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Two EF students attend Hult Prize Award Dinner

Six university teams recently competed for the Hult Prize, awarded by former United States President Bill Clinton. IBY1 students Dongpeng Li of China and Hai Vu Tien of Vietnam were guests at the dinner celebrating the announcement of the Hult Prize in New York City last week. The two students enjoyed a three course dinner on Tuesday September 20th at the Sheraton New York City Downtown Hotel.

The two EF students spent the evening interacting with high-powered and very successful individuals from around the world. Dongpeng Li was excited to meet so many interesting individuals – “It was also a great pleasure to talk to some successful people in the dinner. For example, Jake and I had a great conversation with a mark analyst from General Motor (GM), which is currently one of the biggest car companies in the US.”

The highlight for both students was the award presentation by the former President. Clinton presented the Hult Prize of $1 million to the winning team. Hai Vu Tien was impressed, “Bill Clinton’s small appearance also contributed to the whole conference’s attitude and enthusiasm, it shows that the contestants’ work took a lot of effort and needs to be respected even more.”

According to Mr. Tien: “The CGI event helps inspire lots of people to take actions to global issues while helping themselves earn profit. Every year, there is a topic that the contestants focus on and they use their creative minds to come up with projects they themselves carry out to serve their community or to take part in eliminating a global issue.” This year’s topic tackled the issue of urban poverty. The teams came up with different ideas to help resolve this issue and also make a profit. CGI combines the creative minds of global citizens and business owners together to come up with a profitable and humane method to bring a better future to those who need our help. “In my opinion, it was a very inspiring and interesting dinner to attend.”

A $1 million prize of start-up capital awarded by the Clinton Global Initiative, part of the Clinton Foundation, to a team of university students with the best idea for “Doubling the Incomes of the Urban Poor.” Prior to the award, each of the six finalist teams presented their idea. Dongpeng noted, “To be honest, I was impressed by all those presentations because they presented different perspectives on solving the same problem. These presentations demonstrated many fantastic ideas which I had never thought of in the past. For example, one of my favorite presentations among the five was to use fingerprints as a form of identification instead of the traditional form of ID.”

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.

The 2016 winner, as Clinton put it, “is a really clever idea.” Magic Bus Ticketing is, in essence, an app. It’s simple and based on text messaging, and it’s trying to streamline a byzantine informal minibus system that 70 percent of Africans use for daily transportation, Clinton said. “The transportation system is plagued with inefficiency,” Clinton said as he awarded the prize. “Soon, some big wag will be calling this the Uber of buses.”

For Dongpeng and Hai Vu, this experience got them thinking about solving problems through social entrepreneurship. Perhaps they will receive the Hult Prize some day in the not-too-distant future.

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