about hult prize ivy

In 2018, the Hult Prize Ivy Initiative was developed to bring together teams from all the esteemed Ivy League universities to tackle the world’s most pressing issues.

While the Ivy League has timelessly renowned for prestige, the exceptional participation of past Ivy League teams like Sweet Bites from UPenn and Dignify from Harvard further consolidated the conference’s excellence and its ability to produce some of the finest social entrepreneurs and global leaders who can change the world and create disruptive impact.

With the Hult Prize Ivy Initiative, we will see the best minds of the world redefining the future for the millions of underprivileged people around the world.

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how will you change the world with us$1 million?


The Hult Prize has brought together some of the brightest young innovators to address the obstacles that prevent prosperity and opportunity from thriving worldwide."

- President Bill Clinton

download the president's challenge

Apply for the 2018 challenge!

Message from the Hult Prize Ivy Director

While Hult Prize opens the door to amazing opportunities to students interested in social entrepreneurship, it also blesses us with the opportunity to do good and give back to society. It is a call to bring together the brightest, most innovative minds of the world to not only create change, but to create something infinitely greater than ourselves. With just one idea, you can profoundly change the lives of millions of people around the world and set the standard for the world in the 21st century.

How can I compete?

1Download the President's challenge.

2Form a team of 3-4 students.

3Register for Hult Prize Ivy through the above link

4Winning team will pitch their idea at one of the five Hult Prize Regional Finals

5Winners pitch their ideas for USD1 million at the 2018 Hult Prize Finals

Hult Prize @ Your University

Meet Our Amazing Judges

Dr. A. Emin Aktan

Dr. Aktan received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1973 in earthquake-structural engineering, advised by Dr. M.A. Sozen. After serving 6 years as assistant professor at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey, he joined the University of California at Berkeley as a research engineer. During 1979-1984 he was mentored by Drs. V. Bertero, E. Popov and R. Clough as he managed the US-Japan Cooperative Research Program on RC Buildings. Subsequently he held academic positions at LSU and University of Cincinnati until joining Drexel University in 1997. Currently he is John Roebling Professor of Infrastructure Studies at Drexel University. Dr. Aktan’s research since 1984, mentored by late Prof. J. Yao, focused on structural identification and health monitoring of operating prototype buildings and bridges. He has strived to integrate analysis, field experiments on actual constructed systems and a structures laboratory, with heuristic knowledge, and participated in the structural identification of FEM Models of dozens of operating and decommissioned constructed systems including major long-span suspension bridges. Dr. Aktan served as the founding chair of the ASCE SEI Technical Committees on “Performance Based Structural Engineering” and “Structural Identification of Constructed Systems”. His passion is reforming civil engineering education by leveraging operating multi-domain infrastructure systems as field laboratories for research and education. Dr. Aktan has been funded by NSF, FHWA, EPA, NIST and by various state and local governments since 1984, supported and graduated more than a dozen PhD’s, published several dozen journal articles, and consulted for prestigious corporations and university programs. He has been especially honored when junior colleagues he has mentored became accomplished full professors.

Mark Capriotti

Mark Capriotti is the Co-Founder of ReAnimator Coffee Roasters, a coffee roaster/retailer that wholesales coffee to cafes and specialty grocers locally, as well as around the country, and has three retail locations in Philadelphia.

Mark got his engineering degree from Drexel University and spent 10 years working as an engineer before venturing out on his own to start ReAnimator. After starting the operation in the basement of his house in Fishtown, ReAnimator opened its first retail location in 2013 right in the heart of Fishtown. Five years later, ReAnimator also operates locations in Kensington and West Philadelphia, as well as co-owning Res Ipsa Cafe, which was on Bon Appétite Magazine’s list of America’s Best New Restaurants for 2017.

Mark is into all things food and beverage and loves to experience both while traveling. Feel free to contact him at markcapriotti@reanimatorcoffee.com.

Mark A. Castellano

Mark Castellano is founder and President of Soliton Energy, a commercial/industrial solar developer based in New Jersey. Mr. Castellano’s clients include real estate companies, industrial companies, retail spaces, warehouses and distribution centers, data centers, public/private school districts/universities, and municipalities. He oversees business development in North America.

