Two ESSEC Teams Advance to Regional Finals of Fifth Annual Hult Prize

Top-tier schools go head-to-head in world’s largest student competition, competing for $1 million in start-up funding to solve President Clinton’s Healthcare Challenge

L-R: Samia Badji, Charles Haines
Rene Forjanic, Arnaud Fouquet
Sherry Wei Jiaying

Paris, France (13 January 2014) — The Hult Prize Foundation recently announced that two teams from ESSEC Business School have advanced to the regional finals of the Fifth annual Hult Prize. The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social good. In partnership with President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, the innovative crowdsourcing platform identifies and launches disruptive and catalytic social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. Student teams compete in six cities around the world for a chance to secure US$ 1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture.

The team members are from the Global MBA and ESSEC’s PhD program. The first team includes Rene Forjanic (Slovenia), Charles Haines (UK), and Arnaud Fouquet (France) from the Global MBA, and Samia Badji (France) and Sherry Wei Jiaying (China) from the PhD program. The second team includes Ingrid Cazalis (France), Naoki Kitabayashi (USA), Claudia Pumarejo (Mexico), and Richard Huynh (France) from the Global MBA.

L-R: Richard Huynh, Naoki Kitabayashi
Ingrid Cazalis, Claudia Pumarejo
Rene Forjanic says, "Our teams are honored to be chosen to advance to the regional finals of the 2014 Hult Prize. In our hectic lives, we often forget how privileged we are. As MBA graduates, we strongly feel it is our duty to apply our studies and experience to give back to society for the opportunity we have had to thrive. As we move forward, we are motivated to excel by the knowledge that our projects are two among many entrepreneurial ideas to improve the healthcare and lives of the urban poor."

The 2014 Hult Prize will focus on the 250 million slum dwellers around the world suffering from chronic diseases who need help – a challenge personally selected by President Bill Clinton. Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of the Hult Prize, attributes the success of the competition to the shift in the global economy and the millennial generation’s refusal to live in a world with inequality, “We are giving entrepreneurs from around the world a platform to innovate and revolutionize the way we think about servicing the poor.”

Each team selected was chosen from more than 10,000 applications received from over 350 colleges and universities in over 150 countries. The Hult Prize regional competitions will take place on March 7 and 8, 2014 in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai and Sao Paulo. ESSEC’s teams will compete in Dubai and Shanghai.

Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business. A final round of competition will be hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September, where CGI delegates will select a winning team, which will be awarded the US$ 1,000,000 Prize by President Bill Clinton himself. The President has said, “The Hult Prize is a wonderful example of the creative cooperation needed to build a world with shared opportunity, shared responsibility, and shared prosperity, and each year I look forward to seeing the many outstanding ideas the competition produces.”

About the Hult Prize
The Hult Prize is a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurship, which brings together the brightest college and university students from around the globe to solve the world’s most pressing issues. The annual initiative is the world’s largest student competition and crowd-sourcing platform for social good. The Hult Prize has been funded by the Hult family since its inception in 2009. To learn more, visit

About The Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, CGI members have made more than 2,500 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $87.9 billion.

About ESSEC Business School
ESSEC Business School is one of France’s top business schools and a European leader in management education. Since 1907, ESSEC has developed a unique learning model based on its core values of innovation, open-mindedness, responsibility and excellence. ESSEC offers a comprehensive range of programs, including undergraduate, graduate and executive education. Today the ESSEC community represents over 90 nationalities, 4,400 students, 5,000 managers in executive education, and 130 permanent faculty members, located on three campuses in Cergy-Pontoise, Paris La Défense and Singapore. Its network of 44,000 active alumni extends across 55 countries. ESSEC’s tailor-made approach to business education serves its mission of training ambitious and responsible leaders for tomorrow’s world.

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