Helsinki is teaming up with the City of New York this spring in two NYCx Co-Lab competitions. The challenges invite businesses in Finland’s capital to develop technology-based solutions targeting the neighbourhoods of Inwood and Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan. The first challenge seeks to improve access to mental health care for young people between the ages of 13 and 18, while the second aims to improve the flow of information on area housing.
The NYCx Co-Labs programme is a series of global innovation challenges that pursue innovative solutions to pressing neighbourhood issues in New York City. The NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the NYC Economic Development Corporation manage the programme, and Berlin, Canada, Israel, London, Mexico, Quebec and Singapore join Helsinki as the programme’s official international partners.
Challenge winners will receive USD 20,000 to implement their solutions, along with targeted feedback from the City of New York and other local experts for developing their winning concepts. The winners will gain visibility and access to New York’s key associated networks, and each of the competition’s finalists will receive publicity and feedback on their entries over NYCx Co-Labs channels.
The challenges concentrate on New York City’s Inwood and Washington Heights neighbourhoods. Some 210,000 residents live in these areas, with roughly 74 per cent identifying as Latinx and close to half of the population born abroad. More children and youth live in these neighbourhoods than elsewhere in Manhattan, making the per capita availability of the sparser mental health services for young people lower than the city average.
Housing issues, in turn, relate to the growing popularity of the neighbourhoods. Although there is a constant influx of new residents, the neighbourhoods have seen very little new construction. Approximately nine out of ten live in rental apartments built before 1947. As the competition for housing grows, city officials want to make sure inhabitants have better knowledge of their housing-related rights.
Interested parties are invited to submit their competition entries between 25 February and 15 May 2020. NYCx Co-Lab will announce the winners in June, and implementation will follow in the autumn. The pilots will be tested over a period of six months.
Contact point for startups in Helsinki is Program Manager Lauri Määttänen at NewCo Helsinki growth services: +358 40 522 8269, firstname.lastname@example.org.