President Clinton’s Food Poverty Challenge Inspires Student Team’s 2013 Hult Prize Entry

A regionally diverse team of four Wagner students — David Margolis (West Bloomfield, MI), Jacqueline Burton (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), Laura Manley (Westfield, MA), and Ellen Nadeau (Clearwater, FL) — have been selected to advance to the prestigious Hult Prize regional finals in March.

The Hult Prize, in its fourth year, is the world’s largest student competition and crowdsourcing platform for social good. Recently,  it was recognized by former President Bill Clinton and TIME magazine as one of the top five new ideas for changing the world. In partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, the Hult Prize’s crowd-sourcing platform identifies and launches social ventures aimed at some of the most pressing global challenges. Student teams compete for the chance to secure $1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture.

The 2013 Hult Prize focuses on global food security, and how to get safe, sufficient, affordable, and easily accessible food to the more than 200 million people who live in urban slums. This focus was personally selected by President Clinton, and it inspired the Wagner team.

The team is developing an initiative called Rootstock. It is a digital service-learning platform that unites students from various disciplines and countries to collaborate on global food security issues, and implement their learning directly in the field. The pilot curriculum is about urban agriculture.

This year’s Holt competition generated a record number of entries, totaling more than 10,000. The regional competitions take place on March 1 and 2 on Hult International Business School’s five campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, and Shanghai. The Wagner team will compete in San Francisco.

One team from each host city will be chosen for a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentoring and other assistance as they create prototypes and prepare to launch their new social ventures. A final round of competition will be hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September, where the winning team will be selected and awarded the grand prize by President Clinton.

Stay tuned!

— Ellen Marie Nadeau


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