By Ebele Orakpo
ON March 13 and 14, Nigeria’s sole representatives at the Hult Prize regional final competitions in Dubai, United Arab Emirate,American University of Nigeria (AUN), will be competing for $1,000,000 prize in startup funding, .
The AUN team made up of Hafsat Adamu, Blessing Douglas and Lucy Okonkwo advanced to the regional finals of the 6th annual Hult Prize, from among over 4,000 applications from over 500 colleges and universities in over 150 countries.
AUN’s President Margee Ensign ascribed the feat to the university’s “development mission and commitment to fostering development in our region and the continent, together with the students’ strong, longstanding record of academic excellence and community engagement.”
Fardeen Dodo, an instructor in Business & Entrepreneurship and coach of last year’s team, said: “Besides the competition, students will benefit from several workshops, networking, and entrepreneurial learning events run by a number of professionals and trail-blazing global experts. The competition is a demonstration of how far our students are ready to go, to action up our vision of development and commitment to addressing the social challenges that confront Nigeria and Africa at large.”
The 2015 Hult Prize will focus on building start-ups that provide sustainable, high quality, and early education solutions to 10 million children under the age of six in urban slums and beyond by 2020. This year’s challenge was selected by President Bill Clinton, who said, “the Hult Prize is about more than the solution to the problem; it’s about how the world has to work in the 21st Century.”
In partnership with President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), the program aims to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. Student teams compete in six cities around the world for a chance to secure the prize money meant to launch a sustainable social venture.
Ahmad Ashkar, CEO/ Founder of Hult Prize Foundation said: ”Servicing the world’s poorest through profitable and sustainable enterprise is not just good for the world; it’s great business. Our pioneering platform builds ecosystems by leveraging crowd and we couldn’t be happier that the AUN will be joining our mission with their participation in the 6th annual Hult Prize.”
Following the regional finals taking place in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, and Shanghai, one winning team from each host city will move into a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory, and strategic planning training as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business.