The Hult International Business Scholl and the Hult Prize commit to expand its innovative $1 million start-up challenge to create an action-based entrepreneurship program and a Master of Entrepreneurship Degree Program. Hult will define challenges and recruit the top entrepreneurs in the Middle East to spend one calendar year creating an enterprise that can sustainably solve pressing challenges. Selected participants will be awarded a full-scholarship to the accelerated incubator style master program, where they will be coached, mentored and taught by world-class entrepreneurs. Upon the conclusion of the program, graduates will have commercialized their disruptive start-up enterprises while achieving a master degree. The Hult Prize aims to stimulate a new era of entrepreneurs who have both the academic qualifications and the real world experience to have long lasting impact on the region.
Hult will take a three-step recruitment process. Students will need to not only be stellar academic candidates, but also express important and critical characteristics such as grit. Hult will create country-specific challenges revolving around four themes. These themes will act as the challenge topics for the Master Program, which applicants will aim to solve in one year. Students will submit their ideas for start-up enterprises that can solve one challenge track presented, for competition. Shortlisted candidates will be tested for grit by participating in challenges. Judges will select two students from each of the 24 countries participating for full scholarships for the masters program and room and board.
The Masters Program will include an action-based, pioneering pedagogy which will lead students from ideation to execution of start-up enterprises and will be based in Dubai with rotation modules in Boston and Silicon Valley. Business continuity and support services will be accessible to students during the Masters program, including legal counsel, marketing assistance, human resources assistance and access to regional affinity networks of like-minded entrepreneurs.
August 2015: Launch program recruitment and issue 24 country based challenges
December 2015: 10,000 applicants into program
January 2016: 50 in-country finalists announced
March 2016: Shortlisted candidates have completed boot camp
April 2016: Finals occur and 48 students are chosen to participate in the master degree program
August 2016: 48 finalists arrive in Dubai to begin participating in this program
September 2017: Finalists complete the master degree program
Entrepreneurship is a key driver for economic growth and job creation, and yet the greatest gap is within countries with weaker educational and legal systems. By 2020, 100 million youth will enter the labor force in the Middle East and North Africa. In order to maintain levels of employment, 80 million jobs need to be created to reach full employment, and 35-40 million jobs need to be created regardless in order to meet the current levels of persistently high unemployment. A critical gap that exists within the Middle East and Africa is the contribution of small-medium enterprises (SME) to employment levels. In OECD countries, SME firms contribute over half of total employment, but in some countries in the Middle East & Africa such as Saudi Arabia, SME employment contribution is only 25% of total employment. Encouraging entrepreneurship within the region is not enough. New institutional driven initiatives that are dedicated to the creation of SMEs through a consistent and methodical pedagogy have positive impacts on employment, security and economic gain, and would help create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that will create lasting job opportunities for its youth.