Here are the past winners of the Hult Prize, an international competition that aims to address some of the world’s biggest social issues:
2009 — 2010: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
While partnering with One Laptop Per Child, which provides low-cost laptops to improve the educational opportunities of poor children, the team created an app store that would allow parents to use the computers to buy and sell goods and services throughout their villages.
The concept was included in last month’s distribution of the One Laptop Per Child tablets.
2010 — 2011: University of Cambridge, Judge School of Business, Cambridge, UK
There are more cellphones than toilets in the world, according to m.Paani, the company set up by the Cambridge team.
So, m.Paani created a mobile-based loyalty program in which people’s use of specific mobile carriers accumulates rebates that go to improve access to safe water, education, and nutrition. Team leader Akanksha Hazari was named one of India’s top social entrepreneurs by the Times of India.
2011 — 2012: New York University, New York
The team created SolarAid. now the largest solar panel producer in Africa. Nearly 600 million people in Africa live without electricity, and many use kerosene lamps, according to SolarAid. The charity’s aim is to eliminate the use of the fuel-powered lamps on the continent by 2020 and replace them with high-tech solar lamps that would be cheaper over the long-run. They have sold nearly 600,000 solar panels.
SolarAid won the Google Global Impact Challenge this year and was awarded about $750,000.Christina Reinwald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.