The Breakout Grant

Pictured: On Loop by Universal Design Studio
Photography by: Andres Sebastian for A/D/O by MINI

NYCxDESIGN's Breakout Grant for Independent Design


In a city filled with world-renowned design leaders, all five boroughs are populated with smaller workshops of talented independent designers who make up the fabric of New York City design. In that vein, NYCxDESIGN is initiating The Breakout Grant.

NYCxDESIGN supports the independent designers and design businesses who continuously create and innovate to make New York the design capital of the world. To promote entrepreneurship in design, NYCxDESIGN provides an annual grant for local independent talent and businesses to turn their next great idea into reality. The Breakout Grant provides funding for existing independent design businesses to go to market with a new product or project that is in late-stage development and can show demonstrated viability.

NYCxDESIGN will seek to fund independent designers or design businesses that embody the entrepreneurial, creative, and innovative spirit of NYC, with a foundational commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and sustainability.

In May 2021, NYCxDESIGN will give three local independent designers or design businesses grants to go to market with their next design product or project. One $15,000 grant will be awarded to support a career-making moment. Two additional grants will be given at $5,000 to support continued project growth.



NYCxDESIGN will consider proposals from designers/design businesses who meet the below criteria:

  • Your business is located within the five boroughs of New York City
  • Your business’ 2019 OR 2020 annual gross revenue did not exceed $500,000 as reported on your tax return
  • Your business category falls within one of the following professional design disciplines; Architecture, Graphics & Branding, Urban Design, Interior Design, Product Design*, Digital & Technology

*Fashion is excluded from Product Design

The Selection Process

Proposals will be accepted between January 26, 2021 and April 2, 2021. The jury will review proposals beginning April 3, 2021. Finalists and the three grant recipients will be notified.

Grant Recipients - What's included

One $15,000 grant will be awarded. Two additional grants will be awarded at $5,000 each.

In addition to funding, all three recipients will receive:

  • Recognition in a press release announcing The Breakout Grant recipients
  • Article about the grant recipients and their work in the May 2021 edition of NYCxDESIGN: The Magazine
  • Conversation with grant recipients broadcasted on DesignTV by SANDOW during May 2021 Design Days (May 13-18)
  • Conversation with grant recipients on The Mic (NYCxDESIGN’s podcast series)
  • Inclusion in the online gallery to showcase projects of all finalists
  • Opportunity for in-person feature in Fall 2021 to showcase the work you are doing with the grant funding (portfolio exhibition, studio tour, etc.)
  • Complimentary media package from the SANDOW Design Group* 
  • Robust social media package on @nycxdesign channels* 

All finalists will be featured in an online gallery to showcase their proposed products/projects. 

*Download the full brief here for more information on what's included and additional details. 

The Jury
Susan Sellers

Susan Sellers
Executive Chief Director

Justin Garrett Moore

Justin Garrett Moore
Program Officer
Humanities in Place, The Mellon Foundation

Kinjil Mathur

Kinjil Mathur
Chief Marketing Officer

John M. Nafziger

John M. Nafziger

Emmanuel Plat

Emmanuel Plat
Director of Merchandising 
The Museum of Modern Art

Cindy Allen

Cindy Allen
Editor in Chief
Interior Design Magazine

Coren Sharples

Coren Sharples
SHoP Architects

Ghislane Viñas

Ghislaine Viñas
Ghislaine Viñas

Gregory Switzer

Gregory T. Switzer
Managing Principal,
Gregory Switzer Architecture

President, nycoba / NOMA
Board Member, AIANY

Claire Weisz

Claire Weisz
Principal, FAIA

Victoria Milne

Victoria Milne