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NYC Curb-To-Market Challenge Launches with $500,000 Prize

The contest aims to leverage recyclable waste for manufacturing and drive toward a more circular economy in New York City.

Manufacturing entrepreneur Chris Graff announced the official launch of the NYC Curb-To-Market Challenge (CTMC), a contest offering a $500,000 prize for the best idea and business plan to repurpose New York City’s recyclable waste and locally manufacture a product to sell in the New York City market.

The winning entry will demonstrate the most efficient, sustainable and environmentally aware way to implement the entire process of sourcing and converting the recycled waste for use, manufacture a product locally in New York City and sell the product to the largest potential market. The winning business plan will receive a $500,000 prize, split between a $100,000 cash prize and a $400,000 equity investment in the associated startup. The winning team or individual also will receive involved advising from CTMC founder Graff, as well as access to a network of advisors and angel investors.

“As a manufacturing guy, I see opportunity everywhere I look,” said Graff in a statement. “In New York, we have tons of raw material, tons of manufacturing space and tons of hardworking, talented people. Putting all of those things together is a winning combination, and that’s where I hope we’re headed. Manufacturing drives innovation more than any other sector in the U.S., and I’m certain there’s a brilliant idea out there to help us strive toward a more circular economy.”

The application period opened on February 1 and will remain open through June 1. The contest is accepting proposals from applicants from New York City and beyond. A panel of judges will select finalists for in-person pitches. These finalists will be flown to New York City during the final two weeks of June to present in front of the judging panel. The winning business plan will be announced on July 1.

The CTMC judging panel is composed of leaders with diverse backgrounds in the manufacturing, recycling and New York City regulatory spaces. Along with Graff, judges include:

  • Bridget Anderson, deputy commissioner for recycling and sustainability at the City of New York Sanitation Department (DSNY)
  • Steve Brenneman, founder of the Aluminum Trailer Company
  • Tim Morrison, former CEO and chairman of Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies, one of the largest plastic recyclers in North America
  • David Smucker, assistant vice president at the New York City Economic Development Corporation
  • Gina Lee, founder of Circular CoLab and author of “The State of the Circular Economy in America”

“The NYC Curb-To-Market Challenge comes at a critical moment as New York City drives toward a more circular, zero-waste future,” said Anderson in a statement. “In NYC, we have many recyclable materials that have not been effectively leveraged in the regional marketplace. The CTMC will help address this inefficiency while creating jobs for hardworking New Yorkers. DSNY is proud to lend our support to the CTMC.”

The NYC Curb-To-Market Challenge website provides prospective applicants with basic resources to help them build out their business plans, including an overview of the recycling landscape in New York City, an example of a successful company in this space and a detailed list of resource streams available in the city.

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