Hult Prize Winners Want to Change the Face of Global Tourism

Aspire’s Winning 2013 Hult Prize Presentation at Clinton Global Initiative

Hult Prize Winners Want to Change the Face of Global Tourism

This year’s competition for the prestigious award for social entrepreneurs focused on youth unemployment

WASHINGTON – A group of Mexican entrepreneurs won the 2019 Hult Prize. The $ 1 Million Annual Award recognizes aspiring and visionary young people around the world who create businesses with positive impact on society..

This year’s competition was dedicated to solving the problems of global youth unemployment and attracted more than 250 thousand participants from around the world..

The winners were announced by former US President Bill Clinton, who has been one of the main backers of the Hult Prize since its inception in 2009..

“These young people are our best hope for the future,” Clinton said. – Look at them! They came from all over the world. They are happy to be together. They believe that what unites them is more important than what separates them “.


The winner of the competition is the Rutopia project, which aims to connect tourists with indigenous communities in rural Mexico.

“Awesome! We are very excited and cannot wait for our return to Mexico when we share this news with the rest of the people from Rutopia, ”said Emiliano Ituryaga, who received the award along with three members of his team..

Receiving the award has been a victory for all the people in the local communities with whom they work, he said..

Ituryaga described Rutopia as an engine empowering indigenous youth to create and sell tours over the Internet. At the same time, the project helps travelers to have an authentic cultural experience.

“We are transforming unemployed young people into successful tourism entrepreneurs in their own villages,” he said..

The company is now partnering with Airbnb to create sustainable, cultural immersion tours..

Business as a force for good

Ahmad Ashkar founded the Hult Prize Foundation in 2009 to inspire students around the world to take a different look at business..

“I was an investment banker, a child in a refugee family who was dissatisfied with his life and his contribution to society,” he says. “I thought that young people should have a choice – to become kind or to become cold-blooded investment bankers. So I created the Hult Prize as a platform to train them, arm them, and then invest in these young people and their ideas. Capital that will help them change the world “.

Ashkar is a social entrepreneur himself and believes that he is contributing to this goal. He founded Falafel Inc, a small Palestinian restaurant chain in Washington with a charitable mission..

“With every dollar you spend at our restaurant, we help feed, employ and empower refugees,” Ashkar says. “I am proud to say that we have fed over a quarter of a million refugees worldwide since we launched Falafel Inc.”.

Diego’s story

Diego Sandoval first heard of the Hult Prize when he was in high school. Then he began to participate in the program, as a second year student at New York University in Abu Dhabi, organizing a competition for the Hult Prize there..

“This led to a series of Hult Prize Accelerator internships where the 50 winning teams spend six weeks together competing with each other and building their own businesses,” he says..

“The program brings together 200 students from 30 countries around the world,” says Sandoval. “I was fortunate enough to sit with every participant, every contestant and explore the social connections that were behind their business. I could explore the social capital that we have invested in the Hult Prize ecosystem. “.

Hult Prize Winners Want to Change the Face of Global Tourism
Hult Prize Winners Want to Change the Face of Global Tourism

This experience gave him the opportunity to understand the idea of ​​the Hult Prize..

“It really aims to inspire students to change their careers from traditional, mainstream to more entrepreneurial, driven by passion and mission,” he says..

Circle of winners

Previously, Hult Prize winners were people like Mohammed Ashur, co-founder and CEO of Aspire Food Group, which grows crickets as a source of protein for human consumption..

The winner is also NanoHealth, an Indian startup that provides health care in urban slums..

“We have companies working in agriculture, fishing, youth unemployment, from Palestine to Zimbabwe,” says Ashkar of the Hult Prize Foundation. – We have more than 25 thousand students who organize programs in one hundred countries, 2500 employees and volunteers “.

“Being involved in the creation of this movement was a wonderful experience,” he adds..

Hult Prize – 2020

Climate change selected as theme for 2020 Hult Prize.

Iturjaga from Rutopia gave advice to future contestants: “It is important that you really care about this issue. You can’t build a business and then bring about change. First, you understand what fascinates you, what problem in the world you want to solve, and then you build your business around this “.

Hult Prize Winners Want to Change the Face of Global Tourism

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