The award categories are named after successful New Jersey immigrants recognized for their outstanding contributions to our state’s economy in their quest for the American Dream.
Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year
New Jersey’s immigrant entrepreneurs were responsible for the invention of the transistor, the modern brassiere, the submarine, Vitamin C, game theory, prong settings for gemstones, and the chemical synthesis of penicillin and instant coffee. Iconic companies like Lipton Tea, Welch’s Grape Juice, Ballantine beer, and Colgate-Palmolive were founded by immigrant entrepreneurs who chose New Jersey for their homes and places of business. During its history, New Jersey was home to the first successful glass making business in the colonies as well as the largest marine engine building shop, the largest parachute production company, the fourth largest brewery, and the sixth largest home builder in America — all of these companies were founded by immigrant entrepreneurs.
Caspar Wistar Award for Growth
This award was named for Caspar Wistar, who came to the United States from Baden, Germany in 1717 at age 21, and in 1739 established the first successful glass factory in the colonies in Salem County, New Jersey. Bottles and window glass were the chief products of “Wistarburg,” as the glasshouse and its surrounding community were called. At its height, the factory employed 60 persons annually and it is estimated that it produced 17,000-20,000 bottles annually. The factory also made scientific glass, supplying Benjamin Franklin with the apparatus used in his electricity experiments.
David Sarnoff Award for Advocacy
This award was named after David Sarnoff (b.1891) who emigrated to New York from Minsk Russia spending his early years as an office boy at Marconi Wireless telegraph Company and moving up the ladder as he successfully advocated for the expanded use of what we call radio: for wireless telegraphy, wireless telephony on ships trains and overland. From 1919 until 1970 he led the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in various capacities. In 1929, Sarnoff engineered the purchase of the Victor talking Machine Company, the nation’s largest manufacturer of records and phonographs, merging radio-phonograph production at Victor’s large manufacturing facility in Camden, New Jersey. In the thirties he began to advocate for the development of broadcast technologies including the electronic television.
Albert Einstein Award for Innovation
This award was named for Albert Einstein who was born in Ulm, Ger-many. Einstein was known throughout his life as an innovator. In 1905 he published five papers, including the “Special theory of Relativity” which considered motion and the speed of light In 1916 he published his “General The-ory of Relativity,” a concept of a curved universe and its effect on light.
In 1922 Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize for Physics. While visiting America in 1933 the Nazi party came to power in Germany and Einstein renounced his German citizenship. He chose to stay in America, accepting a position at Princeton University in New Jersey. Throughout World War II he helped other European scientists flee the Nazis and to immigrate to the United States.
Ida Rosenthal Young Entrepreneur Award or Rising Star
This award was named for Ida Rosenthal emigrated to America at age 18 in 1905 from Minsk, Belarus. She opened a dress shop called Maiden Form in 1921. In 1925 the first Maidenform plant was opened in Bayonne NJ to focus solely on their most popular product, brassieres. During the 1920’s she had 245 employees. Currently the company is still privately owned in Bayonne. Rosenthal is generally credited with the invention of the modern brassiere.