Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Why would my organization want to apply to this competition?
A: There are multiple benefits to applying to this competition. First, there’s the opportunity to win $125,000 as well as public recognition from the City for your accomplishment. Second, technical assistance and business advisory are an integral part of the competition. Third, just by entering the competition your organization gets to hone its thinking and develop new strategies regarding workforce productivity. And last but not least, if your plan is successful, both your workforce and your organization will benefit! It’s a win-win.

Q: Does my organization need to be doing business or have its headquarters in one of the five boroughs to be eligible?
A: Yes. Your organization must be based or do business in any of the five boroughs by the contest submission date, June 14, 2013 (5:00pm Eastern Time), to participate.

Q: Does my plan’s success hinge on improving the skill bases, career prospects or economic opportunities of my low-skilled or low-income employees?
A: Yes. But equally important is your plan’s ability to positively impact your company’s overall performance as a result of that improvement.

Q: My organization is a brand new start-up. Do I qualify?
A: Yes, as long as your organization is operating within the five boroughs by June 14th, 2013 and you employ low-skill to mid-skill or low-income employees you are a qualified entrant. Please see Official Rules for more information.

Q: If my plan is chosen to receive the prize of workforce consulting from Next Street, will I be able to meet and interact with someone from Next Street?
A: Absolutely, in addition to a series of customized seminars, you will receive one-on-one technical assistance from the Next Street team in order to ensure your plan is implemented successfully.

Q: My organization is a holding company with over 250 employees. May we submit proposals for each of the companies we own? And then submit one for the parent company?
A: Yes. As long as each company is a separate business entity, you may submit one plan per company in the appropriate Tier. You may also submit a plan for the parent company.

Q: My organization contains several business units. May I submit a plan for each one?
A: If they all are operated by one company, and not distinct business entities, you may only enter one plan for the entire company.

Q: May I submit a plan already in the implementation phase?
A: No, your plan must be a new, innovative idea for your organization that has not yet been implemented.

Q: What recognition does my organization receive from the City?
A: The overall competition winners will be publicly announced during an award ceremony toasting you as a City and business innovator. The winners of the initial phase of the contest will be announced through the competition website and various social media channels.

Q: Does the full $125,000 award have to directly go to my innovative program plan?
A: Yes. The prize of $25,000 for Pilot Phase winners is designed to fund the pilot programs. The $100,000 prize for the three Grand Prize winners is designated to support the continued operation and expansion of the programs initiated during the competition.

Q: Can you define what "innovation" means?
A: Innovation in relation to the NYC Business Innovation Challenge means the improvement of your workforce’s productivity and morale coupled with overall bottom line through advancement programs that enable low-skilled or low-income employees to raise their skill-sets and become more productive.

Q: What if my idea changes after I submit my plan?
A: We understand that innovative ideas evolve and change, however, for the purposes of a fair competition, once your entry is received it is considered final for judging.

Q: Is there a cost to enter the competition?
A: No, entry to the competition is free.  All we ask is for your applications to meet the criteria outlined in the Official Rules.

Q: Is there someone I can contact if I have additional questions?
A: Absolutely. Please send any additional questions to