Long Island Tech Startups Get Chance to Expand Overseas

GREAT Winners
Last year’s winners of the GREAT Tech Awards contest stand before No. 10 Downing Street in London. One of the prizes is meeting with the UK’s top business leaders.

Attention Long Island tech startups, London’s calling.

Recently Martin Cook, the United Kingdom’s deputy counsel in New York, toured the Island to drum up competition for the GREAT Tech Awards. Now in its second year, the contest is intended to encourage high-growth technology companies in our region to pick the UK as “a place where they can set up and grow their businesses.”

“I had the privilege of meeting with local companies at the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT) as well as at the Long Island High Technology Incubator (LIHTI) in Stony Brook,” said Cook. “I saw first-hand the impressive innovation thriving in the Long Island area. I encourage Long Island companies to consider this year’s awards and look to the UK as a destination to grow their businesses.”

But here’s the catch: the deadline for applications is no later than 11:59pm EST on Aug. 1. Finalists will be announced the week of Sept. 15, and the winners will be awarded at a gala event in New York City on Oct. 9.

The competition is run by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the British Consulate General New York. The categories are: education, finance, health, internet of things (sic), lifestyle and media. Judging the contest are Yinka Adegoke, deputy editor at Billboard; Douglas Atkin, fin-tech fund portfolio manager at Guggenheim Partners; Peter Cashmore, chief executive officer and founder of Mashable; Lily Cole, founder of Impossible.com; David Karp, chief executive officer and founder of Tumblr; Marco Mohwinckel, the global head of integrated care solutions for Janssen Healthcare Innovation; and Margaret Molloy, global chief marketing officer at Siegel+Gale.

Last year’s winners included TeachBoost, a Brooklyn-based company that has created one simple online interface to manage classroom observations and teacher evaluations; Floored, a company that builds software that turns 3D data into an interactive virtual experience; and Charitybuzz, a Manhattan-based company that helps nonprofits raise funds via online auctions with the world’s biggest celebrities and luxury brands.

The award winners get a round-trip ticket from New York to London in November, five nights’ accommodations plus breakfast at the Corinthia Hotel in London, a meeting with a senior representative from No. 10 Downing Street (where the prime minister lives), a customized business development program in London; plus legal services, accounting help, recruitment assistance and mentorship from UK business executives as well as three months of office space in Second Home, an incubator in East London.

The potential to form a lasting relationship that can lead to future success in the digital world is what drew last year’s entrants—and UKIT is hoping to repeat that formula this year. Right now there are more than 70 co-working spaces in London plus 40 high-tech accelerators to help startups get off the ground.

“The 2014 GREAT Tech Awards will attract the best tech talent from the Tri-state area and Connecticut, including Long Island,” said Cook. “It will offer companies a unique opportunity to expand their business both in the UK and from the UK, as a springboard to Europe.”

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