At the Clinton Global Initiative, President Bill Clinton announced the launch of the Hult Prize Foundation’s game-changing one year master of entrepreneurship degree program.
The innovative program is a continuation of the annual Hult Prize US$1,000,000 challenge and pioneering approach to tackling the world’s most pressing social issues through crowdsourced innovation.
The Hult Prize was hailed by Clinton and TIME Magazine as one of the top five ideas changing the world, and in its latest round, received more than 20,000 business plans from around the world.
This innovative initiative is targeting the Middle East’s toughest challenges in its inaugural launch: creating jobs for the region’s youth. As unemployment amongst the youth peeks, the MENA region will need to produce 80 million more jobs over the coming decade in order to simply maintain the current levels of unemployment – which are over 15%.
The new program will call on, and enable, entrepreneurs from each of the countries representing the Arab world and invite them to spend one-year in an intense incubation program where the final outputs are lean and disruptive start-ups along with a fully accredited master degree.
The revolutionary program will competitively handpick the top candidates from the region, and will task them with solving one of four key challenge tracks through a robust and engaging action-based curriculum. A world-class network of mentors and industry leaders will guide each student entrepreneur as they progress through the twelve-month journey of ideation to commercialization.
H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai said: “With the directives and support of His Highness Sheik Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, the city of Dubai will provide a dynamic and robust ecosystem to host the program and launch the companies as they establish their core set of products and services. With its current position as the region’s leading business hub, Dubai has offered its support and has warmly welcomed this regional program.”
Ahmad Ashkar, Hult Prize Founder, and creator of this degree stressed that the program is not targeted at the “usual suspect” in that it seeks out those that wouldn’t normally consider graduate school. “We have reimagined what a business degree is supposed to look and feel like, and incorporated the Hult Prize ethos into the strategic imperatives of such a program. We will build real enterprises that solve the regions most critical challenges and empower a whole new class of entrepreneurs who will graduate with a fully commercialized start-up that is poised to change the world along with a master degree in business.”
The program has already confirmed the supporting of leading business mentors such as Fadi Ghandour (Founder of Aramex) who noted, “this will be game-changer for the region, not simply in the number of businesses it will enable, but in the model it offers”.
Dr Yasar Jarrar (Partner, Bain & Company) noted that, “this program seeks high – impact entrepreneurship. We will enable businesses that are commercially successful themselves, but also provide solutions to our region. No one will spare any efforts to see the success of such an initiative”.
Long time advocate of the program President Bill Clinton said, “ The Hult Prize is about more than the ideas or the solutions presented it’s how the world has to work in the 21st-century”