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TAU students advance to regional finals for Hult Prize
By DANIELLE ZIRI
02/21/2013
Worldwide social good competition will grant $1 million to winning team.
 
Fifteen Tel Aviv University students will advance to the regional finals of the fourth annual Hult Prize, a startup accelerator for social good created as a response to a challenge from former US president Bill Clinton.

“Tel Aviv University is proud to have 15 of its international graduate students participating in this important competition,” Prof. Ra’anan Rein, vice president of Tel Aviv University, wrote in a statement.

TAU is sending three five-member teams to the competition from different programs in the the International Graduate School.

The Hult Prize is a worldwide student competition conducted in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative and dedicated to “solving the most pressing social challenges on the planet.”

Student teams compete in five cities around the world – Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai – for a chance to win $1 million in funding to launch a startup for a sustainable social action.

This year’s challenge revolves around the global food crisis, a theme personally selected by Clinton. The students have to submit ideas to combat food insecurity, providing safe, efficient, affordable and easily accessible food to the millions of people around the globe who live in urban slums.

“We believe that these diverse groups will combine TAU’s strong academics and Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit, to find creative solutions to the issue of food security,” Rein said.

Three separate teams of TAU students will compete – in London, San Francisco and Boston.

A team from the university’s Conflict Resolution and Mediation Program – made up of students from South Korea, the United States, France and Colombia – will compete in London.

A group from the Porter School Environmental Studies Program will compete in San Francisco.

“The subject of the competition is highly challenging, but surely encouraging,” team member Joshua Victor, from India, said. “We feel honored and excited about being able to work against poverty and hunger in urban slums across the world.”

And students from TAU’s Sofaer International MBA program will compete in Boston, with members representing Sweden, Argentina, the US, Canada and Israel.

“We know how important it is to come up with a solution that is not only relevant, but also feasible,” said team member Boaz Gavish said. He added that his team is planning to research urban hunger first-hand, during its upcoming MBA trip to India.

Dr. Stephen Hodges, president of the Hult International Business School, said that the Hult Prize is thrilled to have Tel Aviv University students participating in the initiative.

“This year’s competition has received a record number of entries, bringing together some of the most talented students to help solve global food security, which can benefit nearly a billion people,” he added.

Some 10,000 team applications were received for this year’s contest, including more than 350 colleges and universities, from about 150 countries. The regional competitions will take place on March 1 and 2 in the five different cities.

Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into a summer business incubator, where participants will be mentored and advised as they create prototypes and launch their new social startup.

The final round of the competition will be hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting, where the winning team will be awarded the $1m.

prize by Clinton himself.

“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,” Clinton released in a statement.
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