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NYCEDC Announces Launch of $30 Million Competition to Help Small Businesses Become More Resilient

NYCEDC Announces Launch of $30 Million Competition to Help Small Businesses Become More Resilient

Federally-Funded Competition Seeks Innovative Technologies from Around the Globe to be Installed at Sandy-Impacted Small Businesses Across the City at No Cost

Competition Will Foster New York City’s Long-Term Resiliency to Protect Small Businesses and Neighborhoods Against Future Storms

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the launch of Resiliency Innovations for a Stronger Economy (RISE : NYC), a competition to help small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy prepare for future storms, sea level rise and other effects of climate change. Businesses and organizations worldwide are invited to submit project proposals for the installation of innovative technologies at small businesses that sustained significant losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy and at small businesses that are most vulnerable to future effects of climate change. Up to $30 million will be awarded to install winning technologies at businesses throughout the City via the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Applications for the competition, administered by NYCEDC, are due on February 28.

Proposed technologies should improve the resiliency of building systems, energy infrastructure or telecommunication networks, thereby minimizing the impact of storm damage, outages and service interruptions on local small businesses. Projects will be evaluated based on their impact and effectiveness in addressing resiliency priorities as well as their potential to be replicated and installed on a wide scale citywide.

“We owe it to the thousands of small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy to do everything we can to help strengthen them against future storms and the effects of climate change,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This is a critical step in the process to harness the greatest resiliency innovations from around the world.”

“Recovery and rebuilding efforts have demonstrated the need for new solutions to strengthen the infrastructure supporting the small businesses that are the backbone of the City’s economy,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “This competition will identify the most promising innovations that can effectively minimize potential damage before severe weather events or, if damage does occur, help businesses recover and return to operation quickly, sustaining the City’s economy and bolstering the economic livelihood of thousands of New Yorkers.”

Through RISE : NYC, local, national and international applicants are invited to submit proposals for projects that enhance the resiliency of building systems, including fire protection, electrical equipment, HVAC and plumbing; energy infrastructure, including electric power, natural gas, steam and liquid fuels; and telecommunication networks, including wired and wireless communication infrastructure, data centers and platforms. Proposed projects may improve flood resistance, allow systems to fail gracefully, expedite recovery following an event or support the continuation of services during an event. They may be as diverse as new waterproofing materials that allow equipment to be submerged without sustaining damage; sensors that isolate damaged building equipment to prevent them from harming other systems; communications technologies that enable better information sharing following a storm; or self-powered or portable energy systems to power critical equipment if the grid goes down.

The competition also invites small businesses that sustained physical damage or a loss of power or utility service interruption as a result of Hurricane Sandy, or small businesses that are located in the inundation area or the most recent 100-year floodplain, to apply to become installation sites for selected technologies. If chosen as installation sites, small businesses will receive resiliency technologies at no cost.

Applications to RISE : NYC will be evaluated by NYCEDC staff and expert partners. To help evaluators identify and select the most promising projects, NYCEDC is assembling a group of leaders from across the public and private sectors to act as competition advisors. RISE : NYC advisors bring expertise in multiple areas, including infrastructure, building design, technology innovation, investment and finance, and the needs and concerns of small businesses and communities in areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  The expertise of the advisory panel will help ensure that the selected technologies have the greatest potential to improve resiliency and catalyze future private investment and wide-scale adoption across the five boroughs.

“This program is a win-win for businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy and for innovative entrepreneurs,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “RISE : NYC is a smart, innovative program that will help our city continue to recover from the effects of Sandy and build back stronger and better than before. I thank Mayor de Blasio, the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for spearheading this important effort.”

“We must make sure that this process will yield the most qualified experts who have a proven track record of creating innovative technologies that will help our communities recover and become more resilient,” said City Council Member Mark Treyger. “I look forward to partnering with Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, and my colleagues in the City Council to do everything in our power to get this recovery right.”

“Focusing on small businesses – as RISE : NYC does – is a great approach, since these are the businesses that need the most support in the face of massive storms like Sandy. Through innovation and cooperation, our City will become more resilient,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said “I applaud NYCEDC for taking another important step to help small businesses secure their infrastructure against future storms.  These businesses are vitally important to the economy of Staten Island, and this initiative will help to ensure that those who were impacted by Sandy will be better protected in the future.”

“I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball and the entire EDC team on the launch of RISE: NYC,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “This new initiative will creatively leverage private sector innovation for the benefit of Brooklyn and New York City small businesses. Fostering the development of new technologies that will help our businesses weather future storms more effectively is a win-win situation for all parties involved: the City, its businesses and its residents.”

“An investment in infrastructure is an investment in our future,” said U.S. Representative Joe Crowley.  “As one of the worst natural disasters to hit New York, Hurricane Sandy caused tremendous damage to businesses across the city – many of which are still working to recover and rebuild. The grants awarded through the RISE : NYC program will help businesses affected by Sandy make the critical investments needed so they can not only survive future storms, but emerge stronger.”

“This program offers small businesses an opportunity to employ innovative technology to protect them from the next flood and should help the City identify new strategies to make flood-prone areas more resilient. I am delighted that federal CDBG funding is being used in such a proactive way and I hope businesses in my area that were affected by Superstorm Sandy will take advantage of the opportunity they are being offered,” said U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney.

“I’m gratified that the federal Sandy Recovery funding we worked so hard to obtain is being used for innovative and useful programs like these,” said U.S. Representative José E. Serrano. “Helping small businesses prepare for future storms is a perfect way to help our community become more resilient and to help live get back to normal quicker in the future. The question of the next huge storm is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ and so being prepared is a great investment.”

“Sandy taught us that proper preparation can greatly reduce a storm’s impact and spare New Yorkers from hardship,” said U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velázquez. “This program will harness innovations for New York’s small businesses, making our City more resilient and resistant to future extreme weather.

“New York’s coastal communities, including over 68,000 existing buildings in the floodplain, are not easily retrofitted to adapt to future climate change risks.  That’s why the City is investing in resiliency initiatives that strengthen coastal defenses, upgrade buildings, protect infrastructure and make neighborhoods safer and more vibrant,” said Daniel Zarrilli, New York City’s Director of Resiliency. “RISE : NYC is an important part of this effort and will identify innovations in building technologies to support small businesses, helping to avoid the worst impacts from future extreme weather events and climate change.”

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of New York City, employing millions and keeping the economy humming, both in good times and in times of stress. But as we’ve seen, small businesses often don’t have the budget or expertise to prepare for or recover from catastrophic events,” said Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation.  “Superstorm Sandy impacted tens of thousands of small businesses, and while some have rebounded, many continue to struggle to return to pre-storm operations and profits.  The Rockefeller Foundation commends New York City for taking such an innovative approach to building the resilience of small businesses through RISE NYC, which will ensure owners have the tools, finances, and access to experts to not only survive the next storm but to thrive in the aftermath.”

RISE : NYC is part of a suite of City initiatives created to facilitate recovery following Hurricane Sandy, and is one of four business programs included in the City’s CDBG-DR Action Plan and supported by over $250 million in federal funds. RISE : NYC is also included in “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” the 2013 comprehensive plan put forth as part of the City’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency. Applications and additional program information can be found at the RISE : NYC website at

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.