Oct. 4, 2023 By Bill Parry
Coming off a successful inaugural season in which five Queens start-up companies each received $20,000 in seed funding, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards announced Tuesday that his Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge (QTIC) is returning for a second straight year. The competition seeks to empower borough entrepreneurs with the skills and funding needed to take their businesses to the next level.
Developed and presented in partnership with the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), the Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge is a multi-month competition for Queens-based entrepreneurs in search of funding. The initiative includes entrepreneurial classes, one-on-one mentorship opportunities and networking events to help applicants develop their pitches, which will be heard by a blue-ribbon panel of judges next spring.
“I’ve never been more confident in Queens’ future as a true incubator of innovation and a global leader in tech. With the return of the QTIC, we’re taking a second giant leap toward realizing that immense potential by further investing some of the most ingenious minds in our borough,” Richards said. “If you have a bright idea for a new business that you want to grow here in Queens, I strongly encourage you to apply and utilize the tools at hand — and funding waiting to be won — to help you do just that.”
The QTIC, sponsored by Resorts World NYC, will again be divided into five categories: Consumer Tech, Enterprise Tech, Sustainability, Community and Food-Based.
To participate in the QTIC, interested individuals must first complete an intake form and a two-page application between now and March 1. Along with the application, entrepreneurs must submit a video pitch of up to three minutes long, as well as a three-year financial projection. The intake form and application are not required to be completed simultaneously.
Interested individuals must be Queens-based entrepreneurs aged 18 and older and will be required to attend a minimum of four online workshops hosted by QEDC, among other criteria, in order to apply. For the full list of eligibility requirements and instructions go to queensstartup.org.
After applying, entrepreneurs will be able to connect with QEDC advisors for one-on-one mentoring sessions and attend a variety of QTIC networking events in the coming months. In Spring 2024, 15 finalists will be selected — three from each category — to participate in Pitch Day, with each finalist pitching their start-up to a panel of judges.
“Entrepreneurs provide new services and products, create jobs and pay taxes. And in Queens, they’re the bedrock of the economy. Thus, we’re excited to expand and improve the time-honored QTIC program this year,” QEDC Executive Director Seth Bornstein said. “I encourage budding entrepreneurs to register and participate. You’ll definitely learn a lot, in addition to potentially earning important funding.”
Five winners will be declared — one per category — and each victorious start-up will be awarded with $20,000 in funding. Last year’s QTIC winners included a local Malaysian gourmet pantry company, a bookshop that highlights authors of color, a waste management operations entity, an analytical software entity and a youth engagement platform.