Birmingham Business School students one step closer to winning prestigious Hult Prize and solving Presidential Challenge

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Top-tier schools go head-to-head in world’s largest student competition, competing for $1 million in start-up funding to solve President Clinton’s Early Childhood Challenge.

London (March 13 and 14 2015) — The Hult Prize Foundation recently announced that Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, has advanced to the regional finals of the sixth annual Hult Prize. The annual Hult Prize Challenge is the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social good. In partnership with President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, the innovative crowdsourcing platform identifies and launches disruptive and catalytic social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. Student teams compete in five cities around the world for a chance to secure USD1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture.

Hult Prize nomineesThe team members from Birmingham Business School consist of James O’Toole (United Kingdom) who is the Team Leader, Michael Akinyemi (Nigeria), Jessica Cho (Taiwan) Huixi Yu, Nina (China) and Ronnie Versher (United States).

Professor Simon Collinson, Dean of Birmingham Business School commented, “What a fantastic achievement. We are delighted that a team from our MBA programme have been successful in reaching the finals of such a prestigious and worthwhile global competition, particularly considering the fierce competition. Early Child Education is an important global issue and this global challenge is a wonderful opportunity for our winning MBA team to drive change, make a lasting impact, and create a sustainable social enterprise for the benefit of humankind. We wish our team the very best at the London Finals in March.”

The 2015 Hult Prize will focus on building start-ups that provide sustainable, high quality early education solutions to ten million children under the age of six in urban slums and beyond by the year 2020. This year’s challenge was selected and set 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.”

Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of the Hult Prize Foundation, attributes the rapid growth of the SRI sector to new demand being created by the international market place. “Servicing the world’s poorest through profitable and sustainable enterprise is not just good for the world, its great business. Our pioneering platform builds ecosystems by leveraging crowd and we couldn’t be happier that Birmingham Business School will be joining our mission with their participation in the 6th annual Hult Prize.”

The Hult Prize gives entrepreneurs from around the world a platform to innovate and revolutionize the way society thinks about servicing the poor.Each team selected was chosen from more than 20,000 applications received from over 500 colleges and universities in over 150 countries. The Hult Prize regional final competitions will take place on March 13 and 14, 2015 in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. Our team will compete in London.

Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set-up to launch and scale their new ventures. A final round of competition will be hosted by President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September, where CGI delegates will select a winning team, which will be awarded the USD 1 million prize by President Bill Clinton himself. 

President Clinton has gone on to say, “The Hult Prize is a wonderful example of the creative cooperation needed to build a world with shared opportunity, shared responsibility, and shared prosperity, and each year I look forward to seeing the many outstanding ideas the competition produces.”


Notes to Editors:

About Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham

Birmingham Business School’s world-class research and teaching provides the insights, ambitions and skills to shape better, simpler and more sustainable business strategies. Birmingham Business School puts business in context and people at the heart of business.

Press Contacts

For further information, please contact Stuart Gillespie, University of Birmingham Press Office, at or on (0121) 414 9041.

About the Hult Prize Foundation

The Hult Prize Foundation is a pioneer in crowd-based approaches to the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems and the acceleration of social enterprise. Its start-up accelerator brings together the brightest college and university students from around the globe to solve the world’s most pressing issues. It has been named by TIME amongst the top five ideas changing the world. The annual Hult Prize Challenge is the world’s largest student competition and crowd-sourcing platform for social good. The Hult Prize Foundation has been funded by the Hult family since it was founded in 2009 by current CEO, Ahmad Ashkar. To learn more, visit

About The Clinton Global Initiative 
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, CGI members have made more than 2,500 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $87.9 billion.