U-M Team Advances to Regional Finals of 6th Annual Hult Prize


The winning team from the Hult Prize at University of Michigan competition has advanced to the 6th annual regional finals of the global competition.

The team competed in the Hult Prize at Michigan event hosted by the Ross School of Business’s Net Impact Club event on December 9th, 2014 and built a solution to this year’s challenge by President Bill Clinton around early childhood education. Their solution is Porta Play, which will create an easy step-by-step manual for playschool teachers to create toys and other classroom supplies from recycled materials as a part of an interactive, play-based curriculum. By leveraging a base of the pyramid business model that focuses on mutual value creation, they plan to engage teachers in co-creating innovative products to meet their in-class needs.

The Hult Prize is a crowdsourcing platform for social good, named one of the top five ideas changing the world by President Bill Clinton and TIME magazine. In partnership with 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. This year, the Hult Prize is focused around finding solutions for the millions of families in urban areas around the world that are affected by a lack of access to early childhood education – a challenge selected by President Bill Clinton.

Team winners with the president of Ross' Net Impact Club

The winning team members from the University of Michigan include: Devan Rostorfer, Master of Science, School of Natural Resources and Environment, 2015; Dan Sebaldt, Master of Architecture, 2015; Ellen Duff, Master of Architecture, 2015; and Barrett Randolph, University of Michigan Alum.

The team will now move on to compete at the Hult Prize regional finals on March 13 and 14, 2015, which are being hosted at one of Hult International Business School’s campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. The University of Michigan team will compete in Boston or San Francisco.

"Bringing the Hult Prize to Michigan was an inspiring experience. It was amazing to see what is possible when brilliant people get together to solve the world's wicked problems." Kelsea Ballantyne, Campus Director, Hult Prize at University of Michigan.

Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of the Hult Prize attributes the success of the competition to the global youth revolution and said, “We continue to be moved by the large number of students from around the world who are capitalizing on the opportunity to develop business models that target the bottom of the pyramid.” “We wish every team the best of luck and thank University of Michigan for supporting this initiative.”

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 their new social business. The final round of competition will be hosted at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in September 2015, where CGI delegates will select the annual Hult Prize winner. None other than President Bill Clinton himself will award the USD 1,000,000 Prize to the winning team.

“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.” – President Bill Clinton, Founder, William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States.

About the Hult Prize Foundation

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 student competition and crowd-sourcing platform for social good, and has been funded by the Hult family since its inception in 2009. To learn more, visit www.hultprize.org.

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.