Forbes thinks that $1 million can change the world. So does the Wharton School.
For the first time ever, Wharton is collaborating with Forbes in the selection of the winners of Forbes’ $1 Million Under 30 Change the World Competition, a part of its annual 30 Under 30 ranking.
With a prize pool of $1 million, the competition is the largest of its type. The winner will receive $500,000 and the five semifinalists will each receive $100,000.
The money was pooled by a combination of Forbes and six other donor foundations.
Unlike many competitions, in which applicants submit business proposals, Forbes’ new competition is for social entrepreneurs under the age of 30 to showcase their companies that are already making a difference. Companies could be for-profit or non-profit.
“[The applicants] are people who have a model that can actually scale globally,” said Editor of Forbes Randall Lane, who is also a 1990 College graduate and former editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. “We are looking for people who need more money and, given all the support of the [Forbes] partners, can actually make a run at solving the problem ... people who have leadership to take their organization and scale around the world.”
Of 2,506 competition registrants who started the rigorous application process, almost 1,000 submitted their finished business models.
“The process is meant to be very onerous and serious,” Lane added. “It’s not just for people who have an idea; it’s for people who are already doing things to change the world, to accelerate the young entrepreneurs who are doing incredible things.”
Wharton, through the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, played a significant role in the selection process.
Staff on the Wharton Social Impact Initiative read through the 1,000+ applications and narrowed them down to just 50 semifinalists.
Lane emphasized that Wharton has been a good partner for Forbes, in part because of their complementary missions.
“They understand the importance of the social mission and balancing,” he said. “It’s a business school’s mission to train future business leaders, and having social impact is as fundamental to business as pure profit.”
As for Forbes, the competition is “all consistent with Forbes’ brand, which is about establishing entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurial capitalism to solve world problems,” Lane added.
The members of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative leading Wharton’s selection efforts were not available for comment before publication.
The six finalists of the competition will be announced by Forbes on Sept. 17, and the grand prize winner will be chosen at Forbes’ second annual Under 30 Summit, which will be held in Philadelphia in October.
Editor’s Note: Randall Lane currently sits on the Board of Directors of The Daily Pennsylvanian.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that MBA students examined applications for the competition, when in fact they were not involved in the process. The DP regrets the error.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.