What is the Hult Prize?
It is an organization dedicated to changing the world; an undertaking for the social entrepreneurs of the globe for the chance to make a difference with their ideas; a prize to help “sustainable start-ups” move onward and upward. Every year, there is a different problem for these entrepreneurial problem solvers to address a different aspect of sustainability.
There are three steps to the Prize: the local and regional levels, the Hult Accelerator, and the global finals. This year’s challenge for ventures: “Crowded Urban Spaces.”
This year, NC State and the Entrepreneurship Initiative will be represented at the regional competition!
Selected as one of 60 teams to go to Boston (one of five locations for judging this round), Mostafa Namian and Ali Ajami have been chosen from an applicant pool of 25,000 plus for their idea.
Their concept, ¢ense, is based on the idea that small businesses need a helping hand to bring in the average consumer. Advertising can be expensive and difficult to find and as a result, local businesses often do not have the same means to reach out to local populations as larger companies. ¢ense utilizes a revolutionary new form of advertisement, tailored specifically for small businesses, to help these businesses grow sustainably.
¢ense addresses the concept of “Crowded Urban Spaces” by making the most of these areas and their populations to allow community growth. Small businesses are proven to drive local growth, and through helping these small businesses, ¢ense connects consumers in crowded areas to local small businesses.
According to co-founder Mostafa Namian, “By giving these businesses a means to advertise, ¢ense will promote growth in businesses located in crowded urban areas without busting the bank. ¢ense accomplishes this by crediting small businesses instead of charging them for their advertising.”
If ¢ense wins the Hult Prize, they will strive to spread awareness for the Hult Prize and support future teams. As Namian says,
“A win for ¢ense is a win for NC State.”
The Entrepreneurship Initiative and Social Entrepreneurship Initiative connected Namian and Ajami to experts who could help them to advance their idea to its current phase; both wish to thank these units as well as the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service for encouraging and supporting them, especially David Cardarelli of the EI and Elizabeth Benefield of the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative.
So bring your ideas to the EI and look in on our team for advice on your entrepreneurial venture – you never know the places your startup could go!
About the Author
Writer, world traveler, and art lover: Heather Keleher is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina and student at NC State. Author of the novel, “Waiting for Sunrise,” Heather conveys her passion for entrepreneurship in her writing. Visit her at heatherkeleher.com, check her out on the Huffington Post, and follow her on twitter @HeatherKeleher.