At the Clinton Global Initiative, the former US President Bill Clinton announced yesterday the launch of the Hult Prize Foundation's game-changing one year master of entrepreneurship degree programme.
The innovative programme is a continuation of the annual Hult Prize US$1,000,000 challenge and pioneering approach to tackling the world's most pressing social issues through crowd sourced innovation.
The Hult Prize was hailed by Clinton and TIME Magazine as one of the top five ideas changing the world, and in its latest round, received more than 20,000 business plans from around the world.
This innovative initiative is targeting the Middle East's toughest challenges in its inaugural launch: creating jobs for the region's youth. As unemployment amongst the youth peeks, the MENA region will need to produce 80 million more jobs over the coming decade in order to simply maintain the current levels of unemployment – which are over 15 per cent.
The new programme will call on, and enable, entrepreneurs from each of the countries representing the Arab world and invite them to spend one-year in an intense incubation programme where the final outputs are lean and disruptive start-ups along with a fully accredited master degree.
The revolutionary programme will competitively handpick the top candidates from the region, and will task them with solving one of four key challenge tracks through a robust and engaging action-based curriculum. A world-class network of mentors and industry leaders will guide each student entrepreneur as they progress through the twelve-month journey of ideation to commercialisation.
H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, said, "With the directives and support of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the city of Dubai will provide a dynamic and robust ecosystem to host the programme and launch the companies as they establish their core set of products and services. With its current position as the region's leading business hub, Dubai has offered its support and has warmly welcomed this regional programme.
Ahmad Ashkar, Hult Prize Founder, and creator of this degree, stressed that the programme is not targeted at the "usual suspect" in that it seeks out those that wouldn't normally consider graduate school. "We have reimagined what a business degree is supposed to look and feel like, and incorporated the Hult Prize ethos into the strategic imperatives of such a programme. We will build real enterprises that solve the regions most critical challenges and empower a whole new class of entrepreneurs who will graduate with a fully commercialised start-up that is poised to change the world along with a master degree in business."
The programme has already confirmed the supporting of leading business mentors such as Fadi Ghandour (Founder of Aramex) who noted, "this will be game-changer for the region, not simply in the number of businesses it will enable, but in the model it offers."