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School of Business Student Vying for $1 Million in Hult Prize Global Online Competition – Public Invited to Vote

April 30, 2013
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A team of UM student entrepreneurs including a School of Business senior is among 76 teams vying for $1 million in start-up funding to launch their social ventures as part of the Clinton Global Initiative. Stephen Schellbach, an entrepreneurship major, and his teammates are participating in the 2013 Hult Prize Global Online Event in which participants are challenged to develop solutions to one of the world’s most pressing social issues.

The theme of this year’s competition is global food security and focuses on how to get safe, sufficient, affordable and easily accessible food to the 200 million people who live in urban slums – a challenge personally selected by President Clinton. Student teams are charged with developing a sustainable social venture that can accomplish the objective by 2018.

The teams submitted videos about their social ventures beginning in early March. The videos have been posted on Facebook, where members of the public are invited to vote for the best. The top 10 vote-getters will then move on to the next round, where judges from the Clinton Global Initiative will select the winner. The winner of the online competition will then compete against the winners of regional competitions in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. The Hult Prize Global Finals will be held during the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting.

“We believe many of the current problems with our food system can be solved by empowering people to effortlessly grow their own food in their backyard, rooftop, garage, patio, basement, or wherever,” said Schellbach.  “Our current prototype uses organic waste as the source of nutrients in a closed loop model that recycles water and energy. We feel we have a viable solution to help solve a serious issue in urban slums around the world and we hope the UM community and general public agrees with us and shows support by voting for us and sharing the video.”

Joining Schellbach on the UM team are Michael Lazzara, a student from the College of Arts and Sciences; Michael McPhee, from the College of Engineering; and Lauren Behar from the School of Communication. The public voting period ends May 12 so VOTE NOW.

The UM team is competing against teams from leading business schools and universities around the world including Harvard University, UC Berkley, the University of Maryland, UCLA, London Business School, HEC Paris, Tsinghua University, the Indian Institute of Technology, MIT Sloan School of Management, ESADE Business School, HULT International Business School, and Tufts University

Up for grabs is $1 million in start-up funding and an opportunity to spend the summer in the Hult Accelerator - a world-class center for innovation. The Hult Prize is funded by Swedish Entrepreneur and Founder of EF Education First, Bertil Hult and sponsored by the Hult International Business School.

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