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Innovation Through Competition

The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), 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! Neighborhood Challenge grants support innovative and catalytic projects that solve small business challenges, generate community and economic impacts, and receive local recognition upon implementation. The competition seeks to make multiple investments of up to $100,000 in community-based development organizations that spark new ideas and approaches to common neighborhood and commercial corridor issues.

Business Improvement District (BID):

  • Incorporated BIDs located in New York City with an annual assessment less than or equal to $2,000,000.
  • Demonstrated timely submission of audited financial statements and annual reports to SBS in the previous fiscal year.

Community-based Development Organization (CBDO):

  • Incorporated as a nonprofit in New York State and be in compliance with the New York State Charities Bureau.
  • Operate in the five boroughs of New York City.
  • Have a dedicated economic development budget under $2,000,000.
  • Note: This competition is open to community-serving organizations that do not have a dedicated economic development budget but are able to demonstrate an implementation partnership with a CBDO and a plan for community and economic impacts.

Grant awards will be made for the boldest ideas in three project budget size categories: $30,000; $60,000; and $100,000. Small and/or new organizations are encouraged to propose project budgets that are within their capacity to realistically execute.

Project Categories
Neighborhood Challenge project concepts focus on one of the following work areas:

  • Business Attraction, Retention, and Growth, including strategies to assist in the recruitment of new businesses or growth of existing businesses, as well as raising the entrepreneurial profile of commercial districts.
  • District Planning, Streetscape Improvements, and Public Space Activation, including district planning and management initiatives, as well as open space, streetscape, and storefront improvements that enhance the urban design, public use, or economic viability of a commercial area.
  • District-wide Marketing and Events, including programs, events, and art installations that improve the image and vitality of a commercial district, as well as strategies which use print, electronic media, or multimedia efforts to promote retail corridors.
  • Property Activation and Development, including real estate development plans, paired with an immediate private space activation component, that target underutilized properties which show promise as sites for near-term and long-term economic activity.

Application Process
The application process is closed. Look out for when we announce this year's winners!

Past Winners
Past projects have included storefront improvements in historic districts, public art installations, district-wide marketing campaigns, business attraction initiatives, and public space. Learn more about these projects here

Please direct any questions about Neighborhood Challenge to