Students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have a plan to create 10,000 youth jobs for the next decade. The students are competitors in the Hult Prize Challenge, which originated 10 years ago at the Hult International Business School in Massachusetts. The United Nations partnership inspires college students to get involved in social entrepreneurship.
Samuel Nelson, director for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center for Entrepreneurship, said 35 teams will present their ideas to a group of judges throughout the day on Nov. 16 in Howard L. Hawks Hall. After judgment the final four teams will present again to the judges and all other teams, and the winning team will advance to the regional competition in California.
Nelson said he’s excited to see work from students at other colleges.
Gloria Mwiseneza, a Rwandan international student, entered UNL into the Hult Prize Challenge. Nelson said Mwiseneza’s submission is the first time a student applied for the university and led the organization of the event.
The integrated science junior heard about the competition through a friend and said she thought it would be a great thing to bring to UNL. After writing an essay for the application, she received an email for an interview to be a Hult campus director, and the organization announced her as a winner a week after her interview.
“It is a great learning experience for me, as I got to work with a team of diverse people,” she said.
Mwiseneza said working with different-minded people was a challenge at first, but it was very enjoyable after getting to know each other. She is an entrepreneurship minor and said this competition only excites her.
“I do consider [an entrepreneurship career] and fall in love with it as days go by,” Mwiseneza said.
Mwiseneza said she is most excited to learn how unemployment can be solved in different parts of the world.
“I felt accomplished, as somebody who is passionate about youth unemployment, having youth on board contributing to solving youth problems,” she said. “...We as youth are the ones to solve our own problems as we understand them better.”
Mwiseneza said youth solving their own generation’s problems makes her optimistic for a better future.
“I can’t think of any better thing to do with my time or life,” she said.
Nelson found judges and a location for the event, while Mwiseneza and senior finance major Tamayo Zhou did the rest of the planning, including event promotion.
Zhou is the president of the International Business Club and said the Hult competition gives students an opportunity to think about their impact on the world.
“It’s something we need on this campus — to encourage students to be more creative and confident about themselves,” he said.
Zhou said many of the business classes require students to participate in the Hult challenge for a grade, so some of the pitches aren’t as thought out as others.
He’s on two teams for different classes, and one of them is looking into improving job searches to attract students for opportunities.
Zhou said college seniors don’t think about how they might affect poverty or other social issues as they move to find a job and get money immediately after college.
“I sometimes will be thinking I don’t have the power to change the world, but if I see some of my peers, that will make me more confident,” Zhou said.