Students named finalists in Hult Prize Challenge

first_imgThree USC students have a shot at winning $1 million in Dubai this Friday and Saturday by reaching the regional finals of the largest student competition in the world.Each year, former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative, a subsidiary of the Clinton Foundation which brings leaders together to create solutions to global issues, partners with the Hult International Business School and asks students to form teams of three or four members. Teams must create a project that will address the Hult Prize Challenge. The Hult Prize is an organization that promotes social entrepreneurship by encouraging students to solve many of the world’s major challenges.This year, 25,000 teams applied and 303 of those teams were asked to attend the regional finals. A team of three USC students is among those selected to advance.Out of the teams that will compete in the regional finals, one will be selected to receive a one-year membership into the Clinton Global Initiative and will be given the opportunity to spend the summer at the Hult Prize Accelerator, which is an incubator for social enterprise, according to its website. In addition, the winning team will not only receive $1 million, but also attend the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, where the members will pitch their ideas to a world-class audience.The team includes Adam Gramling, a senior majoring in industrial and systems engineering with a focus on information systems; Will Harris, a senior majoring in business administration; and Sam Calvert, a sophomore majoring in accounting.This year’s challenge encourages participants to find a way to double the incomes of those who live in poor conditions by improving mobility and connectivity. The income double must be achieved by 2022, according to the competition’s website.The team is creating a dynamic education system that connects people with the online freelancing market. This will allow someone working in Jakarta to make a U.S. salary, giving the worker access to a much larger economy.Gramling competed in the program last year and made it to the semifinals in Shanghai. He wanted to compete again this year, so when he told Harris and Calvert about the challenge, they decided to form a team. Now, the three members of the team have become best friends.“We call each other at 2 a.m. saying, ‘Guys, I have this new idea. What do you think?’” Gramling said.The team said each of the members brings a different skill to the table; Harris is strategic, Calvert handles finances and Gramling works with implementing the ideas.Gramling said the team has been meeting for about 10 hours each week since September. After one month of hard work, Harris told the other members of the team they should come up with a new idea. The team members decided to take the freelancing trend and the market for individuals and pair them together to come up with their current solution. Last year’s challenge had to do with education, so Gramling was able to use his experience to help the team come up with a new project.“You get connections with these wonderful people, so when you take an idea to them, they have the power to actually go execute it,” Gramling said.The competition allows each team to choose the location its members will travel to if they make it to the regional finals. Gramling said his team chose Dubai because the solution they came up with revolves around freelancing. Given Dubai’s proximity to India, it is a good market for the judges to understand the team’s pitch.Though the team is hoping to win the competition, Gramling said he believes just going through the process of participating in the program is beneficial.“I feel it’s a very worthwhile learning experience just getting involved with this,” Gramling said. “One of my life goals is I really want to make a big change in the world and affect a lot of people, and I feel this is a great outlet to do so.”last_img read more