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Bill Clinton Chooses Early Education as Topic of $1 Million Hult Prize

Former President Bill Clinton added heft to the push for early-childhood education last month when he chose it as the topic of the next $1 million Hult Prize for young social entrepreneurs.

The international prize, named for Swedish billionaire Bertil Hult, goes to university students competing for a chance to launch their socially conscious business plan. Clinton is a "key partner" for the prize and is in charge of selecting the subject of the challenge each year. Last year, 11,000 teams submitted ideas for tackling health care in what they termed "urban slums." The year before that it was the global food crisis. Before that, energy poverty. You get the idea.

Prize administrators expect about 10,000 applicants to submit ideas for companies that would tackle the issue of early learning in impoverished urban areas around the world. After several rounds of competition, six teams will be named finalists, and one of them will win the 2015 Hult prize at the next Clinton Global Initiative conference.

"The challenge specifically asks teams to build sustainable and scalable social enterprises to address the early-childhood education gap in kids 0-6 years old," according to the Hult Prize website.

Separately, Hillary Clinton has made a big push for improved early-childhood education by joining the combined weight of her name and The Clinton Foundation's influence to the Too Small To Fail campaign, which is focused on improving early-childhood experiences for young children.

Chelsea Clinton has joined her mother on this campaign trail several times, including during the former U.S. Secretary of State's visit to Hollywood to convince TV producers to add early-education storylines to their shows. Bill Clinton's move adds some attention to the topic on an international scale.

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