Hult Prize @ UR 2018

By Sara Anis
“How would you create 10,000 meaningful jobs for unemployed youth within the next decade?”

This is the prompt posed to thousands of students worldwide vying for a $1,000,000 grand prize in this year’s Hult Prize Competition. The Hult Prize, which began ten years ago, is now the world’s largest student competition for social good.

Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of Hult Prize, attributes the success of the competition to the shift in the global economy and the millennial generation’s refusal to live in a world with inequality. Akshar adds, “We are giving entrepreneurs from around the world a platform to innovate and revolutionize the way we think about servicing the disadvantaged.”

Fall 2018 marks the third year that a local competition has been held on the University of Rochester River Campus. Thanks to the support of the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship, the College Dean’s Office, the Greene Career Center, Barbara J. Burger iZone, and OMSA, the on campus competition was a success.

Throughout the semester, preparatory workshops were held on the topics of team formation, ideation, presentation tips, rounded out by a final pitch clinic before the competition. Teams worked for weeks as the day approached, giving their all trying to get closer to the million dollar grand prize.

On November 3rd, fifteen teams (grad and undergrad students) participated in the on-campus competition at Simon Business School. That day, they presented a wide range of ideas, from providing jobs for ex-convicts to combating child sex slavery. A panel of six judges from around Rochester were faced with a tough decision, but they selected the winner for the UR competition and decided who would continue on to Hult’s regional round. In the end they chose BestBeing, a team that aims to provide “a one-stop-shop for all things wellbeing.”

Winning team, BestBeing, and the judging panel during the 2018 Hult Prize @ UR Competition in November.

As the winning team from the Hult Prize @ UR Event, BestBeing will automatically compete in one of Hult Prize’s Regional Finals, bypassing the general application which can receive over 20,000 applicants from more than 350 colleges and universities in over 150 countries.

These regional competitions will take place in March 2019. Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will attend a summer accelerator, where competitors receive mentorship as they create prototypes and continue to launch their new businesses. The final round of competition occurs in September; one team will be named the winner and will be awarded the $1,000,000 grand prize.

Thanks to the support from offices such as the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship students at the University of Rochester can have the opportunity to make their mark on the world and change it for the better.

Sara Anis ’20 is a University of Rochester student majoring in Biomedical Engineering in the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She is also working toward a minor in Chemical Engineering. This fall, she served as the Campus Director for the Hult Prize Competition @ UR.