Hult Prize transforms how young people envision their own possibilities — Eniolorunda Olawale

In the spirit of showcasing life-changing and mind-tiling student organizations on campus, this correspondent had an exclusive interview with the Campus Director of Hult Prize in Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) Ondo State. The Campus Director succinctly explained what Hult Prize is all about and the benefits attached to it.

Kindly introduce yourself and tell us what you do

I am Eniolorunda Olawale, Hult Prize Campus Director for AAUA

Briefly tell us about Hult Prize

The Hult Prize is an entrepreneurial learning platform in partnership with the United Nations and Bill Clinton Foundation. What we do basically in the Hult Prize is transforming how young people (undergraduates) envision their own possibilities as leaders of change in the world around them.

When did Hult Prize start in Nigeria and AAUA respectively?

The Hult Prize was founded in the year 2009 by Ahmad Ashkar and since then it has been called the “Nobel Prize for Students” globally.
Subsequently it started expansion and the Hult Prize is currently active in 121 countries. This is the third innovative year of the Hult Prize in AAUA.

Tell us about the third innovating year of Hult Prize in AAUA

We are working impact from the national team down to the university level to make this Hult Prize year (Food for Good) the best yet.
To create sustainable businesses that would impact the society in the food industry through creative minds from Adekunle Ajasin University is our main goal this year, and we are getting there.

Do we have Hult Prize in other institutions in Ondo state?

Yes, in all tertiary institutions in Ondo state except Achievers University because we could not get a representative from there.

What is the vision and mission of the Hult Prize?

Our mission is to transform how young people envision possibilities as leaders of change in the world around them.
Our vision is leading a Generation to change the world.
The Hult Prize is aligned to benefit the life of AAUA student populace in that the Hult Prize will no doubt help to foster the entrepreneurial sphere of Adekunle Ajasin University. It is an opportunity to help students prepare for the job market from a job creation point of view as opposed to the employee mentality that has been blamed for generating unemployed youths. It is also aimed at youth ideas which must be nurtured early to breed an active base of thinkers who see opportunity in every challenge.

Considering the population of students in AAUA, how does the organization plan to ensure that all AAUA students benefit?

Since I came into the Hult Prize sphere in the month of August, the Assistant Campus Director in person of Fowowe Adetomiwa and the Organising Committee laid hands on quite a number of programs to achieve the end result which is sustainable impact and I will make mention of a few.
We have been able to get in partnership with two media houses (Futa Radio and Positive FM Akure) further create awareness of the Hult Prize.
For the participating teams, we have 15 registered teams ready to compete with their innovative ideas on how to change the world at the On-campus program in December.

How is the relationship with AAUA management to ensure the organization is better rooted in AAUA?

It is a work in progress, we spoke with the Dean of Student Affairs.
Hopefully, upon resumption we would have a better discussion regarding that.

Has Hult Prize come to AAUA to stay like Enactus and JCI and other clubs?

Yes! We are currently in partnership with the aforementioned organisations to further foster impact Adekunle Ajasin University.

Is the organization solely for competitions?

Not really, the competition is to select the very best of innovative ideas, but the main focus is the impact irrespective of the team that makes it to the regionals and subsequently to the finals.
The Hult Prize program is in suites:

On-campus event: This is at the University level. The winning team here advance automatically to the Regionals
Regionals: The Regionals will take place between March and April 2020 at Abuja where all winning teams from 109 participating institutions in Nigeria would have a ‘clash of ideas’ and a national team selected to represent the country at the global level.
Accelerator: The accelerator is a 6-weeks incubation program at the Ashridge Castle (Hult castle) in London.
Awards and gala: Six best performing teams at the accelerator would be privileged to pitch their sustainable solutions at the United Nations Headquarters and a global winning team selected and awarded a US$1M by ex-president Bill Clinton

What are the achievements so far?

Over the years, the Hult Prize has been a leading platform in terms of social business.
Sustainable development has been achieved annually depending on the area of social focus each year.

What are the challenges faced so far?

There have been quite a number of challenges from the virtual aspect, low student participation in the Hult Prize 2020/2021 challenge and a couple of others.

How did the compulsory COVID-19 break affect Hult prize?

It hasn’t been easy as a matter of fact, but we had to make do with the virtual setting and all. The On-campus program will also be a virtual program whereby the participating teams would make & submit a five minutes video pitch of the ideas/prototype.

The On-campus program in AAUA is scheduled for the 10 December 2020

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