Would you choose a cushy Wall Street job or $1M to help solve a global social problem?

The Dingman Center co-sponsored several students that are attending the 2016 Hult Prize regional finals competition in Boston this week. Look forward to more blog posts from attendees.

By Adriana Kao, MBA 2016, CellShare team

The title question was the road in the fork that many Hult Prize participants had to face at some point in their journey. The Hult Prize, created in 2009, is a global case competition that challenges students around the world to develop innovative social enterprise solutions for the most pressing global problems, including provision of clean water, addressing the food crisis, and improving childhood education. The winning team receives $1M in seed funding and continued mentorship to launch their social enterprise idea. Sounds pretty neat, doesn’t it?  All there is standing in the way between your brilliant idea and $1M are 5000 teams from all around the world with equally brilliant ideas.

One of the most interesting aspects about this competition is that it is truly global in focus and nature and encourages thousands of young minds from around the world to solvPhoto collage 1e real problems that can radically improve people’s lives. Past winners have come from a diversity of countries, from Taiwan to the UAE, from India to Canada. That’s the great thing about this competition, a good idea from any corner of the world has the potential to win.

This year, the 2016 Hult Prize charged participants to double the income of 10M people in urban crowded spaces.  Competing teams made up of university undergraduate or graduate school students (or a mix) first compete within their schools, and the winning teams go on to one of 5 regional final competitions in Boston, San Francisco, Dubai, London or Shanghai. The competition is stiff and the bar raised very high, between 50 to 60 teams compete in each regional final.  The winners of the regional finals enter an accelerator program over the summer and finally compete for the grand prize in September in New York.

After winning the internal UnPhoto collage 2iversity of Maryland Hult competition hosted by the Smith School of Business last December, a four-member team headed to Boston for the regional finals held on March 12, 2016 thanks to the sponsorship of various offices at the Smith School of Business, including the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Social Value Creation (CSVC), the Master’s Program and the Dean’s Offices. The team, made up of John Harlepas, a recent UMD graduate of philosophy and poli-sci, Adriana Kao, a full-time MBA student, Malav Doshi, a Master of Science in Information Systems student and Melissa Marquez, a biology undergraduate student, are behind CellShare.  CellShare aims to create a new marketplace for people to buy and sell unused or extra mobile and broadband data. Think of it as enabling each person to become their own cybercafé, generating extra income by selling extra mobile data at affordable prices for consumers who need data. The idea leverages the ever growing sharing economy as well as existing IT infrastructure and mobile services.

CellShare has a pilot app on the Google Play Store and we encourage you to try it out and send any feedback to jdh@safi-by-hebe.com. CellShare, the “Uber of mobile data”, is among dozens of great ideas at the Hult Regional finals, hoping to have the golden opportunity to move on and fight for a chance to win $1M.  Stay tuned for a second blogpost where the finalists of the Boston Regional Final will be discussed and the winner will be revealed.

To learn more about CellShare, visit http://www.hebetechnology.com/cellshare

The Hult Prize Foundation is a start-up accelerator for budding young social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities. Named as one of the top five ideas changing the world by President Bill Clinton and TIME Magazine, the annual competition for the Hult Prize aims to create and launch the most compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by billions of people. Winners receive USD1 Million in seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community.

To learn more about the Hult Prize, visit http://www.hultprize.org/

Adriana’s experience crosses the business and nonprofit sectors, having worked for 5 and a half years in retail sports marketing and the same amount of years in nonprofit grantwriting and fundraising. Adriana is passionate about translating company’s and products’ value to consumers and shaping their experience with a brand. 

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One thought on “Would you choose a cushy Wall Street job or $1M to help solve a global social problem?

  1. […] Donation Drive Data Donation Drive team member and Smith MBA student Adriana Kao recently wrote a blog post for us about her experience competing in the Hult Prize regional competition in Boston with their […]

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