Most recently at his previous startup, RenewTricity, Mr. Castellano co-developed and sold a 10 MW DC grid-connected solar farm in New Jersey. He secured funding for project development and purchase. Mr. Castellano has extensive experience in the renewable energy, semiconductor, financial services, and telecommunications sectors. His past employers include distinguished companies such as Texas Instruments, Merrill Lynch, and AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Mr. Castellano volunteers in several Princeton alumni activities, and is currently President of the Princeton Club of Northwestern New Jersey. Mr. Castellano holds a B.S., Electrical Engineering from Manhattan College and a M.S., Electrical Engineering from Princeton University.

Cecily Kovatch

Cecily Kovatch is the founder of Fueled for Growth, a consulting firm focused on innovation in the energy and industrials sector. Ms. Kovatch’s unique career spans many aspects of the energy industry, from oil & gas to utilities and renewable energy. She thrives at solving complex problems to find new, sustainable ways for companies to grow. Previously, she created, launched and led the innovation program for a renewable energy company. Prior to that she was Head of Energy & Industrials research at an independent research firm helping buy-side clients better understand and value the sector. She began her career working on oil rigs as a field engineer for Schlumberger and is recipient of a Wildcatter Award for discovering oil & gas in Brazoria County, TX. Ms. Kovatch is also an Adjunct Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology where she teaches Entrepreneurial Thinking and an Entrepreneur-in- Residence at Stevens Venture Center advising cleantech startups. She holds a bachelors degree in Geology and Environmental Studies from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Garrett Melby

Garrett Melby is co-founder and Managing Director of GoodCompany Ventures, a nonprofit accelerator for social entrepreneurs that has mobilized over $75mm in private capital to scale their impact. An innovator in social finance, Garrett designed GoodCompany’s Social Impact Projection model, now adopted by impact investor groups and accelerators, and holds a patent for Mission Aligned Portfolio Strips, a tax strategy for patient capital.

Garrett is an active angel investor with Investors’ Circle, where he was a founding member of IC’s first regional chapter. He has also served on the Investment Committee for the Wharton Impact Investing Partners and as an evaluator of social innovations for Echoing Green, the MIT Climate CoLab, NetImpact and the Environmental Media Association. Garrett is also a Director of Generocity.org, the platform for social innovation in greater Philadelphia.

Previously, Garrett was a VC with Safeguard Scientifics, Inc., a $12 billion NYSE listed technology investor. He began his impact investment career as an emerging market finance attorney in the New York, London and Washington offices of Skadden Arps.

Garrett holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Boston University.

Anna Mikulska

Anna Mikulska, is a nonresident fellow in energy studies at the Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies and senior fellow at UPenn’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, where she teaches graduate-level seminars on energy policy and geopolitics of energy. Her research focuses on the geopolitics of natural gas within the EU, former Soviet Bloc and Russia including potential use of natural gas as a geo-economic tool to bolster European energy security. Mikulska is also a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and serves on the editorial board of the law review at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. Mikulska speaks Polish, English, German, Farsi and Russian. She holds a law degree from Adam Mickiewicz University, an MA in international relations from the University of Windsor, Canada, and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Houston.

Angela Pachon

Angela Pachon is the Research Director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at Penn. At the Center, she oversees the research agenda and the grants and visitors programs. Her research focuses on energy policy in Canada, Pennsylvania and Latin America. Prior to joining the Kleinman Center, she was a policy advisor to the Ontario Energy Board where she participated in the development of regulatory initiatives for gas and electricity utilities. She also worked in the UK as an analyst and consultant in the energy practice of NERA Economic Consulting where she led projects in Africa and the Middle East. She also advised clients about the implementation of EU directives for electricity and gas in various European countries. Angela received her Master of Science in Local Economic Development from the London School of Economics and a B.S. degree in Economics from Universidad Javeriana at Bogota, Colombia.

Rina Patel

Rina Patel is a trained facilitator, writer, and consultant. Prior to moving back to the United States this past year, Rina spent six years running Aahana, a non-profit organization for disabled children and women in India. Her non-profit led her to India for two years where she lived and worked with adolescent girls in slums while also exploring the world on a deeper level. Experiences like backpacking through Southeast Asia, walking 1,000 kilometers across Spain, and motorbiking through Vietnam led her to communities and people that taught the power of inner transformation as a vehicle for systematic, societal change. Personally and professionally, she is now on a mission to inspire others to live the life they feel called to live. You can read more at www.rinagpatel.com.

