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Global Connections

GSSE MBAs compete to help end world hunger

February 8, 2013

Team CSU goes head-to-head with teams from around the world for $1 million Hult Prize and the chance to launch a sustainable social venture.

Megan Coleman (kneeling) collecting market data on nutrition perceptions, gaps, and realities in Kibera, Kenya, as part of her GSSE MBA fieldwork. A team of Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBAs from the CSU College of Business has advanced to the regional finals of the fourth annual Hult Prize competition. They will be competing against teams from around the world for $1 million in startup funding to launch a sustainable social venture to help end world hunger. 

This year's competition concerns global food security and will focus on how to get safe, sufficient, affordable and easily accessible food to the 200 million people who live in urban slums around the world.

“Our team’s selection to participate in this important competition to solve one of the great challenges of our time is both humbling and validating,” said Carl Hammerdorfer, director of the GSSE MBA program. “These GSSE graduates have proven their mettle in Benin, Haiti, Bolivia, Kenya and other parts of our world where hunger is a daily reality. We expect they’ll do well in their pursuit of this prize. Regardless of the outcome, they are all deeply committed to solving global problems through sustainable enterprise solutions.”   

Team CSU includes captain Rachael Miller, Lindsay Saperstone, Meghan Coleman and Jeannie Whitler. They applied for the Hult competition before they graduated in December and were notified in early January that they would be among the 43 teams presenting their big ideas in San Francisco March 1-2.

“We were selected on the basis of our resumes,” Miller explained. “We didn’t even know exactly what the challenge would be until after we were selected. We haven’t worked together before, but if there is a common theme across our team’s diverse work experiences, it is that we have each seen community empowerment as a key success factor in sustainable solutions. We’re excited to work together to create a for-profit solution that can create local jobs and outlast us all.”

More than 10,000 applications

Teams were chosen from more than 10,000 applications received, totaling over 350 colleges and universities representing over 150 countries. Regional competitions will take place simultaneously on Hult International Business School’s five campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai.

While Team CSU will compete on the West Coast, the only other Colorado team in the competition, from the University of Denver, will be in Boston.

Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into the Hult Accelerator, 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 who will be awarded the million-dollar prize. 

Team CSU has already reached its first fundraising goal of $3,500 to cover travel expenses to the competition as well as some of the research needed to complete their project and hosting meetings to form strategic relationships with prospective partner organizations. 

To see a video about their initiative, go to www.gofundme.com/letssolvehunger.


Contact: Kat Ernst
E-mail: kathryn.teague@colostate.edu
Phone: 491-5612