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New York City Economic Development Corporation Announces 20 Finalists of Take The H.E.L.M, a Competition to Encourage Businesses to Hire And Expand in Lower Manhattan

All Finalists Receive $10,000 Cash Grant; Up to Five Winners Will Receive $250,000 Each

Contest Seeks to Grow and Diversify Innovative Businesses in Lower Manhattan, Complementing the Already Vibrant Financial Sector

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the 20 finalists of “Take the H.E.L.M.: Hire + Expand in Lower Manhattan,” a competition which encourages creative and innovative businesses to open or expand an existing office in Lower Manhattan. The competition, which is administered by NYCEDC along with HR&A Advisors, Inc. (HR&A) and sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, was designed to encourage growth and diversification of Lower Manhattan's economy.  The 20 finalists, selected from a group of over 300 applicants, will each receive a $10,000 cash grant, and up to five winners will ultimately win $250,000.  The 20 finalists will take part in two days of programming in March, which will include interviews with the competition selection committee as well as producing a brief video for the committee about their company. Up to five winners will be announced at an awards ceremony taking place on March 14.

“Take the H.E.L.M. is helping to highlight that Lower Manhattan is one of New York City’s most dynamic neighborhoods, playing a central role, not just in finance, but many new and exciting industries,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky.  “The 20 innovative finalists in this competition will now have the opportunity to establish themselves or expand within this already vibrant and diverse community, spurring further critical economic growth for Lower Manhattan and the entire City.”

The 20 finalists are broken into five separate tracks: creative companies, technology companies, startups less than three years old, companies new to New York and companies currently in Lower Manhattan looking to expand in the area.  One winner will be chosen from each track by the selection committee, leading to the final awards of $250,000 upon relocating to Lower Manhattan. The twenty finalists in the five tracks are:

StartupNew New YorkersTechnologyCreative ServicesExisting Lower Manhattan Firms
Fathom UnlimitedCrane.tvMedCPUFlatiron SchoolBooker
Side TourGrapeshotOrderGrooveRefinery 29Bright Power, Inc.


Paperless PostRock Shrimp ProductionsOf a Kind
We WorkStudent Competitions ABThinkEcoStyleCasterSHoP Architects

"What I love most about the burgeoning startup community in Lower Manhattan is that it brings some of New York's most dynamic and innovative companies (who are also hiring!) to the heart of the financial district,” said Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit and member of the Selection Committee.   “Downtown Alliance research shows there is a vast concentration of the region’s best and brightest workers living within a short commute of Lower Manhattan,” said Downtown Alliance President Elizabeth H. Berger. “With high quality office space offered at competitive prices and at the center of a robust transportation network, it is no surprise that so many start-ups and creative firms are eager to set up shop in America’s fourth largest central business district.”

The Selection Committee is chaired by Arthur Levitt, former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and also includes Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and CEO of American Express, and Dick Parsons, former Chairman of Citigroup, Inc. and former Chairman and CEO of Time Warner, Inc., among others.

“Lower Manhattan is no longer exclusively New York’s financial district. We want to move the ball forward in making Lower Manhattan—a district known primarily as Wall Street—the core of innovation and engine of economic diversity in the city,” said Arthur Levitt, former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Chairman of the Selection Committee.

“We came down to Lower Manhattan in November 2011 and have been thrilled to be part of the neighborhood’s evolution. XO Group Inc. has always been a technology leader and at the forefront of its industry, and we recognized the potential of this amazing neighborhood.  Since our move, we have seen an influx of tech and creative companies join us. It is so exciting to see Lower Manhattan transform this way and become a hub for creative companies like ours.” said Carley Roney, co-founder and chief content officer, XO Group Inc. 

After Hurricane Sandy, the Take the HELM competition announced the fifth additional track and prize track for which a Lower Manhattan company would be prioritized in order to help businesses potentially impacted by the storm.

Representatives from the firms will come to Lower Manhattan for the finalist judging and selection of winners on March 13th and 14th. Finalists will take a tour of the World Trade Center construction site, the 9/11 Memorial, and an Association for a Better New York breakfast, among other networking events. Finalists will also create a short video and interview with the Selection Committee on March 13th.

“All of the finalists are committed to the vitality of New York, and to diversifying the economy in Lower Manhattan…deciding the winners will be a tough decision,” said Alicia Glen, head of the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs.

In the past decade, Lower Manhattan has seen over $30 billion in infrastructure investment and an influx of residents as well as new businesses, 86% of which are not financial related.  Recently, both established and emerging companies such as Condé Nast, XO Group, and Fast Company have established their presence in Lower Manhattan.  To further spur this growth, Take the H.E.L.M. is looking for innovative businesses that will bring additional talented employees to the neighborhood and further diversify the economic base of this central business district.


New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About HR&A Advisors, Inc.

HR&A Advisors, Inc. (HR&A) is an industry-leading real estate, economic development and energy efficiency consulting firm. HR&A has provided strategic advisory services for some of the most complex mixed-use, neighborhood, downtown, and regional development projects across North America and abroad for over thirty years, and has offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.


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Contact Info

Patrick Muncie/Ian Fried (NYCEDC)


Risa Heller (HR&A)