The Hult Prize Challenge 2018: Harnessing the Power of Energy

At Hult we are passionate about DECA because we believe it teaches a lot of the practical skills that we look for in students. Our Undergraduate program specializes in connecting global businesses with innovative thinking, through real-world Core Challenges.

Each challenge uses design thinking to create new start-up ideas, develop solutions to combat issues top companies face, and become adept at confidently pitching ideas. These same skills are also put to the test in our unique partnership with the Hult Prize, a global student competition often described as the ‘Nobel Prize for entrepreneurship.’

In fact, the Hult Prize is one to watch if you’re an active DECA member. Testing your public speaking and your problem-solving abilities similarly to your DECA experience, the Hult Prize may even be the competition you want to enter next if you are already in college (or once you begin).

Proof that you can use business solutions to do good in the world, the Hult Prize challenges students to develop innovative, scalable, and sustainable ways to meet today’s most pressing social challenges. Founded by a Hult International Business School alumnus, Ahmad Ashkar, the Hult Prize allows college students to compete with their peers and make their business ideas a reality, working in teams of three or four to solve an international humanitarian problem through social entrepreneurship.

Each year the Hult Prize challenges social entrepreneurs to innovate and think like no one has before. The teams that reach the final round are those that have developed wholly new concepts that challenge and disrupt in order to impact the world in a positive way. Not only do the students participating often find new business partnerships and opportunities along the way, but the winners earn the $1,000,000 in capital that will enable them to put their dream into action! The Hult Prize 2018 Challenge is no different. The objective is simple, but not easy: harness the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025.

This challenge isn’t about inventing new energy systems—we’re looking for entrepreneurs, not engineers—but about deploying them in a way that aligns with customer needs in a sustainable business model.

The challenge encourages entrepreneurs to look at the iconic lightbulb for inspiration. Thomas Edison’s version of the electric bulb was not the first, but his business acumen made it commercially viable and practical for widespread use. By paving the way for the electrification of homes and workplaces, the lightbulb was the turning point for grid-based energy and the countless other inventions which rely on it.

Similar to a commercially viable light bulb, this year’s challenge looks for ways in which existing and cutting-edge energy harnessing methods can bring power to every economic stratum in society, from the ultra-poor upwards. The key is finding the demand, the appropriate method to meet it, and creating a sustainable and viable business model to propel it forward.

To succeed at the Hult Prize Challenge, each entrepreneurial team will need more than hypothetical solutions. The key to a winning business model is to look at the practical applications. Teams must understand their consumers in order to create a sustainable and viable concept.

And by encouraging competing teams to engage directly with the people who would be impacted by their proposals, the Hult Prize also gives participants first-hand experience and learning opportunities to expand and apply the skills and knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom.

It’s the same concept that’s at the heart of Hult’s approach to learning: In understanding consumers, demand, and sustainability in a real-life situation, students gain experience and preparation to become more than just leaders of business.

This article was written by DECA National Advisory Board member, Hult International Business School. You can find out more about our Bachelor of Business Administration degree by downloading our brochure today and following us on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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