Jason Sherman

Jason Sherman is a serial entrepreneur, award winning filmmaker, published author, journalist and tech startup expert. He has been featured by several media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Verge, and ABC News. He is fluent in Spanish, is a classically trained violinist, and is a regular speaker on FOX's Futurist TV Show: Xploration Earth 2050.

Jason runs a technology consulting company and film studio from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He gives guest lectures at Drexel University, Temple University, and University of Pennsylvania, as well as several hackathons and tech meetups. His methodologies on entrepreneurship and data driven decisions are his main source of education to those he helps all around the world. His startup book Strap on your Boots is the culmination of his life's work to help other entrepreneurs succeed and is the focus of a class he created and teaches at the Wharton School of Business.

Geoff Weber

Geoff Weber is the Managing Member of Weber Law, LLC, a boutique business law firm that focuses on the needs of rapidly growing companies. He is an entrepreneur and a lawyer, often working as an outside general counsel for other entrepreneurs as they grow their businesses. Before launching Weber Law in 2009, Geoff worked for some of the Philadelphia area’s larger law firms, concentrating his practice on mergers and acquisitions, capital raises (including venture capital transactions) and general corporate representation. He is an active participant in Philadelphia’s startup community and a frequently invited speaker on topics related to business law and entrepreneurship. He also serves as the President of the Delran Education Foundation, which raises money to support innovative educational programs.

Apply for the 2018 challenge!

The Hult Prize is the benchmark competition for social entrepreneurship.


Slum Dwellers Targeted

2015 Hult Prize stretch target for individuals impacted by winning idea.


Million Man-Hours

Estimated for 2015. Total applications multiplied by average hours spent per team per challenge via poll of past participants.


Social Business Ideas Generated

Sum of all regional finalists teams through 2015 competition.


Annual Applications

Total number of applications in all rounds of 2015 Hult Prize.



Participating in the regional finals in 2015.


Schools Represented

In total since the inaugural year (2009).

Time Magazine, October 2012

"One of the top 5 ideas changing the world."

- President Bill Clinton

Organizing Committee

Tiffany Yau

Hult Prize Ivy Director

Larisa Morales

On-Campus Manager

Dan Truong

Director of Logistics

Yubin Huh

Director of Marketing

Victor Chien

Event Planning Chair

Michelle Lu

Finance/Sponsorship Chair

Sonia Sarda

Communications Chair

Tiffany Wong

Operations Chair

Sponsors, Partners and Supporters

Make a difference by becoming a sponsor!


Wharton Business Radio - Matt Hanna and Tiffany Yau on Dollars and Change

Tiffany Yau, Founder and Director of Hult Prize Ivy, and Matthew Hanna, Vice President of InstaHub, 2018 winner of the Hult Prize Ivy, join hosts Nick Ashburn and Sandi Hunt to discuss the competition on Dollars and Change.

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How This Wharton/Penn Team Rebounded From a Loss to Win a Social Enterprise Competition

Michael Wong, W’19, co-founder and CEO of Hult Prize Ivy winner InstaHub, talks about learning from setbacks and the future of a simple device that saves energy one light switch at a time.

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Penn team wins first Hult Prize Ivy Competition to harness energy for millions across the world

Teams of students from across the Ivy League gathered at Penn this weekend to present their ideas on harnessing the power of energy to help people in countries facing a lack of resources.

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Three Penn teams traveled across the world to compete for the $1 million Hult Prize

After making it to the top 6 percent of applicants, three Penn teams competing for a $1,000,000 entrepreneurship prize traveled to three different countries, but returned to campus last week without advancing to the final round of the Hult Prize.

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Hult Prize Ivy Provides Direct Path for Pitching Student Business Plans With Social Impact

Tiffany Yau seems to have a talent for seeing things as they might be, not as they are. Maybe that comes from years of learning magic tricks with her grandfather. Maybe it comes from years of dedication to issues with great social impact...

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is 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 crowdsourcing platform for social good and one of the planet’s leading forces for good.

