Making is Partnering: We're Behind You

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is NYC's engine for economic development charged with leveraging the City's assets to drive growth, create jobs and improve quality of life. NYCEDC's Center for Economic Transformation is known for incubating amazing projects (many of which you’ll read about right here over the coming year). If you have any doubt about that claim just look at what has emerged from BigApps and the explosion of tech in general in this city since that program was introduced five years ago.

Naturally, last December when we saw an RFP issued from NYCEDC to build a program that connects Making, new technology and the future of manufacturing in New York City we were totally intrigued. We convened a team with unique experience who we believed would do great work together, believed in and were committed to independent product design and manufacturing in NYC and would have some fun throughout the process.

Since early Spring a team from SecondMuse, Upper West Strategies (UWS), New Amersterdam Ideas (Nuams) and Imagination in Space has been collaborating to design Next Top Makers 2.0. and build a program to support the needs we heard coming from the community: Where are the spaces I can Make? How do I manufacture my product? Where do I go to find resources to help me develop a product? etc.

So as we embark on providing resources and building a community of support around Making, we figured we’d use this post to introduce ourselves to you and offer ourselves up as resources to this community. We know and we’ve heard time and again that making, designing or building something new can make you feel isolated and it certainly is not easy, and so here we are as a team that shares a vision to support you and make Making in New York city that much more accessible.

The partners behind the scenes (and on the scene) include:

To start, there is SecondMuse, which is where I'm lucky enough to work. We are a collaboration agency and the project lead behind New York’s Next Top Makers. We’re best known for our work in the civic hacking space organizing initiatives like National Day of Civic Hacking and the International Space Apps Challenge. We are mostly virtual with teammates around the world, but we have been and will be floating around New York so look for us and connect at any of the Next Top Makers events throughout September. We will also be working closely with the six Fellow teams selected for the Studio Incubation Program. But in the meantime, don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or comments about the program. We're here because we want to hear from you.

Then there is Richard Robbins of the New York City-based consulting firm, Upper West Strategies. He brought his expertise in civic technology, education and public/private partnerships to recruit a seriously dynamic group of partners and sponsors who share our excitement about working with the New York City Maker community. Rich was AT&T’s Director of Social Innovation in a previous life and is a fixture in the local New York Tech Meetup and civic tech communities. Of everyone on the team, Rich has the best wit (for real). He is also out and about. So find him at a Maker-related meetup and just try to outwit him. I dare you.

Next, is the NYC-based New Amsterdam Ideas who designed and built For years, we have looked for ways to work with this team, because in our opinion they are one of the brightest stars in the open-source community! Nuams is led by Andrew Hoppin, the former CIO of the New York State Senate; he and his team recently launched NuCivic Data one of the world’s first ‘Open SaaS’ businesses. This team not only builds great open-source community platforms, but they also know how to karaoke with the best of them. Nuams will be adding an NYC-based Maker Map to this site in September where you can connect with, search for and find resources for Makers throughout the City. We cannot wait!

To curate content and bring the Next Top Makers community from the web to real life, we’ve recruited (and were lucky enough to convince) Greg Spielberg from the startup Imagination in Space to join this team. With a background in journalism and an aptitude for telling great stories through pop ups, Greg brings great energy to this group and serves as a resource to help you show off your hard work and Maker designs throughout the city.

This partnership, SecondMuse, UWS, Imagination in Space and Nuams, make up the operations team behind New York’s Next Top Makers which is brought to you by NYCEDC. But what makes this program so exciting is that we are partnering with Maker spaces across the City, Meetup organizers, Capital One Labs, Microsoft, Autodesk, Kickstarter, MAKE: media, and countless others to make sure that you have what you need to truly Make it here. After all, you are the ones shaping the future of the City, changing the trajectory of manufacturing and Making, inventing new tools and products, and creating solutions for better city life, and ultimately we are here to to support you in your Making.

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