Neighborhood Challenge

artist on ladder painting mural on pull-down security gate on Lower East Side

The NYC Department of Small Business Services, along with partners New York City Economic Development Corporation and New York City Business Assistance Corporation, are proud to offer the Neighborhood Challenge Innovation Grant competition.

This year’s Neighborhood Challenge 5.0 competition pairs nonprofit community organizations and tech companies to create and implement tools that address specific commercial district issues. The competition seeks to make awards of up to $100,000 to fund innovative ideas that use data-driven capacity building solutions to improve operations, target services, or address local public policy challenges.

Who Can Apply

Proposal teams must include a lead applicant and a tech company. Proposed projects should leverage public and/or proprietary data, and must assist the lead applicant’s operations and decision making in meeting the needs of their commercial district and local stakeholders.

Lead applicants are nonprofit organizations that target a single New York City commercial district or neighborhood. Potential applicants with operating budgets over $2 million must partner and co-apply with another organization with a budget under $2 million from a different neighborhood.

What Neighborhood Challenge Funds

Neighborhood Challenge 5.0 awards provide funding to nonprofit organizations, in partnership with technology companies, to create and implement technology tools that address challenges in New York City commercial districts. Tools and solutions may assess, measure, or address issues in these areas: 

  • Capital construction impact mitigation
  • Community engagement and stakeholder outreach
  • Management of public space and streetscape amenities 
  • Quality of life conditions and tracking
  • Real estate development and land use changes
  • Retail/office vacancy tracking and commercial leasing
  • Sanitation and district maintenance
  • Small business assistance and promotion
  • Street vendor siting and fine reduction
  • Sustainability and energy efficiency
  • Transportation, transit, and parking

View complete program guidelines.

How to Apply

The application process involves two steps:

  1. Expression of Interest: The period for the expression of interest has ended. Interested nonprofits and technology companies are still welcome to submit a full application.
  2. Full Proposal:  In the full proposal, lead applicants will be asked to provide an overview of the vision, implementation timeline, outcomes and impact of the project, project team and key stakeholders, as well as the project budget. You can access the application document and instructions here. Completed applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on May 14, 2017.

Selected finalists will participate in the Neighborhood Challenge Pitch Competition in mid-June 2017. Winners will be selected by a panel of judges at the Pitch Competition.

Contact us for more information.