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LSE students' social enterprise company shortlisted for prestigious Hult Prize 2013

Hult TeamA team of students from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) are among the runners up for the prestigious Hult Prize 2013 for their social enterprise initiative, SokoText. The team, two of whom are recent graduates, conceived of SokoText while studying at LSE.

The LSE team gave their winning pitch to President Clinton and a panel of judges, including Muhammad Yunus and the head of the World Food Programme, in the framework of the Clinton Global Initiative Summit in New York last night (Monday 23 September).

The Hult Prize, run in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, is the largest social enterprise competition in the world. This year, President Clinton challenged students to come up with creative social enterprise solutions to help tackle global food insecurity. The LSE idea, SokoText, aims to help people living in the world’s slums gain access to affordable food through the simple medium of text messages. This year's prize was awarded to a team of MBA students from McGill.

LSE Director Professor Craig Calhoun said: “My congratulations go to all the students involved for their initiative and enterprise in establishing SokoText. This is an extremely prestigious competition and to be shortlisted is a great accomplishment. The Director’s Fund exists to support students in initiatives like this and it has been a real pleasure to see our students come together across disciplines to develop this innovative idea.”

SokoText is the brainchild of Suraj Gudka (BSc Accounting and Finance), Sofia Zabolotskih (BSc International Relations), Carolina Medina-Gutierrez (MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies), Verena Liedgens (MPA Public and Social Policy), and Jonah Brotman (International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies).

The awards ceremony is the culmination of a year’s work for the LSE team, which initially competed in Dubai and has been graciously supported by LSE's Director's Fund. SokoText won the Hult Prize Global Online competition earlier this year, which gave them the opportunity to pitch for the Clinton Global Initiative’s $1million prize.

Jonah Brotman, CEO of SokoText, said: “We’re incredibly honoured to be selected as this year’s Hult Prize winner. It’s been a whirlwind journey and we thank LSE for supporting us the whole way. Our time at LSE has shown us that doing good while doing well is possible. Food security is a challenge that our team at SokoText fully intends on solving.”

For more information on Sokotext, see www.sokotext.com

For more on the Hult Prize, see http://www.hultprize.org

24 September 2013