Two Yale undergraduate teams have advanced to the regional finals for the Hult Prize, a global competition that seeks to address pressing social issues like access to food, water, education and clean energy with a winning prize of $1 million. Each year the organization issues a bold challenge – this year the theme is “harnessing the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people.” Student teams must compete in increasingly competitive pitchoffs across the world before a winner is selected. Last year the prize received some 50,000 applications – just 1,500 student entrepreneurs will advance to one of 15 regional finals in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai, Toronto, Mexico City, Quito, Bogota, Melbourne, Lagos, Nairobi, Cairo, Tunisia, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Regional winners are invited to a Summer Accelerator at a castle in the UK.
One team of Yale undergraduates has focused their efforts on connectivity—making it easier for people in impoverished countries to access WiFi and data services. Essentially, people would use the mobile platform or app to either: share their own access data via a hotspot for a fee; or access available WiFi hotspots for a charge.