Gov. Rick Scott launched a new phase of his re-election campaign Tuesday at a Hialeah pipe-supply company where he announced plans for a $10 million award to private-sector entrepreneurs who solve public-sector problems.
Scott didn't elaborate much on the details of the "Risk Takers Reward" proposal or a plan, in conjunction with colleges and universities, to award up to $100,000 to a Floridian who writes a winning business plan. In both cases, the awards would blend public and private money.
Scott said the Risk Takers Reward was in the tradition of Orteig Prize, which incentivized trans-oceanic flight in 1927.
"It’s like how Charles Lindbergh went across the Atlantic and he won a $25,000 prize," Scott said. "This will be a $10 million prize. We’ll do big issues that we’re dealing with.”
Scott made the announcement at the sprawling A&B Pipe Supply company in Hialeah, where owner Enrique J. Collazo praised Scott's job-creation record.
"The prior governor, Charlie Crist, lost 832,000 jobs over 4 years. That's hard to believe," Scott said. PolitiFact examined some of these claims here.
Crist has repeatedly blamed the job loss on the global recession and he points to President Obama's stimulus plan, which Crist advocated for to keep the state from losing more public-service workers.
Here's more on Scott's plan from his new Small Business Policy Paper (Download Scott_Rick_Small_Business_Policy_Paper):
In 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic for the $25,000 Orteig Prize, paving the way for transoceanic flight. Recently, the X-Prize Foundation created an incentive to push private companies to achieve something government agencies and military contractors were unable to: cheaper, reusable space flight. In order to bring the next generation of entrepreneurs and industries to the state, Governor Scott proposes the State of Florida partner with private entities to create the Risk Taker Reward. The concept is simple and time tested: there are problems facing society that could be solved with technology that does not yet exist, but is not far from creation. For issues presenting Florida with generational challenges, a smart incentive can ensure that the private market handles a public problem.
After identifying such an opportunity for innovation, Florida can jumpstart enterprise by offering a $10 million award—half from private sector funding—to the Florida-based entity that invents the solution, thus motivating citizens to tackle problems facing the state. The Risk Taker Reward would push both non-profit and for-profit entities to tackle specific issues with private capital, and would only be paid out if the goal was successfully accomplished. Risk Taker Reward would only reward success, while also creating new markets and new jobs. These new markets would focus on the challenges that Florida needs to tackle in the future, such as water supply and quality issues, transportation and infrastructure, and medical breakthroughs in cancer and other diseases.
HOST ANNUAL BUSINESS PLAN START-UP COMPETITIONS WITH COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES THROUGHOUT THE STATE
Working with Florida colleges and universities, Governor Scott proposes creating a State Matching Grant Program to fund prizes for annual business-plan competitions throughout the state. Colleges and universities could match state funding with private funds up to $100,000 that would be awarded to the Floridian with the winning business plan at each institution.
These annual competitions would incentivize start-ups and innovative businesses to grow around our colleges and universities. Working in partnership with entrepreneurship programs and business incubators would help to ensure groundbreaking research and development happens at our universities, while also marketing and helping to create jobs for Floridians. Competitions like these serve as a starting point for many successful entrepreneurs, and will facilitate the meeting of great Florida ideas with the capital and expertise to make them successful, job-creating businesses.