EVENTS: Downtown Alliance's Downtown Digital Innovation Grant - Win A $10,000 Grant For Your Lower Manhattan Storefront (3.7.18)
Talk about putting your money where your mouth is…the Alliance for Downtown New York, which brings you some of downtown’s best programs (e.g. free public WiFi, LMHQ, etc.) and services (e.g. Downtown Connection Bus, streetscape and public space management work, etc.), launched the inaugural Downtown Digital Innovation Grant, a new grant program that will award one storefront business with $10,000 worth of services to improve their online presence or the digital tools within their stores.
We spoke with Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York, to learn more about this incredible opportunity....
Tell us about the Downtown Digital Innovation Grant...
The Downtown Digital Innovation Grant is all about finding ways to help our stores stay competitive in an ever-changing retail environment. This inaugural award will be fully funded by the Alliance for Downtown New York and help one business with $10,000 worth of services to improve their online presence or upgrade their in-store technologies.
What inspired it?
Our storefront businesses are the lifeblood and character of our neighborhood and we want to help them succeed. Digital innovations are key in the changing retail landscape, which is why we created this grant as a way to empower a store to grow its business. More and more people have started to look at products and services online to find out where they want to shop or dine, and they are using their mobile devices to pay for these purchases. By focusing on digital and online services, this grant could provide resources that our businesses need to reach more customers and increase their return visits.
Who can apply to be considered for the Downtown Digital Innovation Grant?
To be eligible, the business must be a ground-floor store that's located within the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District and committed to staying in the neighborhood. Additionally, they must explain why their business needs the grant; how they will utilize the services; their plans for maintaining the progress made; and the projected impact it will have on growing the store's business.
What should locals know about the Downtown Digital Innovation Grant?
We're looking to award this grant to the business that will benefit the most. Judges will focus on applicant's need, capacity to execute and creativity when selecting the winner. The winner will also be paired with a digital expert in whatever they choose to pursue for a project which will allow the winner to have a guide to online and digital business and come away with a high quality product.
What most excites you about the Downtown Digital Innovation Grant?
What excites us the most about this grant is being able to provide a service to a store that is changing the way we live and go about our day to day activities. It's also part of a larger initiative for us to support our local businesses. We recently added Heather Ducharme to our team as the Director of Storefront Engagement. Heather comes from working for the Mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts where she did a lot of work with the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce and local businesses. Day to day, Heather will be working to make sure that our businesses are aware of the support services offered by the Alliance, city agencie nd various third parties. She also acts as a sounding board for obstacles they might face and lends her expertise on how to best navigate comple ssues like licensing and permitting, among other things. Resiliency is an important subject for everyone in Lower Manhattan and Heather is going to be going store to store to help to educate businesses on how to best prepare for the next major weather event.
Interested? You can apply here. Just remember: The deadline to apply is March 20, 2018 at 11:59 pm.