Winners of the first annual Make It in Brooklyn Innovation Awards were announced last night at a special celebration at Circa Brewery. Following a month of public voting that drew over 1,000 votes, representatives from 14 startups, the Make It in Brooklyn community, and members of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, came out to see who would take home the gold.
The first award, the MaryAnne Gilmartin Innovation Award (for female-founded startups), was won by Benefit Kitchen, a startup that have developed technology that helps people understand their eligibility for public benefits and how to apply for them. Their work connects average citizens to federal funds they may not realize exist – a common issue that has results in $80 billion in unclaimed benefits each year. Announced by DBP President Regina Myer, the award was accepted by Benefit Kitchen CTO Daniel Beeby, on behalf of cofounder, Melanie Lavelle.