Programs for Entrepreneurs

NYC BigApps

A competition that empowers the sharpest minds to solve New York City's toughest challenges through technology, data, and collaboration.

NYC BigApps 2018

NYC BigApps is an annual competition that leverages New York City’s technological, creative, and civic communities to foster the development of innovative products and services capable of addressing civic and urban challenges in New York City. NYC BigApps produces more than just apps; it serves as an engine for creative collaboration between varied and engaged communities from all across the city, from developers and designers to nonprofits and tech companies. 

This year, NYCEDC seeks to leverage the NYC BigApps competition to foster the development of innovative blockchain applications, or use cases, that address challenges facing the public sector in New York City. Blockchain is a transformative technology with the potential to have a large impact on the public sector. The technology may improve the security, efficiency, transparency, and speed of many public sector services and processes. 

NYC BigApps 2017 Winners

The 2017 NYC BigApps competition had three main challenge areas focused on improving the quality of life for New York City youth (ages 13-18), senior (age 65+), and immigrant populations. Challenge areas included: 

  • Transportation. Leveraging technology and public data to increase ease of use and expand travel options for youth, seniors, and immigrants;
  • Knowledge. Providing youth, seniors, and immigrants with better access to accurate, timely, and user-friendly information to make more informed decisions about their daily lives (i.e., at home, at work, at school); and
  • Community Resiliency. Building strong communities by fostering more inclusion and connection for youth, seniors, and immigrants where they live, learn, work, and play.

NYCEDC partnered with Civic Hall Labsa research and development nonprofit that collaboratively designs and builds technology for public good—to produce the NYC BigApps 2017 competition. Civic Hall Labs, in partnership with a wide range of agencies and community organizations, has anchored each challenge in the expressed needs of community end-users and the social practitioners who serve them. Civic Hall Labs will provide participants with professional mentors, as well as with access to design and product development workshops between January and the end of April (when submissions are due).

Last year's contest received a record 150 eligible submissions. At the Finalist Expo and Awards Ceremony on May 23, 2017, nine finalists presented to a panel of judges who selected the winners:

  • On Board (Grand Prize Winner, Transportation category): a distributed passenger check-in system for New York City’s paratransit network (Access-A-Ride). By creating a public, independent database of passenger pickups, On Board empowers transit advocates to assess and improve service schedules and quality and ensures a safer, more reliable ride for thousands of New Yorkers.
  • PASSNYC Opportunity Explorer (Grand Prize Winner, Knowledge category): offers a common application through which students will be able to both find and apply for over 200 NYC-based after-school, summer and weekend extracurricular programs.
  • nesterly (Grand Prize Winner, Community Resiliency category): enables older households with spare space to connect with young people willing to exchange help around the house for lower rent through a digital platform.
  • Dollar Van NYC (Judges Award Winner): a multilingual app providing real-time access to over 500 licensed commuter vans that provide rides for as little as $2.

Grand Prize winners received over $30,000 worth of cash and in-kind prizes, which included $15,000 in cash, admission into Civic Hall Labs' accelerator program, pro bono legal services from BakerHostetler, and discounted courses and workshops from General Assembly.

The Judges Award winner had the opportunity to pilot their app on LinkNYC tablets throughout the five boroughs.

Learn more at

View the winners from past NYC BigApps Competitions.

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