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NYCxDESIGN Offers a Helping Hand to Independent Design Businesses

The nonprofit announces their inaugural Breakout Grant will provide up to $15,000 to support career-making projects.

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NYCxDESIGN is now accepting submissions for the Breakout Grant through March 26. Courtesy NYCxDESIGN

It’s no secret that the pandemic has had a serious impact on New York City’s ecosystem of independent design brands and small businesses. Conceived of as a way to support design entrepreneurship in the five boroughs, NYCxDESIGN’s inaugural Breakout Grant will provide a lifeline to three independent designers or businesses with a product or project that’s ready to go to market.

The grant represents one way the nonprofit is working to support the city’s design industry during a time of unprecedented turmoil and economic distress. “We need to see great ideas continue to prosper here and NYCxDESIGN is taking the lead to make that happen with The Breakout Grant,” says grant-making jury member Victoria Milne, principal of 6¢ Design and Milne Properties.

After the annual NYCxDEISGN Festival was put on hold last Spring due to the pandemic, the organization transformed itself into a nonprofit with the goal of offering more support to the city’s design community. The Breakout Grant is the latest in a slate of new offerings including year-round activations, awards, podcasts and publications.

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“Throughout the year, NYCxDESIGN supports and promotes the city’s design ecosystem from established design companies, to schools, museums, trade shows, exhibitions and emerging creatives,” says program director Valerie Hoffman.

But this program is specifically targeted at smaller designers who, because of the pandemic, have had projects put on hold or struggled to gain exposure. “The eligibility criteria for this new program was crafted to focus on smaller studios of talented designers, many of whom are particularly hard hit during the current pandemic,” explains Hoffman.

A jury comprised of 11 leading members of New York City’s design community will award one $15,000 grant to support a career-making moment. Two additional $5,000 grants will be given to support continued project development. In addition to financial support, the grant comes with significant opportunities for media recognition including the May 2021 edition of NYCxDESIGN: The Magazine, DesignTV by SANDOW during Design Days (May 13-18), The Mic (NYCxDESIGN’s podcast hosted by Debbie Millman, along with robust social media promotion. Recipients will also have the opportunity to hold a portfolio exhibition, studio tour, or other in-person showcase of their work in Fall 2021. The $15,000 grant recipient will also receive a complimentary media package from the SANDOW Design Group valued at $40,000.

NYCxDESIGN is accepting submissions through March 26, and NYCxDesign will notify finalists and grant recipients in late April.

“More than ever, New York City’s creative community is in need of support and the city is in need of its inventive, entrepreneurial spirit,” reflects Justin Garrett Moore, a member of the grant-making jury, transdisciplinary designer, and program officer for the Humanities in Place program at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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