• Two UT Entrepreneurship Teams Advance In Hult Prize Competition

    One team takes first place, moves to finals, other team has opportunity to win wild card; UT only U.S. team in finals; Both have chance to win $1 million in startup capital

    TAMPA — In November, University of Tampa entrepreneurship students were faced with solving a challenge presented by former President Bill Clinton. How can student entrepreneurs improve early childhood education in the urban slums of the world?

    Two UT student teams have advanced in the competition, beating teams from schools including Harvard, Princeton and Yale, and still have a chance to win $1 million in startup capital.

    Athollo, a team of five UT students who propose the maximization of human potential through the unique use of mobile phones in a growing market, received first place in the San Francisco finals among 51 other university teams and has already brought a Clinton Global Initiative approved curriculum to over 14 countries worldwide.

    These students — Phil Michaels ’10 MBA ’15, Brittany Brescia ’15, Ravi Goldberg ’16, Sercan Topcu M.S. ’14 and Ulixes Hawili ’16 — will now continue to prepare for the Hult Prize Accelerator, which is an incubator for six social enterprises participating in the final round. This accelerator, located at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be home for six weeks as these students work alongside companies such as IDEO, a worldwide global innovation, design and consulting company.

    In September, Athollo will present to Clinton and the Hult Prize judges for a chance to win the funding. UT is the only U.S. team in the final six, which includes teams from Oxford University, The University of Toronto, ESADE Business & Law School (Spain) and Shanghai University (China). 

    The other team, BamBoost, competed against 49 other universities in Boston and placed second overall among the six finalists. The team, which is comprised of members Bijen Patel ’16, Caio Amaral ’16, Trent Lott ’15 and Vignesh Parameswaran MBA ’15, will launch an Indiegogo campaign. The team raising the most in its campaign will join the regional finalists as a wild card in competing for the $1 million prize. If BamBoost is successful, UT would have an unprecedented two teams in the final competition.

    BamBoost proposes fabricating and selling bamboo fiber cloth diaper liners and toilet bags to families in urban slums. The liners help improve the sanitary conditions in the slums, which improves overall health, including infant mortality.

    UT was one of approximately 75 colleges and universities chosen to host a local edition of the Hult Prize in November, allowing the winning team (BamBoost) to bypass the application round and go straight to regional competition. This competition was sponsored by Hill Ward Henderson, which will also sponsor a homecoming event in April for the two teams.                    

    For more information, contact James Zebrowski at jzebrowski@ut.edu or (813) 257-3039.

    The Hult Prize Foundation is a startup accelerator for social entrepreneurship, which brings together the brightest college and university students from around the globe to solve the world’s most pressing issues. Visit www.hultprize.org.                                                                 

    Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

    Hill Ward Henderson, a full-service law firm with multi-disciplinary practices headquartered in downtown Tampa, started with a vision of a unique law firm — one that would combine the expansive talent, resources, capabilities and technologies of a larger firm with the responsiveness and personal attention of a smaller firm, to deliver powerful, personal service to every client. Visit www.hwhlaw.com.

    The University of Tampa is a private, residential university located on 105 acres on the riverfront in downtown Tampa. Known for academic excellence, personal attention and real-world experience in its undergraduate and graduate programs, the University serves 7,752 students from 50 states and 137 countries. About two-thirds of full-time students live on campus, and about half of UT students are from Florida.