The $1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge

Together, we will drive $10,000 in annual wage increases for at least 100,000 low- and middle-income US workers by 2021.

Now accepting ideas

Share your $1 billion ideas today


The $1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge is a moonshot to address wage stagnation.

Our goal is to help fuel a movement that results in meaningful wage gains for workers across the country. Much like the concept of a $1 billion “unicorn” startup in Silicon Valley, this is a $1 billion unicorn to grow the middle class. We’ll source new and existing ideas, highlight promising examples. We’ll encourage the workforce field to explore innovative approaches and call on players from other fields to address this challenge.

This challenge focuses on one tangible metric: raising the annual wages of at least 100,000 US workers by $10,000 or more by 2021. In doing so, we intend to identify, spotlight, and accelerate effective and promising ways to meaningfully increase annual incomes and expand the middle class. Applications open September 24 and close November 25.

The competition is supported by Schmidt Futures, and will be complementary and connected to its efforts in the Alliance for the American Dream. Schmidt Futures works to advance society through technology, inspire breakthroughs in scientific knowledge, and promote shared prosperity. As a venture facility for public benefit, Schmidt Futures drives discovery through investment in people, platforms, and partnerships.

Finalists will gain national recognition for their ideas and opportunities to meet new partners and peers. They will participate in a pitch event in Q1 2019. 

For more information, read the FAQs.


  • September 24, 2018: Application opens
  • November 25, 2018: Application closes
  • December 2018: Select finalists
  • Q1 2019: Pitch event and national recognition

For more information

Read the FAQs

For inquiries about the challenge, please fill out the form on the left, or contact: