MBA Career Tract students to compete for the Hult Prize: Haley Shaffer, Taylor Reed, Connor Sheldon, and Hannah Coad. These students, coming from diverse educational backgrounds of education, international affairs, health science, and biochemistry, respectively, harnessed their unique skills, ambition, and creativity to solve one of the toughest problems the world currently faces. This year’s theme, chosen by Bill Clinton states, “Can we build sustainable, scalable, and fast-growing social enterprises that double the income of 10 million people residing in crowded urban spaces, by better connecting people, goods, and serves and capital?”
The Boise State Team presented last month to an international panel of judges in Shanghai, China. The team pitched the idea of the Start Cart—a vehicle for change. The cart could be pulled by hand or by bicycle and could be utilized for business or personal use. Micro entrepreneurs could adapt this locally sourced cart for a variety of purposes such as a laundry service, food delivery, or mobile barber; the possibilities of such a cart are endless.
The team looks forward to utilizing the invaluable skills learned through this experience as they advance in their education and business careers.
Below the four team members share the impact of the Hult Prize experience:
“The Hult Prize was an incredible experience all around. However, the aspect of the experience I will always remember was the opportunity to meet and learn from my peers from every corner of the globe, all with a common goal. Everyone at the Hult Prize was downright passionate about making the world a better place using business as the catalyst.
It was truly inspiring to be in a room full of people with such diverse cultures and backgrounds. The difference of perspectives among our competitors was vast and the collaboration between cultures was powerful. The Hult Prize reminded me how big the world is and revealed that there is a generation of highly motivated social entrepreneurs on the rise.” –Haley Shaffer
“In Boise, the air is clean, the traffic isn’t too bad, and after a 15 minute bike ride I’m in the foothills where the sounds of sirens and cars are nonexistent. Competing in the Hult Prize pushed our team of four out of Boise’s bliss into the world of crowded urban spaces where hundreds of millions of people live each day without clean water, electricity, access to basic health care, and food. Digging into these messy intricate problems reminded me just how big the world is, and while Boise is one of my favorite places on earth, we must not become complaisant.” –Taylor Reed
“Competing in the Hult Prize was the best educational opportunity I have ever encountered. I was able to utilize the skills I have learned through the Career Track MBA program to create and present a solution that had the potential to solve one of the world’s most pressing issues.
Further, the support from COBE and the Boise community was phenomenal and I feel very blessed to have created great connections with local business leaders. Additionally, while competing in Shanghai, I was able to connect with students from around the world to learn about best business practices.
I highly recommend students take advantage of this opportunity.” –Connor Sheldon
“The Hult Prize opened my eyes to a world of social problems not far beyond our reach. Indeed, many of the issues people face living in crowded urban spaces face are prevalent within the United States. People around the world struggle to meet daily needs including food, water, sanitation, education and safety. Through the Hult Prize it was inspiring getting to meet many arising young business leaders who are utilizing the leverage of social enterprise to solve some of the world’s toughest issues. Through each of their innovative solutions was passion, creativity, and a deeply rooted motivation to change the world.”—Hannah Coad
Article written by Hannah Joy Coad