NYCEDC's blog

10 Under 20: Young Innovators to Watch



By Jake Mansoor, Intern, Media and Emerging Tech Desk at the Center for Economic Transformation

A Wireless Epilepsy Detector. Carbon Microtubes. Robots.

Exciting innovations lie ahead of us but many are, in fact, already here—thanks to some young New York City innovators!

Ten students under the age of twenty were recently lauded for their achievements in technology and innovation at the city’s first ever 10 Under 20 Awards.

On June 24, NYCEDC—in partnership with CE Week—recognized these ten entrepreneurial and ambitious young students for demonstrating application-based innovations, ranging from cyber-security devices to assistive technology. The awards ceremony was held at Metropolitan Pavilion and attended by students and families as well as educators and attendees of CE Week.

Upon entering the venue, one could notice a palpable buzz of energy surrounding the event. We walked upstairs and into the “green room” (a holding room for the winners) to find gaggles of young students fawning over voice commandable robots (only slightly shorter than themselves), as well as middle and high school students taking group pictures and an enthusiastic entrepreneur riding his Segway indoors.

10under20 award

Awards were given to entrepreneurial and ambitious students who demonstrated outstanding achievement with their application-based innovations. 

To be eligible for the award, participants had to be under the age of twenty, currently enrolled in school, and either a student at a New York City college or university or a permanent resident of New York City. The winners were a diverse group of students, hailing from all five boroughs. One team from Staten Island created a USB extension that acts as a biometric password keeper, while another team from Manhattan created a wearable device that displays live closed captioning for those with hearing disabilities.

A diverse panel of accomplished professionals served as judges for the competition, evaluating submissions on the basis of five distinct criteria. Three of the questions, each worth 25% of the total score, considered:

  1. How creative and unique was the submission?
  2. Is the project easy to use, understandable, and clear in its mission?
  3. How well does the project utilize and apply knowledge from the Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) fields?

For the remaining 25% of the score, judges considered civic-mindedness and scalability.

eric gertler

Eric Gertler, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Center for Economic Transformation, gave opening remarks, noting how crucial our city’s students are to ensuring a vibrant economic future.

NYCEDC EVP Eric Gertler underscored the need to ensure that New York City remains a hub of innovation in order to make certain that our students continue to choose to live, work, and create in New York City. Gertler also highlighted additional CET programs aimed at promoting young innovators such as NYC GenTech, a youth-focused tech and entrepreneurial education and mentorship program.

He noted that the overarching mission of these initiatives, like the 10 Under 20 Awards, is to ensure that young New Yorkers, “realize [that] their dreams can become a reality in New York City.”

The event's emcee, Ray Garcia, applauded the caliber of submissions and commented that awardees represented the diversity of New York City. He urged winners to "be kind to one another" and support each other in becoming the next generation of entrepreneurs.

To learn more about the inaugural "10 Under 20" innovators and their submissions, please visit the 10 Under 20 webpage.

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