Participants compete in local events organized on campuses around the world or apply online to partake in the regional finals which are held in five international cities around the world, including: Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai and on-line.

Winning start-ups from each city move onto the Hult Prize Accelerator for the summer before attending the global finals, which are hosted by former President Bill Clinton. Collectively, more than ten thousand students, representing more than 150 countries around the world participate in the Hult Prize and spend over 2 million man-hours on solving the world's most pressing issues.

Through crowdsourcing, training, mentorship and funding, the Hult Prize seeks to build and launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs.

Are participants supposed to solve a specific problem?

Yes. Each year, a pressing social challenge is selected by President Clinton and becomes the theme for the respective cycle. The "President's Challenge" provides a specific and measurable objective that each participating team is intended to solve through the creation of a sustainable social enterprise.

In March, selected participants are invited to pitch their start-ups that specifically address the challenges identified in the case.  A clearly defined framework is also provided to ensure your idea contains the necessary qualities and mandates to be an innovation breakthrough.

How can college and university students help with a social challenge?

Traditional non-profit organizations struggle to make a telling contribution despite having a potentially powerful solution to a problem. Not because they lack commitment or funding, but because they face execution hurdles that can only be solved by leveraging a wide range of skill-sets and an on-the-ground understanding of the situation.

Overcoming execution hurdles is what colleges and universities teach their students, specifically business schools, since the ability to execute is critical in business. Furthermore, business schools are home to a wide variety of students from different industries and countries that collectively have a very broad knowledge base. Harnessing this resource through crowd-sourcing innovative ideas and solutions is a technique that is poised to create radical breakthroughs in the social space.

How does the Hult Prize work?

The Hult Prize runs regional competitions in five cities around the world as well as an online “wildcard round,” a summer accelerator program, and a final pitch-off at the 2018 Hult Prize Global Finals. Your journey begins with a call to action by President Clinton in late September. Applications for participation in the Hult Prize Ivy event are now open, and teams will compete during the INCmty festival November 18, 2016. The top two teams will advance to one of the five regional finals worldwide, in either Dubai, London, Shanghai, San Francisco, or Boston. Regional winners then move on to a boot-camp style accelerator, where you will further work on the development of your social enterprise. At the conclusion of the accelerator your idea will be "investment ready" in the form of a company. Once complete, you will pitch your final start-up at the Hult Prize Global Finals, where the winner will receive USD1 million in seed capital to scale their enterprise. Interested participants can apply via the Apply Now link on this site.

Who is Hult?

Hult is the family name of Swedish born entrepreneur and billionaire, Bertil Hult, one of Europe’s leading entrepreneurs who founded EF Education First, the largest private education company in the world. Hult International Business School (formerly the Arthur D. Little School of Management) is a global business school with campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. It is named after Bertil Hult. Hult is ranked in the top 20 business schools in the United States and in the top 100 in the world, including number one for international business. Today it has over 3000 students enrolled across its campuses, from over 130 different countries. The Hult family provides the annual USD1 million in seed capital awarded to the winner of the annual Hult Prize.

Why is Hult doing this?

The recent financial crisis has taught us the importance of practicing sound business ethics. The Hult Prize is dedicated to teaching college and university students from around the world that the skills they learn can be applied for-good as well as for-profit. Hult International Business School is a natural host for such an initiative. Not simply because it has a global campus network that can very effectively bring together students from all over the world, but also because many of the 130 countries that Hult students hail from face global challenges in the areas of energy, finance, hunger, disease and education; challenges that require solutions which are broad in scope, yet detailed in implementation.

Who gets the million dollars?

The winning student team and their new start-up. Each year the Hult Prize provides one million dollars in seed capital to the very best start-up for social good. The prize money is seeded into the newly created company, which will be run by the student team who came up with the idea.

How was the Hult Prize created?

The Hult Prize is the brainchild of Ahmad Ashkar, a Hult International Business School alumnus who developed the concept whilst still a student. Ahmad had the idea after seeing Charles Kane, the CEO of One Laptop Per Child, describe some of the challenges his organization faced during a speech in class. Ahmad is currently the CEO of the Hult Prize and continues to bring innovation and thought leadership to the social impact sector.