NYC Curb-To-Market Challenge launches with $500,000 prize

NYC Curb-To-Market Challenge launches with $500,000 prize

Contest aims to leverage recyclables for regional manufacturing, circular economy.

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Manufacturing entrepreneur Chris Graff has announced the launch of the New York City Curb-To-Market Challenge (CTMC), a contest offering a $500,000 prize for the best idea and business plan to repurpose NYC’s recyclable material and manufacture a product to sell in the local NYC 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 $500,000, split between $100,000 in cash and a $400,000 equity investment in the associated startup. The winning team or individual will also receive involved advising from CTMC founder Chris Graff, as well as access to a network of advisors and angel investors.

“As a manufacturing guy, I see opportunity everywhere I look,” Graff says. “In New York, we have tons of raw material, tons of manufacturing space and tons of hardworking, talented people. Putting all 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 will remain open through June 1, 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 July 1.

The CTMC judging panel is made up of leaders with diverse backgrounds in the manufacturing, recycling and New York City regulatory spaces. In addition to Graff, judges include:

  • Bridget Anderson, deputy commissioner for recycling and sustainability at  New York City Sanitation Department;
  • Steve Brenneman, founder of Aluminum Trailer Co. (ATC Trailers);
  • Tim Morrison, former CEO and chairman of plastics recycling company Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies (AERT);
  • David Smucker, assistant vice president at the New York City Economic Development Corp.; and
  • 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 towards a more circular, zero-waste future,” Anderson says. “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 hard-working New Yorkers.”