Six finalists vying for $500,000 in Economic Development Challenge
Six proposals designed to stimulate job growth and business expansion are competing for $500,000 as the City’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Challenge competition enters phase two.
Gig G, a proposal based on the design and development of a publicly owned gigabit speed Fiber Optic network for use in the Greensboro community, was awarded $55,000 after winning the first phase of the competition.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan says the proposals offered by the finalists represent part of the future of the city’s economy. “Thanks to the SC2 Challenge and our six finalists, the City of Greensboro will have a new road map for better leveraging its vast and dynamic array of resources in new ways,” says Vaughan. “Greensboro can use these strategies to continue to create a climate for growing higher wage jobs and fostering innovation, as well as paving the way for long-term sustainable growth.”
SC2 Challenge Finalists
The winner is expected to be announced in May 2015.
First Place - $55,000 – Gig G (59.8 points)
This proposal was entered by Joel Bennett, Larry Cecchini, and Michael Hentschel.The Gig G proposal is based on the design and development of a public-owned gigabit speed Fiber Optic network for community use. The proposal also includes the formation of a 15-501C Gig-G Social Entrepreneurship Fund business model designed to foster business development and acceleration.
Second Place - $35,000 – Gateway University Research Park Testing Center (59.7 points)
This proposal was entered by representatives from Gateway University Research Park. The proposal describes a testing center that would support the primary technological companies/industries of a community.
Third Place - $10,000 – Global Greensboro
This proposal was entered by Mass Economics, a research and consulting firm based in Massachusetts that specializes in urban economic growth and equity. The Global Greensboro proposal aims to build upon the city and region’s assets by creating distinct local economic specializations that are valued and traded by nationally and globally.
Fourth Place - Cityfi (56.6 points)
This proposal was entered by Dr. Andrew Brod and Roch Smith Jr. The Cityfi proposal is based on a true city-wide wi-fi network. It includes the expansion of public wi-fi access beyond the limited range of hot spots in public parks and buildings to locations throughout all of the city’s neighborhoods and business districts.
Fifth Place - Lifelong Learning City (55.9 points)
This proposal was entered by The Merrick Group, which features representatives from NC A&T and GTCC. The proposal includes a vision that builds upon Greensboro’s unique educational assets and the new downtown university campus to create the Greensboro Union of Institutions for Learning and Development, called GUILD.
Sixth Place – Global Opportunities Center
This proposal was entered by a team from UNCG, NC A&T State University, Guilford Technical Community College, Bennett College, North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center, and Boundless Impact. The Global Opportunities Center would be housed in downtown Greensboro and is designed to leverage the extensive resources of local colleges and universities, corporations, and community partners by connecting and educating students and businesses in innovative ways that result in new global business and career opportunities.
Learn more about the SC2 Challenge. Watch the entire December 17, 2014 news conference announcing the finalists.
Interest in Greensboro’s SC2 Challenge prize competition came from 43 countries, 49 states
and 65 cities. In all, 20 strategic proposals were entered in the competition from multidisciplinary teams. The entries covered a range of economic development themes including workforce development, transportation, alternative energy, technology, place-making, and small business development, among others.
Each of the 20 submissions was rated by an evaluation panel assembled by the City. Just 4.2 points separated first place from sixth place after the first phase of scoring was tabulated.
According to City Manager Jim Westmoreland,
the City is looking forward to the great oppor-
tunities that these proposals represent. “This truly is an exciting day for Greensboro when you think about the prospects of each of these six plans,” says Westmoreland. “If implemented, each of
these plans represents economic growth, opportunity, and future success for our city and business community.”
Each of the finalists has the opportunity to enter phase two of the competition, which involves the final teams expanding their proposals by develop-
ing a more comprehensive economic development plan with attainable goals and objectives that can lead to implementation.
First place pays $500,000, followed by $150,000
for second place, $100,000 for third place, $75,000 for fourth place, $50,000 for fifth place, and $25,000 for sixth place.
The finalists’ plans will be reviewed by a separate, five-person selection committee chaired by Westmoreland (review list of members).
The economic catalyst challenge is part of the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration's (EDA) Strong Cities Strong Communities (SC2) grant that the City received in 2012.
Contact the City's SC2 Project Manager Prince John Gaither-Eli at 336-373-7573.