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Hult Prize competition preparations gather steam across Kingdom

By Johanna Montanari - Nov 04,2019 - Last updated at Nov 04,2019

At Al Zaytoonah University, a private university located in Amman, more than 250 people from different faculties registered to participate in the annual Hult Prize this year (Photo courtesy of Hult Prize Al Zaytoonah University)

AMMAN — Across Jordan, the registration for university student teams to take part in the annual Hult Prize, a $1 million global start-up prize, closed at the end of October.

At Al Zaytoonah University, a private university located in Amman, more than 250 people from different faculties registered to participate. 

“The Hult Prize is a worldwide platform for social entrepreneurship which focuses on university students to collect the best ideas from youth all over the world to create an impact and change the world through business,” Rami Al Samhouri, an Al Zaytoonah University student who is the associate campus director for the Hult Prize at the university, told The Jordan Times on Sunday. 

All over the Kingdom, teams consisting of three or four students are preparing for the regional competition, which is set to take place at the beginning of next year in Jordan and will give the winning team the chance to compete in the Hult Prize global finals in September 2020.

The prize is made possible by a partnership between Hult International Business School and the United Nations Foundation. Former US president Bill Clinton selects a challenge topic and announces the winner each September.

For this round, the Hult Prize challenges global teams “to build bold businesses that have a positive impact on the environment with every sale completed, dollar earned and decision made, reaching no fewer than a million consumers within a decade”, according to the prize website.

“At the Hult Prize we believe that the Earth doesn’t just need better advocates, it needs more powerful allies,” the website reads, adding that it also believes in “positive capitalism”.

This will be the third year that Jordan participates in the Hult Prize, after the Crown Prince Foundation (CPF) introduced what the UN calls “the world’s largest student competition” to Jordan.

"Bringing the Hult Prize to Al Zaytoonah University of Jordan is a great honour for me. It will allow me to be the change-maker I have always dreamed of becoming," said Lana Ghneim, Hult Prize campus director at Al Zaytoonah University.

"It's such a privilege to see my classmates becoming leaders who are changing the world for the better, from the organising committee to the participants", said Al Samhouri.

"I used to imagine that change comes from old people in high-level positions, but when we joined the organising committee, I figured out that change comes from us young people," said Rozana Twaissi, the marketing lead for the Hult Prize at Al Zaytoonah University.

Palestinian-American businessman Ahmad Ashkar founded the prize 10 years ago. In 2019, he was named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Arabs by Gulf Business, and Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018 by GQ.

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