Hult Prize FAQs

What is the Hult Prize?

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 crowdsourcing platform for social good and one of the planet’s leading forces for good.

Participants compete in local events organized on campuses around the world or apply online to partake in the regional finals which are held in five international cities around the world, including: Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai and on-line. Winning start-ups from each city move onto the Hult Prize Accelerator for the summer before attending the President Bill Clinton hosted global finals, which take place each September at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York. Collectively, more than ten thousand students, representing more than 150 countries around the world participate in the Hult Prize and spend over 2 million man-hours on solving the world’s most pressing issues. Through crowdsourcing, training, mentorship and funding, the Hult Prize seeks to build and launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs.

Are participants supposed to solve a specific problem?

Yes. Each year, a pressing social challenge is selected by President Clinton and becomes the theme for the respective cycle. The “President’s Challenge” provides a specific and measurable objective that each participating team is intended to solve through the creation of a sustainable social enterprise. In March, selected participants are invited to pitch their start-ups that specifically address the challenges identified in the case. A clearly defined framework is also provided to ensure your idea contains the necessary qualities and mandates to be an innovation breakthrough.

How can college and university students help with a social challenge?

Traditional non-profit organizations struggle to make a telling contribution despite having a potentially powerful solution to a problem. Not because they lack commitment or funding, but because they face execution hurdles that can only be solved by leveraging a wide range of skill-sets and an on-the-ground understanding of the situation.

Overcoming execution hurdles is what colleges and universities teach their students, specifically business schools, since the ability to execute is critical in business. Furthermore, business schools are home to a wide variety of students from different industries and countries that collectively have a very broad knowledge base. Harnessing this resource through crowd-sourcing innovative ideas and solutions is a technique that is poised to create radical breakthroughs in the social space.

How does the Hult Prize work?

The Hult Prize runs regional competitions in five cities around the world and on-line, a summer accelerator and a final pitch-off at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.

Your journey begins with a call to action by President Clinton in late September. Applications for participation are open through mid-December with final selections announced the first week of January.

Regional winners then move on-to a boot-camp style accelerator, where you will further work on the development of your social enterprise. At the conclusion of the accelerator your idea will be “investment ready” in the form of a company. Once complete, you will pitch your final start-up at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, where the winner will receive USD1 million in seed capital to scale their enterprise.

Interested participants can apply by visiting or by competing in a locally organized edition of the Hult Prize at your university (where available).

What is the 2016 Hult Prize Challenge Topic?

The 2016 Hult Prize Challenge as selected by President Bill Clinton is Crowded Urban Spaces. Participants will look for ways to leverage connectivity to make life for the dwellers of these spaces better. Focus will be placed on doubling income through specifically better connecting the residents of these spaces to products, people, services and capital.

When do applications open?

Official 2016 Hult Prize Applications will open on October 7th. There will be two early bird application deadlines, with a final application deadline of December 18, 2016.

Who is Hult?

Hult is the family name of Swedish born entrepreneur and billionaire, Bertil Hult, one of Europe’s leading entrepreneurs who founded EF Education First, the largest private education company in the world.

Hult International Business School (formerly the Arthur D. Little School of Management) is a global business school with campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. It is named after Bertil Hult. Hult is ranked in the top 20 business schools in the United States and in the top 100 in the world, including number one for international business. Today it has over 3000 students enrolled across its campuses, from over 130 different countries.

The Hult family provides the annual USD1 million in seed capital awarded to the winner of the annual Hult Prize.

Why is Hult doing this?

The recent financial crisis has taught us the importance of practicing sound business ethics. The Hult Prize is dedicated to teaching college and university students from around the world that the skills they learn can be applied for-good as well as for-profit.

Hult International Business School is a natural host for such an initiative. Not simply because it has a global campus network that can very effectively bring together students from all over the world, but also because many of the 130 countries that Hult students hail from face global challenges in the areas of energy, finance, hunger, disease and education; challenges that require solutions which are broad in scope, yet detailed in implementation.

