Dr. Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation and recently ranked No. 98 on the Forbes list of the World's Most Powerful Women, spoke Wednesday at a panel on America's job crisis in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention. While other panel members gave sweeping platitudes about how to promote entrepreneurship, Rodin offered something concrete: $1 million for the entrepreneur whose business would create the most jobs.
"We think there is often tremendous innovation going on on the ground, and the problem is: A) nobody knows about it, and B) it never gets the resources or visibilty to take it to scale," Rodin told Inc. after the panel.
The terms of the competition and the application process have not been finalized, but Rodin says the foundation is looking for more than just an idea. In order to be considered, companies should already be established and show promise of significant labor growth.
Prospective winners should be particularly focused on hiring young workers, an age group that Rodin says has been hard hit by unemployment in recent years.
Rodin first announced the $1 million prize last week in a somewhat-similar fashion; at a Huffington Post-hosted luncheon on jobs in Tampa during the Republican National Convention. Since then, Rodin--who will not serve as a juror in the competition--has received a "stack of cards" from interested companies and individuals.
Rodin's award announcement is part of a recent effort by the foundation to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. Earlier this summer, the foundation held its annual Innovation Forum in New York City, and the dicussion focused on how to ensure technological advancements reach the world's lower classes instead of only benefitting the privileged.
The $1 million prize, however, is meant to award entrepreneurship in action.
"We think that there is so much that gets talked about, and we want to make sure that we are looking at not only thought but action," Rodin says. "We wanted it to be enough money so people would take it seriously."
For Rodin, money talks.
For more information on this $1 million prize, visit The Rockefeller Foundation website.