Three teams of student entrepreneurs from Boise State University will compete in the regional finals for the $1 million Hult Prize in March.
The prize for the annual competition will be seed money for a startup aiming restore pride, dignity and self worth to those impacted by social injustice, war or economic depression around the globe. All three teams pitched projects aiming to better living or economic conditions for refugees.
The Boise teams were among the 50,000 that applied for the contest and will compete in Dubai, London and Shanghai.
Team Cultivate members Luke Yeates, Brandon Sams, Janice Witherspoon and Steve Silva developed a portable, one-time toilet for use in refugee camps. The toilet would promote safety and privacy for users as well as reduce build-up from sewage that pollutes water. The team will compete in Dubai.
Project Recover members Austin Legg, Alexandria Allen, Cody Huckvale and Becky Davis also seek to improve life for refugees. Their project would provide materials to refugees to build, craft or develop products that represent their culture. Those items could then be sold on websites similar to Etsy.com, enabling refugees to earn incomes to provide food, water, shelter and security. The team will compete in Shainghai.
The members of Team Dream, Ashleigh Anderson, Jessica Bottelberghe, Ethan Lopez and Steven Gabrielsen, is building an online platform called “A Story to Be Told.” Comprised of a website and social media pages, the platform would tell their stories in a similar style to those posted on the Humans of New York website. The team would publish books filled with refugee stories and use a portion of the sales to support nonprofits working to improve conditions at refugee camps. The team will compete in London.