Who gets the million dollars?

The winning student team and their new start-up. Each year the Hult Prize provides one million dollars in seed capital to the very best start-up for social good. The prize money is seeded into the newly created company, which will be run by the student team who came up with the idea.

How was the Hult Prize created?

The Hult Prize is the brainchild of Ahmad Ashkar, a Hult International Business School alumnus who developed the concept whilst still a student. Ahmad had the idea after seeing Charles Kane, the CEO of One Laptop Per Child, describe some of the challenges his organization faced during a speech in class. Ahmad is currently the CEO of the Hult Prize and continues to bring innovation and thought leadership to the social impact sector.

Why the Clinton Global Initiative?

The winning student team and their new start-up. Each year the Hult Prize provides one million dollars in seed capital to the very best start-up for social good. The prize money is seeded into the newly created company, which will be run by the student team who came up with the idea.The Clinton Global Initiative is an ideal partner for the Hult Prize because it is dedicated to turning ideas into actions. The Clinton Global Initiative has over 2,000 members from the realms of government, private industry and non-profit organizations. All of these members have made a Commitment to Action to help solve a pressing global issue. Notable CGI corporate members include Goldman Sachs, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Intel, Virgin, General Electric, Wal-Mart, Berkshire Hathaway, News Corporation, and ExxonMobil.

What is President Bill Clinton’s role?

President Clinton is a key partner for the Hult Prize. He personally selects the subject challenge that students tackle each year. He also provides a first-person perspective on the key issues faced, and issues the challenge question that participants solve through the creation of their start-ups for social good. President Clinton also hosts the Hult Prize global finals at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York, every September.

What challenge will students tackle?

Students will be asked to develop solutions to one of the world’s most pressing social issues. The topic is announced each year by President Clinton at the annual Clinton Global Initiative Meeting in New York. A business case, the “Presidents Challenge” covering detailed background information on the social issue is released to all participants. Teams of 3-4 students then create sustainable social enterprises via a start-up that addresses the challenges faced.

Why give US$1million?

Hult is dedicated to practical business education and making a difference in the world. The US$1 million is designed to (a) help the brightest students focus on developing ideas that can be feasibly implemented; (b) ensure that the student created start-up has the capital to implement the ideas presented at the Hult Prize.

How do teams apply?

Student teams interested in participating in the event should visit to fill out the online application. Applying is easy and consists of four easy steps:

Select your city of competition
Create a team of 3-4 students from your college or university that share your passion
Upload your resumes and one team statement of purpose into the online application
Check back regularly to see if your team has been selected or join our Facebook page
Teams selected to compete in the Regional Finals will be responsible for securing their own travel arrangement to and from the event. Training, pre-event mixer, food and drink throughout the day and post-event reception will all be covered.

You can also check and see if your university is hosting an “on-campus” event. Winners of on-campus Hult Prize@ editions get to bypass the application.

Why should I apply early?

Submitting your application early is highly encouraged. It gives our selection committee more time to assess the quality of your application. Also, a limited number of teams are pre-selected before the final application deadline, giving you more time to spend on creating your social enterprise to solve the “Presidents Challenge”. Next, often times some cities fill up faster than others, and if you submit your application early, we may be able to accommodate your team in a different region than the one you have applied for. Finally, it helps us with sorting through the sheer number of applications that come in, so we would really appreciate you getting your application in as soon as possible.

Do I need an idea to apply?

No. Your application is not based on an existing idea, or one that you may have come up with for the challenge. Unlike any competition in the world, the Hult Prize moves teams into the regional finals that have the potential to create a dynamic and disruptive start-up based on their team experience and makeup. Regional Finalists are announced the first week of January, giving you and your team a solid two months to complete your pitch. Top applications are made up of multi-cultured and multi-disciplined teams.

Who is eligible to compete?

