Story by Emily Dang: The Hult Prize has announced the winning team from Syracuse University that has advanced to the 8th annual regional finals of the competition.
The Hult Prize is a crowdsourcing platform for social good, named one of the top five ideas changing the world by President Bill Clinton and Time Magazine. The innovative crowdsourcing platform funds and helps launch disruptive and catalytic social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. This year, the Hult Prize is focused on finding solutions for the millions of people around the world affected by the refugee crisis – a challenge personally selected by President Bill Clinton. Solutions are focused on restoring the rights and dignity of people and societies who may be, or are forced into motion due to social injustices, politics, economic pressures, climate change and war.
(left to right, Josh Moon, Amanda Chou, Ryan Brinkerhoff and Khalid Khan)
The students from the winning Syracuse University team, Thrive Projects, their hometowns and colleges are:
- Ryan Brinkerhoff of Garwood, NJ., College of Arts and Sciences ‘16
- Amanda Chou of Seattle, WA., S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications ‘18
- Khalid Khan of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia., College of Arts and Sciences ‘17
- Joshua Moon of Norwood, NJ., College of Arts and Sciences ‘16
Thrive was one of 13 teams that applied to the inaugural Hult Prize at Syracuse University on December 10th, 2016 focused on this year’s challenge, Reawakening Human Potential – The Refugee Opportunity. Thrive provides alternative energy education and vocational training to communities in need, empowering them with the skills necessary to find innovative solutions to everyday problems and to build those solutions into sustainable enterprises.
“Having worked in Nepal, our team learned two important lessons. Refugees are not only people forced to leave their homes, but people isolated from resources that enable them to connect and communicate. By focusing beyond immediate solutions and empowering community members through skills-based training, we can restore human dignity, awaken human potential and create more sustainable communities,” said Ryan Brinkerhoff, Co-Founder/CFO Thrive Projects, Inc.
The team will now move on to compete at the Hult Prize regional finals in March 2017, which are being hosted at one of Hult International Business School’s five campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. Syracuse University Student Association is sponsoring an all-expenses paid trip for the winning team to compete in Boston
Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will advance to an intensive 8-week summer business incubator, where they will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business. The final round of competition will take place in September, where a jury panel will select the annual Hult Prize winner. President Bill Clinton will personally make the award of USD 1,000,000 to the winning team.
“It was humbling and refreshing to see such a diverse group of students, faculty and community members from Syracuse come together to participate in the inaugural Hult Prize at Syracuse University. We had over 40 undergraduate and graduate students across all disciplines compete in this year’s on-campus competition,” said Emily Dang, Campus Director of Hult Prize at Syracuse University.
Judges included Abdul Saboor (Match Grant Caseworker, Interfaith Works – Center for New Americans), Braden Croy (Program Manager, Syracuse University Blackstone Launchpad) and Marcene Sonneborn (Professor of Practice, School of Information Studies and President, Innovation Management Consulting, Inc.)
Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of the Hult Prize attributes the success of the competition to the global youth revolution. He said, “We continue to be moved by the large number of students from around the world who are capitalizing on the opportunity to develop business models that target those who are most in need. We wish every team the best of luck and thank Syracuse University for supporting this initiative.”
About the Hult Prize Foundation
The Hult Prize is a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurship, which brings together the brightest college and university students from around the globe to solve the world’s most pressing issues. The annual initiative is the world’s largest student competition and crowd-sourcing platform for social good, and has been funded by the Hult family since its inception in 2009.
To learn more about the Hult Prize, visit www.hultprize.org.
Emily Dang, Campus Director of Hult Prize at Syracuse University