A proposal to help poor families produce food in crowded urban spaces put a Vanderbilt University trans-institutional team on the road to the regional finals of the Hult Prize, an international case competition that seeks innovative solutions to social issues worldwide.
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing student Kelsey Moore, Owen Graduate School of Management MBA student Liz Anthony and Peabody College of education and human development students Lin Chang and Eileen Remley collaborated on the Hult entry. Their submission was one of more than 25,000 competing for 300 spots in the regionals and a $1 million prize.
“Our team designed a program that provides the resources and support to empower families to produce food in crowded urban spaces. Participants would generate income by leveraging an online marketplace for trade or sale of produce,” said Moore, a first-year family nurse practitioner student at VUSN. “Further impacts would be decreased spending on fresh produce, improved nutrition and a shift in spending habits.”
This year’s Hult Prize challenged millennials to develop sustainable, scalable and fast-growing social enterprises that would double the income of the 10 million people residing in crowded urban spaces. A startup accelerator for young social entrepreneurs, the Hult Prize is backed by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative and Hult International Business School. Judges look for teams that have the potential to create dynamic and disruptive startup companies that can impact social good.
This team was one of two from Vanderbilt competing in Hult regionals. One team was selected during a Hult Prize @ Vanderbilt event, sponsored by Owen and the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures. The VUSN-Owen-Peabody team was a finalist in the on-campus event but not named its winner. The team’s proposal was so strong, however, that the women were encouraged to apply for the regionals directly and were selected to compete in Boston in March.
While neither Vanderbilt team was chosen to advance to the finals, Moore found the experience empowering.
“I’m thrilled that the School of Nursing offers opportunities for students to engage in other interests, like the Hult Prize,” Moore said. She’s continuing her interest in social enterprise and joining the programming board of the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures as a VUSN representative.