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American University Nigeria Advances To Regional Finals Of Fifth Annual Hult Prize

The American University of Nigeria has advanced to the regional finals of the Fifth annual Hult Prize. The winners will receive US$1,000,000. The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition for social good. This year there were more than 4,000 applications from which the AUN team emerged among the best 400 and were offered a place to compete.

“Part of what qualified us, said AUN President Margee Ensign, “is our university’s development mission and commitment to fostering development in our region and the continent, together with the students’ strong, longstanding record of academic excellence and community engagement. We were actually the only Nigerian university to qualify for the competition.”

An instructor in the AUN School of Business & Entrepreneurship, Fardeen Dodo, who is accompanying the participating students to Dubai, said the competition will enrich their college experience. “Besides the competition, students will benefit from several workshops, networking, and entrepreneurial learning events run by a number of professionals and trail-blazing global experts, including Stuart Fleming of Enviroserve, Garett Awad of the Scholl Centre of Entrepreneurship, Ali Edrissi of JP Morgan (UK), and Khaled Gazawi, the CEO of Grameen-Jameel.” Also on the support team are other members of the AUN Community, especially from AUN Clinic, Students’ Affairs, and Sustainability office.

The instructor has been providing mentorship, coaching, and technical and strategic support in all aspects of the team of three. The trio comprises Blessing Douglas (Rivers State), Lucy Okonkwo (Lagos), and Aliyu Ahmed (Adamawa).

On the significance of the competition to AUN, being a Development University, Dodo said it is a “demonstration of how far our students are ready to go, to action up our vision of development and commitment to addressing the longstanding social challenges that confront Nigeria and Africa at large.”

In partnership with President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, the innovative program aims 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 2014 Hult Prize will focus on the 250 million slum dwellers around the world suffering from chronic diseases and who need help – a challenge personally selected by President Bill Clinton. Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of the Hult Prize, explained its purpose: “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 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. The American University of Nigeria will compete in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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 training 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 this year, where CGI delegates will select a winning team, and the prize to be awarded 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.”

The American University of Nigeria, Africa’s first Development University, was established in 2003 by Nigeria’s former Vice President, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar. Offering an American-style curriculum, AUN is Nigeria’s first wireless residential campus.  All students participate in community development projects as they prepare to assume leadership in their chosen careers.

About the Hult Prize

The Hult Prize is a start-up accelerator for budding social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities. Named as one of the top five ideas changing the world by President Bill Clinton and Time magazine, the annual competition for the Hult Prize aims to identify and launch the most compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by billions of people. Winners receive US$1 million in seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice from the international community. To learn more, visit www.hultprize.org.


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