What is the Hult Prize?

The Hult Prize Foundation transforms how young people envision their own possibilities as leaders of change in the world around them. With a US$1,000,000 global startup prize as its anchor activity, the Hult Prize has brought impact-focused programs, events and trainings to over a million students globally, creating a pathway for youth everywhere to take action to build a better world.

In just over a decade, the foundation has deployed more than $100M into the impact sector which it helped create. Operating on more than 1500 college and university campuses in 121 countries with a global team of more than 30,000 staff, student volunteers and changemakers the Hult Prize continues to be a disruptive global leader in education, soft skills training and entrepreneurial development for the 21st century.

What is the Hult Prize Wildcard Round?

The Wildcard round serves as a virtual round of participation for the annual Global Hult Prize.  Up to 10 teams get to advance to the accelerator.


Teams around the world are encouraged to participate by submitting their application at hultprize.org/wildcard.   Up to 10 teams will advance to attend the 5-week accelerator program.  Throughout the program, teams will be coached and evaluated. The top six will advance to the Global Finals where the winner will receive US$1M in startup capital.

Are participants supposed to solve a specific problem?

Yes. Each year, a pressing social challenge is selected by President Clinton and becomes the theme for the respective cycle. The 2020 Hult Prize Challenge provides a specific and measurable objective that each participating team is intended to solve through the creation of a sustainable enterprise. In March, selected participants are invited to pitch their start-ups that specifically address the challenges identified in that year’s challenge. A clearly defined framework is also provided to ensure your idea contains the necessary qualities and mandates to be an innovation breakthrough.

How can college and university students help with a social challenge?

Traditional non-profit organizations struggle to make a telling contribution despite having a potentially powerful solution to a problem. Not because they lack commitment or funding, but because they face execution hurdles that can only be solved by leveraging a wide range of skill-sets and an on-the-ground understanding of the situation.

Overcoming execution hurdles is what colleges and universities teach their students, specifically business schools, since the ability to execute is critical in business. Furthermore, business schools are home to a wide variety of students from different industries and countries that collectively have a very broad knowledge base. Harnessing this resource through crowd-sourcing innovative ideas and solutions is a technique that is poised to create radical breakthroughs in the social space.

How does the Hult Prize work?

There are multiple programs, and multiple rounds of competition that can further be explores in our Programs Section at the top. Your goal is to make it to the Global Accelerator, to work, learn and play as you develop your game-changing enterprise. The top 50 companies from around the world advance here, a step before Finals. From there, six companies are selected to pitch  for USD1,000,000.

There is funding and mentorship throughout. There are two ways to become part of the top 50:
1) Win a Regional Summit Final
2) Win a Wildcard Round.

There are two ways into a Regional Summit, either you win an On-Campus Hult Prize which may or may not be happening at your university, or you submit into the general application window. Regional Summit cities are always changing; for our 2020 cycle the cities will be announced soon so stay tuned! Once the top 50 are selected, they come to the world’s biggest  incubator for social enterprise and from there, our team and network of over 25,000 coaches, advisors and mentors work to make your idea real. After 5-weeks a final six are selected to pitch at Finals & Awards Gala. The winner gets the coveted USD1,000,000 Hult Prize.

What is the 2020 Hult Prize Challenge Topic?

The 2020 Hult Prize Challenge as announced by President Bill Clinton at the United Nations is: “Building Startups That Have A Positive Impact On Our Planet with Every Dollar Earned” Can we build bold businesses that have a positive net impact on our planet with every sale completed, dollar earned, and decision made? Good luck!

When do applications open?

Official 2020 Global Hult Prize Applications will open on October 1st. There will be two early bird application deadlines, with a final application deadline of December 23. On-campus events and programs are on-going.  Regional Programs have floating deadlines, please visit your local country page to learn more or email us at info@scqa.hultprize.org

Who is Hult?

Hult is the family name of Swedish born entrepreneur and billionaire, Bertil Hult, one of Europe’s leading entrepreneurs who founded EF Education First, the largest private education company in the world. Bertil Hult and his family help make the Hult Prize Foundation possible.

Who gets the million dollars?

The winning student team and their new start-up. Each year the Hult Prize provides one million dollars in seed capital to the winning impact enterprise of it’s flagship program.  The prize money is seeded into the newly created company, which will be run by the student team who came up with the idea.

How was the Hult Prize created?

