Oct 4, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Calling all entrepreneurs!
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and a local non-profit have launched a new competition aimed at providing entrepreneurs with seed funding to get their start-up businesses off the ground.
The contest, called Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge (QTIC), will see entrepreneurs from a wide variety of industries battle it out for a piece of $100,000 in prize money spread across five different categories.
The categories include “urban tech,” “big data and artificial intelligence,” “aviation and hospitality technology,” “community,” and “food-based.”
Richards made the announcement Monday at York College, located at 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd. in Jamaica.
The winning entrepreneur in each category will net $20,000 in prize money that can be used to fund his or her business.
To enter, participants must submit an intake form, include a video pitch of their business and provide a three-year financial projection. Applicants will have until March 1 to apply.
Fifteen applicants— three from each category — will then be selected to participate in an in-person final in the spring where they will have to pitch their start-up to a panel of judges. One winner will be declared in each category and awarded with $20,000 in funding.
Richards is hosting the competition in partnership with the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), a Kew Gardens-based non-profit tasked with creating jobs and helping small businesses in the borough. The QEDC is headquartered inside Queens Borough Hall, where the Queens Borough President’s Office is also located.
The initiative is being funded by Flushing Bank, Resorts World NYC, Google, Meta and NYC Tech. Microsoft is providing additional in-kind support.
The QTIC, Richards said, aims to help Queens become a leading hub of innovation and technology.
“QTIC will be a game-changer for those looking to turn their dreams into a reality,” Richards said yesterday.
“As we rebuild our economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Queens must be a true incubator of innovation and a leader of the growing tech movement. With the Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge, we’re empowering some of the brightest minds in the borough to ensure just that.”
All applicants, Richards said, will also be able to attend free one-on-one mentorship sessions and entrepreneurial classes to help them develop their pitches. Applicants will also get opportunities to attend various networking events.
The competition is open to entrepreneurs working in a wide range of industries including technology, food and hospitality.
The first category in the QTIC is “urban technology,” which aims to find smart solutions to help improve the quality of life in cities. The start-ups could be involved in areas such as transportation, safety, social connectedness and the environment.
The second category listed is “big data and artificial intelligence (AI),” start-ups that rely heavily on data analytics and AI to power its products or services such as consumer software, blockchain, healthcare or robotics.
Other categories include “aviation and hospitality technology” with organizers saying they are looking for start-ups that can solve problems for consumers or businesses in those areas.
Non-tech categories include “food-based” start-up businesses that create food and beverage products wholesale, as well as “community” start-up companies that meet a particular demand in a community in fields such as lifestyle/wellness, fashion, and e-commerce.
QEDC Executive Director Seth Bornstein appealed to all budding entrepreneurs to consider taking part in the competition.
“You’ll learn a lot and you might get some extremely helpful funding,” Bornstein said. “At QEDC, we strongly believe that entrepreneurs are the bedrock of the borough’s economy.”
Applicants must be Queens-based entrepreneurs who are aged 18 and older. They will be required to attend a minimum of four online workshops hosted by QEDC.
For the full list of eligibility requirements and instructions on how to apply, click here.