Griffith's Hult Prize team members, from left, Chris Eigeland, Brad McConachie and Elise Stephenson , in library between rows of books

Griffith’s Hult Prize team members, from left, Chris Eigeland, Brad McConachie and Elise Stephenson

A team of Griffith University business students is a step closer to $US1 million and a meeting with former US President Bill Clinton after advancing to the regional finals of the sixth annual Hult Prize.

Hailing from the School of Government and International Relationsin the Griffith Business School, the team comprises: Australian Postgraduate Award recipient Brad McConachie; Prime Minister’s Australia-Asia Endeavour Awardees Chris Eigeland and Janna Mallon; and New Colombo Plan Scholar Elise Stephenson.

The Griffith team is one of 250 selected from more than 20,000 applications from 500 colleges and universities in 150 countries. Elise, Janna, Brad and Chris will contest the regional final in Shanghai on March 13-14. Other host cities are Boston, San Francisco, London and Dubai.

The focus of the 2015 event is on building start-ups to provide sustainable and high quality early education solutions for a predicted 10 million children under the age of six and living in urban slums beyond 2020.The world’s largest student competition, the Hult Prize is partnered with President Clinton and his Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and is an innovative crowd-sourcing platform striving to solve the most pressing global social challenges. Student teams compete to secure $US1 million in start-up funding for a sustainable social venture.

“Over the past few years we have worked together in Australia and our region on the topics of children and education,” says Elise Stephenson. “We are so excited to have this opportunity to compete with the best in the world and we are positive our solution will have great practical impact on communities.”

Founder and CEO of the Hult Prize Foundation, Mr Ahmad Ashkar, attributes the rapid growth of the Socially Responsible Investment sector to new demand created by the international marketplace.

“Servicing the world’s poorest people through profitable and sustainable enterprise is not just good for the world; it’s great business,” he says.

Says President Clinton: “The Hult Prize is about more than the solution to the problem; it’s about how the world has to work in the 21st century.”

Following the regional finals, the winning teams will move into a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and prepare to launch their ventures.

The final will be hosted by President Clinton at CGI’s annual meeting in the US in September.

By Michael Jacobson, Griffith University

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