In 2009 Hult International Business School MBA student Ahmad Ashkar founded a company to give his then peers around the world a platform to have sustainable, profitable impact. He later convinced Hult’s President, Dr. Stephen Hodges to begin hosting startup events on each of Hult’s five global campuses around the world with a focus on the creation of a new kind of business which was dubbed, “the impact enterprise”. One year, and one meeting with Bertil Hult later, the Hult Prize was born. Ahmad is currently the CEO of the Hult Prize Foundation and continues to bring innovation and thought leadership to the social impact sector. He is the 2018 GQ Entrepreneur of the YEar and one of Gulf Business 2019 Top 100 Most Powerful Arabs.

Why the United Nations?

The Hult Prize is proud to be one of the few programs that is partnered with the United Nations Office for Partnerships.

What is President Bill Clinton’s role?

President Clinton is a key partner for the Hult Prize. He personally announces the subject challenge that students tackle each year. He also provides a first-person perspective on the key issues faced, and issues the challenge question that participants solve through the creation of their start-ups for social good. President Clinton also attends and awards the UN Hult Prize Global Finals at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, every September to kick-off UNGA Global Goals Week.

What challenge will students tackle?

The Hult Prize is thematic.  Meaning, that every year a new challenge area is focused on. Our criteria for topics center around transformative business.  We short-cut challenges and market approaches to big problems and the results are nothing short of extraordinary.

Why give US$1million?

The Hult Prize remains the largest start-up program in the world for early stage social venture. The US$1,000,000 helps us move normally full profit motivated business minds into game-changing social entrepreneurs. Our community often give up jobs at Goldman, becoming doctors and attorneys and other big paying jobs to pursuit careers in impact.

Where is the money coming from?

Our flagship USD1,000,000 prize program and our operating expenditures are provided by the Hult family.  Other seed money made available to our entrepreneurs comes from various backers which include government, private and public funders.

How do teams apply?

Student teams interested in participating in the event should visit www.hultprize.org to fill out the online application. Applying is easy and consists of four easy steps:

  1. Select your city of competition
  2. Create a team of 3-4 students from your college or university that share your passion
  3. Upload your resumes and one team statement of purpose into the online application
  4. Check back regularly to see if your team has been selected or join our Facebook page

Teams selected to compete in the Regional Finals will be responsible for securing their own travel arrangement to and from the event. Training, pre-event mixer, food and drink throughout the day and post-event reception will all be covered.

You can also check www.hultprizeat.com and see if your university is hosting an “on-campus” event.  Winners of on-campus Hult Prize@ editions get to bypass the application.

Why should I apply early?

Submitting your application early is highly encouraged. It gives our selection committee more time to assess the quality of your application. Also, a limited number of teams are pre-selected before the final application deadline, giving you more time to spend on creating your social enterprise to solve the 2020 Hult Prize Challenge. Next, often times some cities fill up faster than others, and if you submit your application early, we may be able to accommodate your team in a different region than the one you have applied for. Finally, it helps us with sorting through the sheer number of applications that come in, so we would really appreciate you getting your application in as soon as possible.

Do I need an idea to apply?

No. Your application is not based on an existing idea, or one that you may have come up with for the challenge. Unlike any competition in the world, the Hult Prize moves teams into the regional finals that have the potential to create a dynamic and disruptive start-up based on their team experience and makeup. Regional Finalists are announced the first week of January, giving you and your team a solid two months to complete your pitch. Top applications are made up of multi-cultured and multi-disciplined teams.

Who is eligible to compete?

Students from any college or university in the world are invited to form teams of 3-4.

You are considered a student if at the time of application submission, you have not yet graduated. Alumni and faculty are not allowed to be official team members.

Can individuals apply?

No. While only teams may compete, individuals who cannot form a team but are interested in competing should join the Facebook community to find others individuals who are looking to form teams.

Can a team choose which Regional Final to compete in?

Yes, teams are not limited to entering the Regional Final nearest to their school. However, clearly the additional travel and accommodation costs and visa implications must be taken into account.

Are there a maximum number of teams that can compete from each school?

While technically there is no limit, the aim of the Prize is to have as many different institutions from around the globe represented. Therefore, schools who wish to enter multiple teams are encouraged to apply for as many Regional Finals as possible.

My university is running an on-campus program, can I still apply?

Yes. While many universities and clubs around the world run a Hult Prize on-campys program to officially endorsed a team, if you participated and were unsuccessful we still encourage your team to apply.

Even if you participated in an on-campus Hult Prize round and your team was not successful, we highly encourage you to apply through the general application window. All of the Hult Prize On-Campus events worldwide will be completed prior to our final application deadline. This includes all campus directors and volunteers.

Who will cover travel costs?

