Exactly one year ago, I stood frozen cold inside the warm amphitheater of the Boston Museum of Science.
When you think of business school students, what do you think of? Do you view them as the next generation of managers, armed with a Millennial mindset and a solid grounding in business principles? Or do you see them as socially-minded young people (more so than previous generations) searching for greater meaning in their careers? How about both?
Thankfully, the final leg of our Hult Prize journey concludes tonight. In front of 1,000 of the world's top entrepreneurs, leaders and development experts, we will be unveiling our concept and having them prod and poke our brainchild in public.
Last year, President Clinton issued a challenge to university students around the world to create a social enterprise that will address food insecurity in very poor urban areas, which are often marginalized and left out of progress. More than 10,000 students from more than 150 countries answered this call-to-action.
Today are the four of us and our business plan. We have brainstormed over this dream of ours for months now, and the more we learnt about the business we were entering, the more we understood the value of our role in it.
Living in the slum neighborhood for 26 years, our team understands the problem confronted by our fellow brothers, and we have a solution
Patient ambition means that you do not wait for success to come to you, nor do you expect success to manifest by patiently waiting. It requires ambition to create opportunities, persistence to achieve breakthroughs, and a relentless pursuit of experts and talent.
One exciting aspect of social enterprise is that in the information age, cutting-edge technology makes social enterprise commercially viable where it might not have been before.
"With the amount of money, brains, and resources we have, there is no reason for the current level of poverty to persist," says Patel, linking a lack of inspiring human and cultural change to the call for action by President Clinton.
"Not enough business people even know that there's a business opportunity servicing the poor," he says, adding that bottom of the pyramid solutions to food insecurity are the "hottest space" in entrepreneurship.
The key problem would-be crowdsourcers face: lack of methodology. Without a sure-fire recipe for success, initiatives run the risk of becoming a waste of time or a stale marketing program.
Welcome to the brutal world of business plan competitions. It's not about co-eds hoping to win the affections of the Bachelor. It's about late nights sketching out business models on sandwich wrappers, pizza boxes, newspapers and white boards.
NGOs can be revived by current trends in business and technology. In business, "doing good" is becoming sexier than accumulating cash. Increasing numbers of MBA students and established businesses are motivated by philanthropic goals.