Hult International Business School today announced the 11 teams that will progress to its third annual Global Case Challenge in New York City in April.
The Hult Global Case Challenge brings together teams of students from all over the globe to generate solutions to the world's most pressing problems. Up for grabs is $1million in seed funding for the winning idea.
This year, the Hult Challenge has partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative. The challenge? To use crowd-sourcing solutions to help alleviate poverty in three areas; education, housing and energy; partnering with a relevant non-profit in each - respectively, One Laptop Per Child, Habitat for Humanity and SolarAid.
The regional finals took place on Saturday February 25th in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. Over 30 teams competed in London. BusinessBecause caught up with the teams from MIP Politecnico di Milano Italy and EMLYON last week as they prepared for the final, to find out why they entered and how they were shaping up for this extraordinary task.
Why did you decide to enter the Hult Global Case Challenge? What track will you be competing in and why?
Team MIP Politecnico di Milano - ENERGY TRACK
We are enthusiastic about the challenge, as we believe that energy is the key challenge for the sustainable development of the planet and for poverty alleviation of billions of people.
When people talk about energy, and about renewable energy in particular, they usually refer only to what Western countries are trying to substitute their polluting energy sources with renewable – and CO2 free – forms of energy.
However, energy poverty – when well-being of people is negatively affected by very low consumption of energy, use of dirty or polluting fuels, and excessive time spent collecting fuel to meet basic needs - is an even greater challenge. Nearly 1.6 billion people do not have access to electricity. We are excited about taking part in the quest for clean and safe energy, easily and economically accessible to all people.
Team EMLYON - EDUCATION TRACK
As a team, we bring an international vision that spans four continents. Agnes Nagy, who is Hungarian, Vibhuti Singh and Sachin Anand, from India, American Jessica Wilson and American-Ghanaian Kofi Boakye.
Each of us has extensive volunteering experience and each has focused on education for at least some project we have been involved in. Jessica has taught English to Bhutanese refugees. Agi has taught French for the Ponheary Li association in Cambodia. Vibhu focused on training women without education in the NGO he launched. Sachin founded a Green India project within his organization to educate people about the preservation of natural resources.
His personal experience of living in a developing county has motivated him personally to initiate projects related to poverty and health care in India. Kofi has been involved in various volunteering engagements with Africa-focused NGOs such as Books for Bugesera and Doc to Docks. We feel we can build on our passion for education through the Hult Global Case Challenge!
What have been the biggest challenges in tackling your case studies?
Team MIP Politechnico di Milano: It's difficult to imagine is life “really” is in our target regions, especially in rural areas, and how communities, families and people think, interact, socialize and live. They are so far from our way of living that to understand what they really need and want it is not easy. It's not just about providing light to work and study after the sunset. We started with the assumption that we do not know anything about the real life of the poorest people in Africa. It is ironic and also sad that this sunny continent plunges into an abyss of darkness as the night falls.
Our winning strategy is to focus on how we could make the organization One Laptop Per Child as sustainable as possible given the challenges NGOs. The hardest things for us has been consolidating all the information we’ve come across in our research. Increasing access to learning for children is a problem with many facets so we uncovered a lot of inconsistencies as we went along.
THE APRIL FINAL! Carnegie Mellon University, Hult International Business School, ESADE, Aarhus University, Dartmouth College, UC Davis, NYU Abu Dhabi, Asian Institute of Management, Presidio Graduate School, University of Belgrade and HKUST will move on to the competition’s global final at the New York Public Library in April.
Students teams who were not selected at one of the regional events can still submit their solutions online through Facebook and Youtube platforms. The best viral video campaigns could still be chosen for the Final!
Some of the most influential leaders in the world, including former New York Governor Mario Cuomo; Michael Treschow, Chairman of Unilever; and Mohammad Yunus, Nobel Prize Winner and founder of Grameen Bank will select this year’s winning business plan.
President Bill Clinton will serve as this year’s keynote speaker and personally present the awards to the winning teams.