Students will be responsible for any travel costs associated with competing in the Hult Prize.  Fundraising and university support is common.

How much will it cost to compete?

Registration fees for this year’s Hult Prize have all been waived. Teams will be responsible for covering their travel costs.

What if my team cannot afford these costs?

One of the most important parts of being an entrepreneur is the ability to raise funds. Historically, selected teams have not had an issue coming up with the funding required to attend one of our regional events. Often times universities afford the costs associated with travel and lodging, and in other cases teams have crowdfunded their way to the city of their choice. Think of this as the first challenge you will face as an up and coming start-up.

What training will the selected teams receive?

A series of online webinars and trainings are available to everyone who follows our official social media channels. Campus Director’s will also be facilitating trainings across the world. Use social media to find one near you! See below all the channels you should be following NOW! Instagram,  Youtube,  Twitter,  Facebook,  Linkedin.

Can team members come from different universities?

No. All participants should belong to the same college or university. However, this may consist of a mix of programs and undergraduate, graduate and PhD level.

Does the accelerator count for college credit?

Maybe. We are currently working out details regarding the accreditation of the Hult Prize Accelerator. More details will be available to those who need credits in order to participate.

Is this event open to undergraduates and non-business students?

Yes. Our application is open to anyone currently enrolled in college or university.

What if your team wins the regional but is unable to attend the Hult Accelerator?

Then your team will not be considered for the Finals.

Is there an online version of the Hult Prize this year?

Yes. Our wildcard program will kick-off immediately following the conclusion of this year’s Regional Finals. More than one winning online round participant will advance to the Global accelerator program.

Terms and Conditions

Hult Prize Competition Terms and Conditions for the 2019 Hult Prize

Please read these competition rules, terms and conditions carefully. By entering the Hult Prize competition you acknowledge and agree to these rules, terms and conditions.

  1. To enter the competition you must be a current student of a higher education institution at the time your application was submitted.
  2. 3-4 persons may compete on each team, and only these persons will be considered as part of your team. Team members are those that are listed on your application and those that have been amended by written confirmation.
  3. Only currently enrolled students, full or part-time at the time of application submission will be considered students.
  4. Content, representations and ideas presented during the program may be published and shared with the United Nations and other strategic partners who can help advance your work on bringing healthcare to the poor. Your team has the option to opt out of section 4 of these rules, terms and conditions by emailing info@scqa.hultprize.org before the start of the Hult Prize competition, requesting your team’s “opt out.”
  5. A panel of judges who will watch and score participants will select the winner of the competition.  All decisions made by this panel in both rounds will be considered final.
  6. A panel of judges who will watch and score participants will select the winner of the competition.  All decisions made by this panel in both rounds will be considered final.
  7. The closing date is as specified in each competition, and Hult Prize reserves the right to amend the competition end date at any time.
  8. Any form of plagiarism or the presentation of intentionally unauthentic ideas and solutions will lead to forfeit.
  9. Winners from each competition will be posted on the event website and announced at the conclusion of each regional final event.
  10. By entering the competition participants agree to participate in such promotional activity and material as Hult Prize and its partners may request. This includes but is not limited to the use of photographs, videos and testimonials.
  11. One-million dollars (US$1,000,000) will be seeded into the winning company of the global flagship program which culminates in a global finals based on a pre-determined milestone. A twenty percent (20%) equity position will be held by the Hult Prize Foundation for the winning company’s participation in any of the Hult Prize program. Any future proceeds from this equity stake will be used by the Hult Prize Foundation exclusively to promote the Hult Prize program and Hult Prize activities.
  12. Runner-ups may also have the option to receive funding from the Hult Prize Mena Ventures Fund.  These funding terms will be fixed for each of the five runner-ups.
  13. Winning teams per regional summit qualifying, will move onto a summer Accelerator program outside in Boston, USA.
  14. 6 finalists will be selected following the conclusion of the summer program and will advance to the Hult Prize Global Finals in September 2020.
  15. A housing subsidy may be provided for time spent at the Hult Prize Accelerator. Teams will live on-site.
  16. This competition is being run by the Hult Prize Foundation, an independently operated and governed organization sponsored by Hult International Business School and in partnership with the United Nations and it’s partners.

Please read our Privacy Policy located on the Hult Prize website (www.hultprize.org) which tells you how we use any personal information, we may collect about you by entering a competition.

Hult Prize reserves the right to amend these rules at any time and if it does so, will post an update on it’s website and notify all participants. Hult Prize may also create rules, which will apply to a specific competition only. If we do this we will publish the amended competition rules and/or specific competition rules on the relevant competition page.