BigApps Supports New Yorkers who Create Tech Solutions That Improve the Lives of Youth, Seniors, and Immigrants

NEW YORK, NY (Dec. 13th, 2016) —New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President, Maria Torres-Springer and Andrew Rasiej, Co-Founder and President of Civic Hall Labs (CHL) and Chair of The New York Tech Alliance, announced the upcoming NYC BigApps 2017 competition and the new partnership between NYCEDC and Civic Hall Labs at the New York Tech Meetup. BigApps is the premier civic innovation initiative for New York City that aids the development of products and services capable of addressing critical civic and urban issues in the City and improving the quality of life of New Yorkers.

Civic Hall Labs, a research and development nonprofit that helps build technology for public good, has partnered with NYCEDC to design and administer NYC BigApps 2017. This year’s competition has adopted a user-centered focus, with each challenge anchored in the expressed needs of community end users and the social practitioners who serve them.

“BigApps invites developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and residents to work together and create impactful solutions to pressing civic challenges,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “This year’s partnership with Civic Hall Labs will support participants with workshops and programming to help them develop innovative tools that will serve a diverse range of New Yorkers. We’re excited to see this year’s submissions, and to celebrate the civic engagement and creativity that make this city so great.”

Over four months starting in January, innovators from across the five boroughs will have the opportunity to submit a plan that leverages the power of technology to solve pressing civic challenges. This year’s competition will focus on three underserved groups in New York City: Youth (13-18), Seniors (65+), and Immigrants.

“BigApps has become one of the key reasons New York is known as the capital of technology built for the public good,” added Andrew Rasiej, President and Co-Founder of Civic Hall Labs. “Civic Hall Labs is thrilled to be working with NYCEDC on expanding this innovative program to benefit all New Yorkers.”

“Complex public challenges require sustained collaboration by diverse stakeholders, and BigApps is such a catalyst to that end. We are excited to partner with NYCEDC to run BigApps and help grow ideas and projects through our programming that will improve the welfare and wellbeing of our communities,” shared Elizabeth Stewart, Civic Hall Labs Executive Director.

Civic Hall Labs will also launch a series of product development workshops for the public and competition participants, providing valuable tools that support an empathy-driven approach to creating viable solutions. Through the provision of interactive, hands-on learning experiences, expert speakers, and panel discussions, these workshops will offer training in product development and catalyze the ideation and prototyping process for applicants. This year’s winners will also receive cash prizes and admission into CivicX, CHL’s accelerator program.


Competition Launch: Week of January 9, 2017

Product Development Workshops: Starting Week of January 23, 2017

Submission Deadline: April 30, 2017

Final Pitch / Announce Winners: Late May 2017

To learn more about the NYC BigApps 2017 competition, visit Follow updates on Twitter (@nycbigapps).


Over the last seven years, the NYC BigApps competition has catalyzed the creation of new civic innovations by awarding nearly a nearly half a million dollars in prize money, and generating more than ten million dollars in seed funding toward technology products that improve the lives of New Yorkers.

Past competitions have resulted in the development of viable, marketable tech products that solve for civic challenges, such as 2015 Winner Addicaid’s addiction recovery app, which received 300,000 downloads in its first year; and 2014 Winner Heat Seek, which aims to tackle NYC’s heating crisis and has partnered with advocacy organizations to install its sensors in buildings across New York City.


The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is the primary engine for economic growth in NYC, and is devoted to leveraging the City’s assets to drive growth, create jobs, and improve quality of life.


Civic Hall Labs is the Research & Development arm of Civic Hall. Launched at the 2016 Personal Democracy Forum, Civic Hall Labs seeks to reimagine civic participation for the 21st century, expand the field of civic tech, and demonstrate a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to designing and building technology for the public good.