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Michael Bloomberg and Genesis Prize Launch $1M Social Entrepreneurship Competition

By Sherrell Dorsey

What price would you pay to help humanity? For former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Genesis Prize Foundation, $1 million dollars aptly foots the bill. Launched last week, the Genesis Generation Challenge aims to identify and provide seed-money for innovative projects to address the world’s toughest challenges. Ten awards of US$100,000 will be given to the engineers, artists, scientists and business people that can turn their ideas into scalable solutions that demonstrate significant impact in their particular issue area.

The competition will turn passion into reality for 10 winning teams connecting them to mentors and opportunities to convene and learn from one another. Benefits exist even for those teams that do not win; they will become part of an active network of forward-thinking and connected individuals from whom they can receive feedback and grow their ideas.

Monetary incentive aside, mentorship from politician, businessman and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg is worth its weight.

“Competitions can provide the incentives and framework to help innovative ideas surface, so we created the Genesis Generation competition to empower young people who want to make the world a better place,” Bloomberg said. “The competition will spur collaboration across borders and regions, and it will encourage young people to find new and better ways to tackle our most pressing challenges."

Fully committed to the success of the competition, Bloomberg attended the international launch in New York last week during an event that hosted over 100 social entrepreneurs and allowed potential competitors an opportunity to learn more about the competition and meet the judges. The Genesis Prize Foundation also hosted an Idea Accelerator in Washington, D.C. following the New York event for potential applicants.

Judges announced to date include: Dan Shechtman, Nobel Prize Laureate (Israel); Marjorie B. Tiven, Director of Global Cities, Inc. (U.S.); Jill Smith, President of Jewish Foundation for Education of Women (U.S.); Sana Britavsky, Deputy CEO, Chief Content Officer, Genesis Philanthropy Group (Israel); Roberta Kaplan, Partner, Paul Weiss (U.S.); David Hatchwell Altaras, President of Excem Group (Spain); Noam Lautman, Chairman, Delta Galil (Israel); Lisa Eisen, National Director for the Schusterman Family Foundation (U.S.); Rachel Haot, Chief Digital Officer and Deputy Secretary of Technology for New York State (U.S.); and Rachel Cohen Gerrol, Co-founder and Curator, Nexus Youth Summit (U.S.).

“We are thrilled to launch the competition,” commented Wayne L. Firestone, president of the Genesis Prize Foundation. “We believe in young adults’ ability to bring about solutions for the world’s most pressing problems and use their unique insight to affect change across the globe.”

In an interview with us regarding the purpose behind the competition, Firestone expressed the changing demographic of socially conscious entrepreneurs.  A generation ago, he mentions, creating profitable businesses that produced societal change was not the norm. According to Firestone, prior charitable behaviors are often old school, irrelevant or not impactful at all to this generation.

Overall, The Genesis Prize Foundation hopes to mobilize creative thinkers who recognize that innovation doesn’t happen by itself…it happens through collaboration and mentorship.

A complete description of the criteria for submission, rules, application, and scoring mechanism is available at www.Genesis-Generation.org.

Image credit: Flickr/mikebloomberg

Sherrell Dorsey is a social impact branding and communications strategist, social entrepreneur and advocate for environmental, social and economic equity in underserved communities. Visit Sherrell at www.sherrelldosey.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @sherrell_dorsey.

Sherrell Dorsey headshot

Sherrell Dorsey is a social impact storyteller, social entrepreneur and advocate for environmental, social and economic equity in underserved communities. Sherrell speaks and writes frequently on the topics of sustainability, technology, and digital inclusion.

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