Students past or present from any college or university in the world are invited to form teams of 3-4. There are only two conditions:

1) All participants must have a connection with the same school
2) A maximum of one alumnus who cannot also be a faculty member of the school

You are considered a student if at the time of application submission, you have not yet graduated.

How will the competition operate?

Teams must apply online to participate in one of the five cities around the world. Hult Prize will accommodate as many teams as possible, since the aim of the Hult Prize is to develop as many innovative start-up solutions to the given social challenge. However, in the event of over-subscription, team selection will be based on a number of application criteria, including: statement of purpose, academic performance, work experience, skills and abilities, career motivation and non-profit work. Relevant start-up, business plan and case competition experience will also be considered. If your application is unsuccessful, your team’s application will be moved into the on-line round which takes place following the conclusion of the regional finals.

There will be two rounds of competition with an incubator in between:

Regional Competitions – On March 11-12, 2016. Regional events will be held simultaneously in each of the following cities: Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. A local panel of executive judges will select one winning team from each city.

Hult Prize Accelerator – Regional winners will move into an incubator for the months of July and August, 2015. The location of the incubator is in Boston, MA.

Global Final and Awards Ceremony – The five regional winners will be invited to attend the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York in September. Here, each team will present their start-up solutions in front of CGI Meeting delegates and President Bill Clinton and Muhammad Yunus. One team will be chosen as the Global Winner. Following the global final, the winning team will immediately launch their new social enterprise. A copy of the grant agreement can be obtained by emailing us at

Can individuals apply?

No. While only teams may compete, individuals who cannot form a team but are interested in competing should join the Facebook community to find others individuals who are looking to form teams.

Can a team choose which Regional Final to compete in?

Yes, teams are not limited to entering the Regional Final nearest to their school. However, clearly the additional travel and accommodation costs and visa implications must be taken into account.

My university is running an internal event, can I still apply?

Yes. While many universities and clubs around the world run internal qualifiers to select an officially endorsed team, if you participated and were unsuccessful we still encourage your team to apply.

Also, we are excited to announce that our HultPrize@ program hosted more than 100 university events around the world and if your college or university is interested in hosting an event on campus next year, we encourage you to email us. Winners of HultPrize@ events will secure guaranteed admission into one of our regional final locations. If you participated in one of these events, and your team was not successful, we highly encourage you to apply through the general application window. All of the HultPrize@ events worldwide will be completed prior to our final application deadline, so you will have plenty of time to apply. Similarly, if your school hosted a HultPrize@ event and you were unable to participate, we also encourage you to apply through the general application window.

What training will the selected teams receive?

All teams will be provided with mandatory training on effective issues analysis and presentation skills. A team of senior management consultants and industry experts will provide this training. Such training has been deemed necessary because good ideas often fail to gain traction due to poor communication. The whole objective of the Hult Prize is to gather and present as many innovative ideas as possible to help solve the target social challenge.

How much will it cost to compete?

Registration fees for this year’s Hult Prize have all been waived. Teams will be responsible for covering their travel costs.

Who will cover travel costs?

Students will be responsible for any travel costs associated with competing in the regional round of competition. Hult Prize will meet the travel costs of teams attending either the Hult Prize Accelerator or Global Finals.

What if my team cannot afford these costs?

One of the most important parts of being an entrepreneur is the ability to raise funds. Historically, selected teams have not had an issue coming up with the funding required to attend one of our regional events. Often times universities afford the costs associated with travel and lodging, and in other cases teams have crowdfunded their way to the city of their choice. Think of this as the first challenge you will face as an up and coming start-up.

Does the summer accelerator count for college credit?

Maybe. We are currently working out details regarding the accreditation of the Hult Prize Accelerator. More details will be available to those who need credits in order to participate.

Can team members come from different universities?

No. All participants should belong to the same college or university. However, this may consist of a mix of programs and undergraduate, graduate and PhD level.

Are there a maximum number of teams that can compete from each school?

