This morning, Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Economic Development Corporation launched a new 3D-printing competition called “New York’s Next Top Makers” to invite promising NYC designers and inventors to submit their designs for a chance to win cash prizes and an opportunity to prototype their products. The announcement was made at the ribbon-cutting of the new 25,000-square-foot Shapeways 3D-printing “Factory of the Future” in Long Island City, Queens, which when complete, will have the potential to be the biggest consumer-facing 3D-printing manufacturing facility in the world. The mayor and the city are hoping that the contest will act as a catalyst for NYC entrepreneurs and makers and boost creativity and small business in the city. The cash prizes have still not been announced but the top six makers will win studio space from NYDesigns, a chance to bring their designs to life, and mentorships from Shapeways, Adafruit Industries, and Honeybee Robotics.

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“This contest will make sure New York City stays on the cutting edge of 3-D printing, an exciting new industry with virtually unlimited potential, and which could completely revolutionize manufacturing,” said Mayor Bloomberg about the new competition. “New York City – the center of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship – is a natural home for Shapeways, and we look forward to seeing what kinds of exciting products – and quality jobs – they can create.”

So how can you enter? The “New York’s Next Top Makers” competition will be organized into four phases:

– From approximately mid-November 2012 through February 2013, entrepreneurs will upload submissions, including filmed pitches of the product they plan to bring to market.
– During the submission period, qualifying entries will be posted online. Expert judges will select the five most promising entries, and the public will vote for a “people’s choice” entry.
– Over five months, from approximately April 2013 to August 2013, the six selected finalists will participate in a five-month design studio, to further develop their product ideas. During this process they will receive studio space provided by competition sponsor NYDesigns, as well as technical support, materials, access to equipment and mentorship from industry leaders such as Shapeways, Adafruit Industries and Honeybee Robotics.
– At a final public pitch event and expo in September 2013, during the second annual Maker Week, judges will assess the success of the emerging businesses and award additional cash prizes the most promising business.

3D-printing is nothing new for Inhabitat readers, but it only recently began blowing up in New York City. The new competition comes on the heels of the opening of a new Makerbot retail store in NoHo, and was actually the result of a New York City Economic Development Corporation study of 3D printing in the New York City which found that rapid prototyping and fabrication could enable designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs to develop new products quicker and at a lower cost.

If you’re an aspiring inventor, tinkerer or maker who is looking for a big break, this competition could be it so don’t miss your chance to enter – we’ll let you know as soon as the contest submission site drops!