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The Rockefeller Foundation Launches the 2013 Centennial Innovation Challenge

NEW YORK—The Rockefeller Foundation announced a new competition in search of solutions that will improve livelihoods for poor or vulnerable workers in the world’s informal economies. Launched in celebration of The Rockefeller Foundation’s centennial anniversary, the Centennial Innovation Challenge will consider as many as 10 of the finalists for the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to $100,000 and win support in proposal-writing to enable the further development of submitted ideas.

It is often out of necessity that 1.8 billion people find their livelihoods in the informal economythe business enterprises and jobs that exist partially or completely outside of government regulation. Informal workers lack basic safety nets like pensions and health insurance, and are typically without recourse if they are denied pay or are compelled to work in unsafe conditions. Improving working conditions, legal rights, and social benefits for informal workers would open new pathways to economic and social empowerment for millions of poor or vulnerable people worldwide.

“The Rockefeller Foundation is looking to tap the ingenuity and dedication of today’s social innovators to address the world’s most urgent challenges and ensure that informal workers can achieve equitable  growth, all while building resilience in an increasingly volatile world,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Together we can chart new paths that will transform the lives of the billions working in informal economies across the globe.”

Informal employment is a significant and growing part of the world’s economy; it accounts for around 50 percent of employment in North Africa and in Latin America, 65 percent of employment in Asia, and 72 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa. Given the vast number of informal workers, it is important to spur new innovations that improve worker’s livelihoods in the informal economy.

Ideas for the 2013 Centennial Innovation Challenge will be accepted online until the deadline on April 1, 2013. This competition is subject to eligibility requirements, official rules, and is void where restricted or prohibited by law. Full details and official rules can also be found at the competition website.

About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation aims to achieve equitable growth by expanding opportunity for more people in more places worldwide, and to build resilience by helping them prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. Throughout its 100 year history, The Rockefeller Foundation has enhanced the impact of innovative thinkers and actors working to change the world by providing the resources, networks, convening power, and technologies to move them from idea to impact. In today’s dynamic and interconnected world, The Rockefeller Foundation has a unique ability to address the emerging challenges facing humankind through innovation, intervention and influence in order to shape agendas and inform decision-making. Please visit for more information.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Erissa Scalera, The Rockefeller Foundation, (212) 852-8430 or (917) 207-9595,