Melbourne Business School News Melbourne Business School hosts regional summit for the 2019 Hult Prize

Melbourne Business School hosts regional summit for the 2019 Hult Prize

More than one hundred students from around the world will compete to pitch the best socially-progressive business idea at Melbourne Business School this weekend.

Melbourne Business School MBA Program Director Jane Sherlock

The challenge is part of the Australian regional summit for the Hult Prize, which the School is hosting for the second year in a row on April 12 and 13.

Founded in 2010, the Hult Prize is open to university students in any discipline and offers a reward of $US1 million for the best idea to solve a pressing social challenge.

"The Hult Prize brings together some of the world's brightest minds to solve the greatest problems of our time," says MBA Program Director Jane Sherlock.

"It's an opportunity for students to practice their entrepreneurial skills, their innovation skills and – at the heart of it – explore the social impact of business."

Twenty-eight teams will be competing in the Australian summit from more than 30 universities, including African Nazarene University in Kenya, Hult International Business School in London, the Tokyo Institute of Technology and two from Melbourne Business School.

"For the first time, one of our teams is made up entirely of Master of Business Analytics students, and the other team is Part-time MBA students. One of the part-time team's members competed last year, so they might have a better idea of what to expect," Jane says.

The teams will each design a business venture that can provide work for 10,000 young people at a minimum of 10 hours paid employment per week, which can create a positive community impact over the next decade.

"Competing for the Hult Prize gives students an opportunity to engage in a cross-disciplinary challenge that's explicitly aligned to the UN's Social Development Goals," Jane says.

"For this year, those goals are around decent work, economic growth, affordable clean energy, and innovation, industry and infrastructure.

"It's a really exciting experience for our students, because they get to experiment in a non-graded exercise and get their hands dirty in a way that they might not otherwise get to try."

Jane liaises with the Hult Prize's Australian regional director, Jigna Desai, to ensure the event runs smoothly, while also giving our students the support they need. Student teams will receive training from Ms Desai on how to pitch their idea to an industry judging panel.

Jan Owen, CEO of The Foundation for Young Australians, will open the summit with an address on youth unemployment, while Professor Glenn Hoetker will speak on the role of entrepreneurship in affecting social impact.

Australian regional summit winners will go on to compete in the accelerator round at Hult Castle in London for six weeks, and, if they make it, head to New York to compete for the million-dollar prize.

"My advice to teams is to take everything that you know, everything that you've learned, everything that you think you understand and then ask questions," Jane says.

"Be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking and trust your instincts. There's a real freedom in it."

Visit the Hult Prize website to learn more, or download the 2019 Hult Prize Melbourne Regional Summit schedule.