What is the program?
The program is designed to help early-stage entrepreneurs grow their businesses with five up-to $20K grants, access to industry experts and founder network.
Presented by the Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Queens Economic Development Corporation, the multi-week program offers high-level entrepreneurial classes, one-on-one office hours with QEDC mentors & advisors, networking events with startup founders, and cash prizes (five up-to $20K awards).
What does the program offer?
There will be one winner in each category, with five winners in total. Each winner will be awarded up to $20,000 to start or grow their business with no strings attached.
We will be offering different online workshops from October, 2023 to January, 2024, covering a wide range of startup topics from product development, financial management to fundraising, legal issues and many more. The curriculum is not cohort-based. Participants can join any LIVE workshops that’s of interest to them or watch recordings.
We’re hosting in-person networking events once a month from October, 2023 to February, 2024. It will be a great opportunity for you to meet with other local entrepreneurs and learn about the resources in the Queens startup community.
ONE-ON-ONE OFFICE HOURS
Participants in the program can schedule one-on-one meetings with our program director to discuss their needs and progress. The program director will be able to share more resources or match them with different advisors for further assistance.
Business to Consumer
A startup that builds technology products or services designed for everyday use by consumers.
Business to Business
Technology products or services used by businesses or organizations.
A startup that uses innovative solutions to help build a healthy planet or creates a product/service that makes a positive impact on our environment. This can be a tech-based or non-tech based business.
A non-tech focused startup business that delivers a need or responds to a demand of the community through providing a service or a product in fields such as lifestyle/wellness, fashion, and e-commerce.
A startup business with its main activity being the creation and/or sale of a food or beverage product as a wholesaler, manufacturer, or retail business. Any retail storefront including restaurant, coffee shop, specialty food store must be located in Queens.
Who Should Apply?
- Pre-seed or seed stage tech startups still looking to establish a business model
- Early stage CPG, community-based businesses, currently generating revenue
- High-potential, ready to use a 20K grant to reach their next milestone
- Willing and able to meet the requirements to participate in the Challenge
How to Apply?
- Read the Eligibility Requirements
- Make sure you attend a minimum of 4 events (workshop + in-person all count) between October 3, 2023 to February 28, 2024. Our live workshop schedule can be found on our Events page. If you miss them, no worries: recordings of past events can be found in our Video Library.
- You can submit an online application anytime between October 3, 2023 to March 1st, 2024. The submission deadline is March 1st, 2024 at midnight.
- Roughly 4-5 live events per month from October, 2023 – February, 2024. Make sure you attend a minimum of 4 events or watch the recordings.
- Our 1st round of judges will begin reviewing applications on March 5, 2024. It will take approximately 3 weeks to finish the 1st round judging.
- Three finalists from each category will be announced in an in-person event at the end of March, 2024.
- The total 15 finalists will be pitching to the 2nd round of judges during an in-person event in April, 2024. One winner from each category will be announced in the end of April.
What Our Former Participants Are Saying:
Frequently Asked Questions
Contestants must be entrepreneurs who run revenue-generating businesses, are 18 years of age or older, and U.S. citizens or legal residents in the United States. The business must demonstrate a strong Queens connection, such as being a Queens resident. For further details, please see our eligibility rules.
All qualified applications will be sent to our 1st panel of judges for review. The judges will give scores and feedback for each application. Based on the scores, we will announce three finalists from each category. The 15 finalists will present to our 2nd panel of judges who will select a winner from each category.
5 winners will each receive a prize up to $20,000.