NYCEDC Issues Request For Proposals For Startup Program Operators Focused On Supporting Underrepresented Founders

July 22, 2022

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for operators to expand the Founder Fellowship.

A program dedicated to supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs building tech and tech-enabled businesses across New York City thanks to a $1.5 million investment from the City of New York.

Kickstarting implementation of one of the key initiatives in Mayor Adams’ Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery. 

NYCEDC plans to select one or more operators to scale the Fellowship with a goal of serving approximately 100 founder teams.

The Fellowship is part of NYCEDC’s Venture Access NYC initiative to bring together investors, a diverse group of tech entrepreneurs, and industry leaders to build a more inclusive tech startup ecosystem in New York City.

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The Founder Fellowship is helping make NYC’s tech ecosystem more equitable and inclusive by supporting cohorts of underrepresented founders with access to critical support and networks as they overcome systemic barriers in fundraising and network building, including: 

  • Cohort convenings to discuss challenges and get business administration support
  • Individualized work plans to identify key needs and interests
  • Connections to capital providers and potential collaborators
  • Access to mentor and advisor networks

“Rebuilding, renewing, and reinventing our city and our economy means building back our city so it truly works for all New Yorkers — today, tomorrow, and for generations to come,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Our administration is committed to fostering a tech industry that is more inclusive and equitable than ever before, and one that looks like the diverse community it serves. Fellowships like this one help ensure that all of our communities can benefit from the tremendous opportunities that tech has to offer.”

“Fostering a more diverse entrepreneurial community in NYC can not only help us with our broader goals of building more diversity into the tech workforce, it will also yield better products and services for New Yorkers and our communities,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “Building on its pilot successes, an expansion of the Founder Fellowship will continue to level the playing field for entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds – giving them much-needed access to capital, resources, and networks to help them grow their companies.” 

“New York City’s entrepreneurial spirit is what makes our city unique,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball “The release of our Venture Access RFP will allow EDC to scale the invaluable Founder Fellowship program; remove barriers of entry for entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds; and ensure sustainable equitable economic growth as the tech sector continues to boom.” 

NYCEDC is seeking operators with substantial entrepreneurship networks and proven business-development success to recruit and facilitate the expansion of the Fellowship. 

The inaugural Fellowship cohort was launched in partnership with Newlab and currently supports eight founder teams working on innovative urban-tech solutions. 

Nationally, startups led solely by women founders received about two percent of venture funding in 2021, while startups led by Black and Latinx founders generally receive less than three percent of total funding raised.

To address this challenge, NYCEDC designed the Founder Fellowship to ensure entrepreneurs traditionally underrepresented among venture-backed startups can successfully build and grow their enterprises in NYC. 

Responses to the RFP are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on August 26, 2022.

Visit the Founder Fellowship RFP webpage at for more information.

An optional virtual information session will be held on Monday, August 1, 2022, at 3 p.m. ET.

Those who wish to attend should RSVP by email to by 2 p.m. ET on August 1, 2022.

New York City Economic Development Corporation

New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that creates shared prosperity across New York City by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs.

We work with and for communities to bring emerging industries to New York City; develop spaces and facilities for businesses; empower New Yorkers through training and skill-building; and invest in sustainable and innovative projects that make the city a great place to live and work.

To learn more about what we do, visit us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram

Photo credit: New York City Economic Development Corporation.

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