While technically there is no limit, the aim of the Prize is to have as many different institutions from around the globe represented. Therefore, schools who wish to enter multiple teams are encouraged to apply for as many Regional Finals as possible (e.g., Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai).

Is this event open to undergraduates and non-business students?

Yes. Our application is open to anyone currently enrolled in college or university and a maximum of one alumnus per team. In 2014, our final six teams were represented by one team of undergraduate students.

What if your team wins the regional but is unable to attend the Hult Accelerator?

It is highly recommended that all team members attend the Hult Accelerator. If you are unable to attend for personal circumstances, alternative arrangements may be possible and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Is there an online version of the Hult Prize this year?

Yes. After high-demand, we have decided to bring back the on-line competition for the 2016 Hult Prize. The 2015 Global Champion emerged from the on-line round. The on-line competition will kick-off immediately following the conclusion of this year’s Regional Finals.

Terms and Conditions

Hult Prize Competition Terms and Conditions for the 2016 Hult Prize Competition taking place March 11-12, 2016 in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai and on-line

Please read these competition rules, terms and conditions carefully. By entering the Hult Prize competition you acknowledge and agree to these rules, terms and conditions.

To enter the competition you must be a current student of a higher education institution or alumni of a higher education institution at the time your application was submitted.
Up to four persons may compete on each team, and only these persons will be considered as part of your team. Team members are those that are listed on your application and those that have been amended by written confirmation.
One alumni, who is neither a.) faculty member or b) school administrator at your higher education institution may participate as part of the maximum 4 member team.
Content, representations and ideas presented during the competition may be published and shared with the Clinton Global Initiative and other strategic partners who can help advance your work on bringing healthcare to the poor. Your team has the option to opt out of section 4 of these rules, terms and conditions by emailing before the start of the Hult Prize competition, requesting your team’s “opt out.”
A panel of judges who will watch and score participants will select the winner of the competition. All decisions made by this panel in both rounds will be considered final.
A panel of judges who will watch and score participants will select the winner of the competition. All decisions made by this panel in both rounds will be considered final.
The closing date is as specified in each competition, and Hult Prize reserves the right to amend the competition end date at any time.
Any form of plagiarism or the presentation of intentionally unauthentic ideas and solutions will lead to forfeit.
Winners from each competition will be posted on the event website and announced at the conclusion of each regional final event.
By entering the competition participants agree to participate in such promotional activity and material as Hult Prize and its partners may request. This includes but is not limited to the use of photographs, videos and testimonials.
One-million dollars (US$1,000,000) will be seeded into the winning company based on a pre-determined milestone. Should the winning company be a for-profit entity, a twenty percent (20%) equity position will be held by the Hult Prize Foundation. Any future proceeds from this equity stake will be used by the Hult Prize Foundation exclusively to promote the Hult Prize competition and Hult Prize activities.
Runner-ups may also have the option to receive funding from the Hult Prize Mena Ventures Fund. These funding terms will be fixed for each of the five runner-ups.
Winning teams per region will win a fully expense paid trip for up to four people to compete in the Global Final in New York City. All costs associated with getting to and from New York will be met. Round-trip airfare can be substituted for travel to the summer accelerator or on the ground pilots.
A housing subsidy will be provided to each winning regional team for time spent at the Hult Prize Accelerator. Based on participants’ selection of accommodation, this subsidy may or may not cover all expenses related to housing for the duration of the accelerator program.
This competition is being run by the Hult Prize Foundation, an independently operated and governed organization sponsored by Hult International Business School and in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative.
Please read our Privacy Policy located on the Hult Prize website ( which tells you how we use any personal information, we may collect about you by entering a competition.

Hult Prize reserves the right to amend these rules at any time and if it does so, will post an update on it’s website and notify all participants. Hult Prize may also create rules, which will apply to a specific competition only. If we do this we will publish the amended competition rules and/or specific competition rules on the relevant competition page.

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