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Presidio Graduate School Announces “Big Idea” Prize Winner for Initiative to Address Poverty with Worker-Owned Business Development 

Winner of competition is awarded a full-ride scholarship to a Presidio Graduate School degree program for the best “Big Idea” in sustainability

San Francisco, December 19, 2013 – Today, Presidio Graduate School announced the winner of its first annual “Big Idea” prize in celebration of the school’s first 10 years. Hilary Abell won the prize for her submission of Project Equity, a worker-owned cooperative business development initiative to create high quality jobs for people living in poverty in the Bay Area. Hilary Abell is awarded a full-ride scholarship to a Presidio Graduate School degree program for the best “Big Idea” in sustainability. Presidio Graduate School offers three degree programs — MBA, MPA, and a Dual MBA/MPA, all in sustainable management.

“We’re excited to announce that Presidio Graduate School MBA student Hilary Abell has won Presidio Graduate School’s first annual ‘Big Idea’ prize for her innovative enterprise, Project Equity,” said William Shutkin, President and CEO, Presidio Graduate School. “The Big Idea prize celebrates a decade of Presidio graduates turning big ideas into big impact. We received 18 impressive submissions from future leaders in the world of sustainability. We’re looking forward to seeing the kind of impact Hilary and her idea will have in making a more just, prosperous, and sustainable world.”

“I'm so honored to receive this prize,” said winner Hilary Abell. “It's incredibly significant for me personally and for my new initiative. Plus, it feels like the beginning of a more powerful nexus between the sustainable business community and the cooperative movement, which I believe will greatly benefit both.”

The competition was judged by a panel of PGS’s faculty and alumni, after applications were gathered by a public campaign to encourage community leaders, businesses, and organizations to participate in the process by nominating people to apply for the prize. The competition was open to both current and prospective Presidio students. Winner Hilary Abell is in her first year of Presidio’s sustainability MBA program.

The judges evaluated the submissions based on clarity of the Big Idea; personal passion, courage, and leadership skills of the applicant to make the Big Idea a reality; scale and specificity of the potential economic, environmental, and/or social impact; as well as feasibility, sustainability, and the originality of the proposed Big Idea. Special consideration was given to entrants with ideas related to Presidio’s focus areas, including:

• Cleantech and Renewable Energy
• Impact Investing
• Sustainable Food and Agriculture
• Sustainable Leadership
• Sustainable Urban Development

For full details on Presidio Graduate School’s “Big Idea” Prize, visit http://bit.ly/PGSBigIdea.