Local Team Awarded $500,000 for First Place in SC2 Challenge

"GREENSBORO, NC (August 17, 2015) – A strategic economic development plan developed by a local team of educators and business professionals has been awarded $500,000 for first place in the City of Greensboro’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Challenge prize competition. Their proposal for a Global Opportunities Center was one of six to make the final round of consideration.

The multidisciplinary winning team was the UNCG Office of Research and Economic Development, comprised of professionals from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC A&T State University, Guilford Technical Community College, Bennett College, the NC Small Business and Technology Development Center, and Boundless Impact. The team’s Global Opportunities Center, proposed for downtown Greensboro, would leverage the 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.

“This is the day we’ve all been waiting for,” says Greensboro City Manager Jim Westmoreland about the contest that was launched in early 2014. “The City is honored to have received six economic development strategies to accelerate job growth and business expansion, and we congratulate the winning team for its Global Opportunities Center concept. Those ideas will pave the way for the economic growth of our city.”

The award announcement officially concluded phase two of the economic catalyst challenge, which was part of the US Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) SC2 Visioning Challenge Grant the City received in 2012.

“On behalf of the EDA, I want to congratulate the winning team and all the teams for an outstanding competition,” says Thomas Guevara, EDA’s deputy assistant secretary for regional affairs. “The innovative solutions to strategic economic transition planning will enhance Greensboro’s capacity to develop and execute its own economic vision and strategies.”

The final outcome of the challenge was:
·         Second Place - $150,000 award - Gig G, submitted by Joel Bennett, Larry Cecchini, and Michael Hentschel. 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.
·         Third Place - $100,000 award - Gateway University Research Park Testing Center submitted by Gateway University Research Park representatives. Describes a testing center that would support the primary technological companies/industries of a community.
·         Fourth Place - $75,000 award - Cityfi submitted by Andrew Brod and Roch Smith Jr. Based on a true city-wide Wi-Fi network, the proposal expands 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 - $50,000 award – Global Greensboro submitted by Mass Economics. Aims to build upon the city’s and region’s assets by creating distinct local economic specializations that are valued and traded nationally and globally.
·         Sixth Place - $25,000 award – Lifelong Learning City submitted by Merrick. 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.
For more information, visit the challenge’s official website (https://greensborophase2.sc2prize.com/)."

- A Press Release

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