$1 Million Hult Prize: American University of Nigeria Advances To Regional Finals

President American University of Nigeria, Margee Ensign

The American University of Nigeria has advanced to the regional finals of the sixth annual Hult Prize, whose winners will receive $1,000,000 in startup funding. This year there were more than 4,000 applications from among which the AUN team of Hafsat Adamu, Blessing Douglas, and Lucy Okonkwo was offered a place to compete. AUN’s team was the only one from Nigeria to advance to the Dubai stage of the competition.

“Part of what qualified us, said AUN President Margee Ensign, “is our university’s development mission and commitment to fostering development in our region and the continent, together with the students’ strong, longstanding record of academic excellence and community engagement.”

An instructor in Business & Entrepreneurship, Fardeen Dodo, who coached last year’s team, said the competition will enrich the students’ college experience. “Besides the competition, students will benefit from several workshops, networking, and entrepreneurial learning events run by a number of professionals and trail-blazing global experts, including Stuart Fleming of Enviroserve, Garett Awad of the Scholl Centre of Entrepreneurship, Ali Edrissi of JP Morgan (UK), and Khaled Gazawi, the CEO of Grameen-Jameel.”

Mr. Dodo added that this competition is a “…demonstration of how far our students are ready to go, to action up our vision of development and commitment to addressing the longstanding social challenges that confront Nigeria and Africa at large.”

In partnership with President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, the innovative program aims to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. Student teams compete in six cities around the world for a chance to secure the $ 1 million prize money meant to launch a sustainable social venture.

The 2015 Hult Prize will focus on building start-ups that provide sustainable, high quality, and early education solutions to 10 million children under the age of six in urban slums and beyond by 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 commented: “Servicing the world’s poorest through profitable and sustainable enterprise is not just good for the world; it’s great business. Our pioneering platform builds ecosystems by leveraging crowd and we couldn’t be happier that the American University of Nigeria 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. The American University of Nigeria Hult team will compete in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

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 training as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business. A final round of competition will be hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September this year, where CGI delegates will select a winning team, and the prize to be awarded by President Clinton himself, who has said, “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.” To learn more, visit www.hultprize.org.

The American University of Nigeria, Africa’s first Development University, was established in 2003 by Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar. Offering an American-style curriculum, AUN is Nigeria’s first wireless residential campus. All students participate in community development projects as they prepare to assume leadership in their chosen careers.

“We are extremely proud that AUN’s team has been chosen as the only team in Nigeria to participate in this prestigious competition. The entire AUN community will be cheering on Hafsat, Lucy and Blessing as they not only compete for this prize, but provide solutions to our world’s most difficult problems. We could not be prouder!” President Ensign concluded.


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