2020 Make It in Brooklyn Innovation Awards Winners Announced
DBP’s annual awards recognize the best in Brooklyn’s tech and innovation industries
February 02, 2021
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) today announced the winners of the 2020 Make It in Brooklyn Innovation Awards, honoring the cutting-edge businesses pioneering innovation, advancing job growth, and contributing to the local community. COVID-19 brought enormous challenges for entrepreneurs and startups, and the Innovation Awards has particular significance at this time when support is so important.
For 2020, the awards were conducted entirely online, with winners determined by public vote in the categories of: Female-Founded Startup of the Year; Con Edison Energy Innovator of the Year; and Tech for Good - COVID-19 Response.
“Despite the difficulties of operating during a public health crisis, many entrepreneurs have forged ahead, leaning on creative and innovative approaches to advance their businesses, create jobs and support Brooklyn’s economy,” said Regina Myer, President of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “Make It in Brooklyn recognizes the leading entrepreneurs and startups that the borough has to offer and this year we are particularly proud to honor them for their trailblazing efforts. Supporting local business now is crucial, so we ask everyone to join us in celebrating these exciting new companies as they continue to introduce visionary, tactical solutions to some of our most pressing issues.”
“Con Edison is proud to support the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership by sponsoring their award highlighting the best work of our local energy innovators. Innovation and entrepreneurship are more important than ever as New York City recovers from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Frances A. Resheske, Con Edison’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs.
“The local talent featured in the Make It in Brooklyn Innovation Awards will be leading the way in building back our business community across Brooklyn and beyond,” said Jelena Kovačević, Dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. “In the midst of a crisis that has cooled so much of our economy, it is heartening to see entrepreneurship thriving in Brooklyn, reaffirming our status as one of the nation’s top crucibles for innovation — a reputation reaffirmed by local startups who stepped up to create solutions geared towards responding to the pandemic. The Innovation Awards winners bring that same spirit of tech for social good to social equity, clean energy, and education, three areas that are keys to meeting today’s challenges.”
With hundreds of votes coming in for every category, it was a tight race, but there could only be three winners!
Female-Founded Startup of the Year Award:
Cognitive ToyBox – Blue Ridge Labs alum Cognitive ToyBox helps children with school readiness and assesses progress with gamified lessons. The startup released free resources to support remote learning earlier this year.
Con Edison Energy Innovator of the Year Award:
Urban Energy – Triple-bottom-line startup Urban Energy is accelerating community solar adoption for NYC’s older multifamily buildings with solar canopies, financing, and battery storage solutions specific to this building class.
Tech for Good - COVID-19 response:
Edquity – Edquity helps to narrow equity gaps and facilitate social mobility with a digital platform to distribute emergency financial aid and resources to college students in need. The quickly growing team launched the COVID College Support digital guide this spring to help students navigate financial emergencies during the pandemic.
Each winner receives an award of $1,000, and a trophy produced by local 3D printing startup, Makelab. In lieu of the awards ceremony, winners provided acceptance videos, which have been compiled here.
About Downtown Brooklyn Partnership:
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership is a not-for-profit local development corporation that serves as the primary champion for Downtown Brooklyn as a world-class business, cultural, educational, residential, and retail destination. Managing three Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) that cover Downtown Brooklyn - the MetroTech BID, Fulton Mall Improvement Association, and Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn BID - the Partnership’s diverse activities include attracting new businesses and improving the environment for existing companies, facilitating the construction of public spaces and streetscapes that promote an active and cohesive community, supporting and promoting Downtown Brooklyn’s cultural assets, and encouraging a sense of place and an engaged civic community