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Entrepreneurs Win Big at WeWork Creator Awards

Entrepreneurs Win Big at WeWork Creator Awards

This weekend, WeWork announced 21 entrepreneurs as winners at the New York City Creator Awards, a new global initiative awarding more than $20MM to entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits, and artists who are thinking in new ways, building fresh projects, and achieving real change.

At Skylight Clarkson Square startups, small businesses, and nonprofit finalists pitched before a live audience and competed with finalists from across the east and west coasts of the United States. 21 total winners in three categories were awarded $1.86MM in funding for projects ranging from a food startup that employees refugee chefs to a fashion line that celebrates women in STEM fields.


NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 16: Shareef Keyes and The Groove perform onstage as WeWork Celebrates the New York Creator Awards at Skylight Clarkson Sq on November 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for WeWork)

The awards ceremony was open to the public and hosted by the sister of WeWork Co-Founder & CEO, Adam Neumann, Israeli supermodel Adi Neumann. The evening event also featured master classes with legendary Harlem couturier, Dapper Dan, founder & CEO of AKT, Anna Kaiser, and more. Earlier in the evening, the event began with a job & skills fair with top nonprofits and tech startups like the ACLU and Morning Consult, a pop-up Creator Market featuring local makers, a performance by Beatbox Collective, free food and cocktails, and an after party with a live DJ set by Sky Ferreira and surprise guest T-Pain.


NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 16: T-Pain attends WeWork Celebrates the New York Creator Awards at Skylight Clarkson Sq on November 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for WeWork)

The top $360K prize in the “Scale” category went to Karim Abouelnaga of New York City for his peer-to-peer summer education program Practice Makes Perfect.

“With this money, I’ll experiment with cutting our price point to schools this year to saturate the market more this year and reach more kids. This year we’ll train close to 200 people, and we’re always looking for space. To be able to do that in an environment like WeWork would allow us to expose college kids to what work could look like in the future.”

All winners and nominees took on the same level of excitement.

“It was amazing to be able to get this award and to be with some really talented finalists,” said winner Jae Jin, who was thrilled about his decision to apply for the awards. “As Michael Jordon stated, ‘you miss every shot you don’t take.”


  • KARIM ABOUELNAGA, Practice Makes Perfect – (NYC) A peer-to-peer summer learning program that utilizes high achieving teens to teach and mentor fellow students in underserved communities – $360K
  • KAREN YOUNG, Oui Shave – (NYC) Brooklyn-based Oui Shave is the first women’s shaving system designed to be irritation-free – $180K
  • MANAL KAHI, Eat Offbeat – (NYC) Fills the gap in authentic and off-the-beaten-path ethnic food, all the while alleviating unemployment among refugees resettled in the US – $180K
  • RACHEL SUMEKH, Swipe Out Hunger – (LA) Partners with colleges nationwide to end college student hunger- $180K
  • SANGITA PATEL & LEVAR BURTON, LeVar Burton Kids – (LA) Aimed at promoting critical thinking and inspiring kids curiosity through STEM, diversity, equality, and social-emotional topics – $180K

LAUNCH: Businesses/ nonprofits launched and still learning

  • GEORGES CLEMENT,NYC – (NYC) Brooklyn Based organization helps New Yorkers repair their homes – $180K
  • SAEED JABAR, Inclusion – (NYC) The Queens-based company prepares underserved young adults of color for careers in technology – $72K
  • GONI LIGHT & YONATAN SELA, SoCo – Seeds of Collaboration – (NYC) Brooklyn-based SoCo brings all natural tahini to health conscious customers – $72K
  • MUHAMMED MUJEEB-U-RAHMAN, Integrated Medical Sensors – (LA) A simple and effective solution for accurate and painless glucose monitoring for diabetes management – $72K
  • PRIYA SHANKAR, Girls Health Champions – (SF) Uses peer education to train adolescents and cultivate a network of youth health educators – $72K


INCUBATE: Ideas/ projects that need funding

  • ALLISON HAUSER, Girls on the Run NYC – (NYC) A Brooklyn-based physical activity-based positive youth development program that is designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences – $18K
  • AMANDA PHINGBODHIPAKKIYA, ATOMIC by Design – (NYC) A Brooklyn-based fashion line and community for curious girls and women who aren’t afraid to wear their smarts on their sleeve – $18K
  • TRACEY COLEMAN, Purpose Driven Passports – (NYC) The Brooklyn-based company creates opportunities for travelers to donate their time, money and resources to underserved schools, orphanages and programs abroad- $18K
  • ALEX ETLING, Cave Theater Co. – (NYC) An indie theatre company dedicated to telling powerful stories with vigor, innovation, and artistic integrity in New York City- $18K
  • ERICA BUDDINGTON, Langston League – (NYC) The Brooklyn based company seeks to create a curriculum for agencies and organizations to connect to their diverse students and their learning styles – $18K
  • GABRIELLE ROSSI, Discover Outdoors Foundation – (NYC) Provides life-changing, educational, and fun outdoor experiences to kids in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – $18K
  • JOHN OQUIST, Dialogue Theory – (NYC) A growth agency bridging the art and science of interaction – $18K
  • LAUREN BIENVENUE, Once Upon a Laurén –  (NJ) Once Upon a Laurén gives new life to old leather by transforming the discarded and forgotten into wearable, usable art by hand-painting vintage leather jackets and clutches
  • JAE JIN, Jae Jin Music – (LA) Independent global recording artist paving the way for supporters to take in the experience of music in new, innovative ways – $18K
  • TINE CHRISTENSEN & MARISSA PARDINI, Blossom Project – (SF) Provides secure storage and a safe space for homeless women- $18K
  • SABASTIAN MUGAZAMBI, Adisa – (Seattle) A modern online marketplace that features artisanal products made by African artisans



ElizaBeth Taylor is a journalist for Times Square Chronicles and is a frequent guest at film, fashion and art events throughout New York City and Los Angeles due to her stature as The Sensible Socialite.Passionate about people ElizaBeth spent many years working as a travel reporter and television producer after graduating with high honors from University of Southern California. The work has afforded her the opportunity to explore Europe, Russia, South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. It has greatly influenced the way in which ElizaBeth sees a story and has created a heightened awareness for the way people around the world live today.

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