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Three Boise State Teams to Compete for $1 Million Hult Prize

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 1:08 pm / January 19, 2017

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Three teams of Boise State students have been selected to compete in the regional finals for the $1 million Hult Prize March 3-4. More than 50,000 applications were received from over 100 countries.

Boise State teams will compete in Dubai, London and Shanghai. Additional competitions will be held in Boston and San Francisco. The top team at each location will advance to an intensive eight-week summer business incubator in Washington, D.C., after which a jury panel will select one team to be awarded $1 million in seed capital.

The Hult Prize challenges young people around the world to “reimagine how to turn one of our fastest growing challenges into the greatest renaissance of entrepreneurship the world has ever seen.” The competition focuses on the reawakening of human potential by restoring pride, dignity and self-worth to those who have been impacted by social injustices, war and economic depression.

Boise State Teams

Team Cultivate group photo.Team Cultivate (Luke Yeates, Brandon Sams, Janice Witherspoon and Steve Silva) won the Hult Prize competition at Boise State on Nov. 10 to earn a spot at regionals. The group’s project recognizes three disparate problems that exist within refugee camps: camp cleanliness, safety and access to food. Their solution, the P.O.T.T (portable one-time toilet), promotes safety and privacy for individuals using the restroom, removes build-up of sewage that pollutes water, and can even help generate food. The team will compete at the Hult Prize regional finals in Dubai.

Project Recover team photoProject Recover (MBA students Austin Legg, Alexandria Allen, Cody Huckvale and Becky Davis) placed second in the Boise State contest and applied as an at-large bid. This project aims to provide refugees with an income they can use to provide food, water, shelter and security. Refugees will be provided materials to build, craft or develop products that represent their culture (such as a blanket). Project Recover then will purchase the product and list it on an e-commerce site similar to Etsy.com. Finally, proceeds will be used to purchase more supplies, support operating costs and plan future expansion to help more refugees. The team will compete at the Hult Prize regional finals in Shanghai.

Team Dream group photoTeam Dream (MBA students Ashleigh Anderson, Jessica Bottelberghe, Ethan Lopez and Steven Gabrielsen) also competed for an at-large spot at regionals. The team is creating an online platform called “A Story to Be Told,” comprising a website and social media pages. The site is similar to Humans of New York. Refugees (the majority of whom have access to a mobile phone and the internet) will be able to share their stories and a photo online as a way to let their voices be heard. After a few stories are posted, the group will create a book, other merchandise and events. A portion of the proceeds will support nonprofits that are working to better conditions in refugee camps. The team will compete at the Hult Prize regional finals in London.