By Molly Huang (黃宥璇)
The IMPCT team from International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) program in the National Chengchi University (NCCU) won the prestigious Hult Prize for their creation of a platform that facilitates the childhood education in the urban slums in El Salvador.
The team was also granted US$1 million as a reward.
The team has four members, including Andres Escobar from El Salvador, Taylor Scobbie from Canada, Juan Diego Prudot from Honduras and Chen An-nung (陳安穠) from Taiwan. Its project aims primarily to improve the early childhood education in slums through funds from individual investors.
The Hult Prize is a partnership of the Hult International Business School and the Clinton Global Initiative founded by Ahmad Ashkar, a Hult Business School alumnus. Since its establishment in 2009, the prize has become the largest student entrepreneurship competition in the world and has drawn participation of more than 35,000 students from over 600 schools around the world.
The largest business plan competition on social entrepreneurship ended Sept. 26, in which more than 20,000 teams competed for a almost year.
The Hult Prize this year focused on the issue of “Early Childhood Education.” Experts in various backgrounds selected the best idea, and the top prize was announced by former US President Bill Clinton.
Commenting the IMPCT team’s project, Clinton said that the idea of a platform established by the team allowed investors from around the world to not only make a difference to the world but also to earn profits. This positive investment cycle was what helped IMPCT stand out, he said.
Before entering the final, the team had contended with teams from other prestigious colleges, including Oxford University and the University of Toronto.
Escobar said that the prize money would be used to improve education in El Salvador, his beloved homeland.
According to Prudot, the team had devoted time and effort to developing the model that would help the youth not only in El Salvador but also in other countries where quality education is unavailable.
Chen said that their idea had been proved viable, as the team had already launched an education center in the outskirts of Antiguo Cuscatlan, the capital of El Salvador. She said that the team plans to start another institution in Nicaragua in the near future, and they hope that one day that the model would serve the ones in need in Taiwan.
Chen also said that the detailed information on the area at issue would be provided on the platform to investors, who will receive returns for funding the institution.
The model thereby creates a win-win situation in which shareholders benefit while the company reaches its goal of serving the society, she said.
NCCU President Edward Chow (周行一) offered financial assistance as they carry out the project.last year and congratulated the team. Chow further encouraged fellow students of NCCU to pursue their dreams and to commit themselves to actions for the welfare of the public.
Samuel Chen (陳春龍), vice dean of the College of Commerce and chair of IMBA program, said that he was gratified over the results as the team had encountered numerous setbacks and difficulties throughout the competition.
He also said that the fact that the team won the Hult Prize this year has made not only the four members but also NCCU proud.
※ Watch the 2015 Hult Prize (full)
※ The 2015 Hult Prize Awarding (6 mins)