For The People

Easy Food Stamps

We want to make it more user-friendly to interact with the government. We believe that people who qualify for government services should be able to access them quickly and painlessly. That's why we're building the digital equivalent of a trusted friend who helps you navigate complex forms - starting with SNAP.

SNAP (commonly known as food stamps) is the largest nutrition assistance program in America. 1.7 million residents of New York City (21%) receive food stamp benefits, and another 500,000 are eligible. SNAP is a critical benefit for more than one in five New York families who need help putting food on the table.

Simultaneously, smartphone usage has grown rapidly among low-income communities. Of low-income Americans who use the internet on cell phones, 45% go online mostly with their cell phone. The cell phone presents a powerful opportunity to democratize access to information, to reduce the hassle of submitting paperwork, and to alleviate strain on high-touch services that currently deal with SNAP enrollment.

That's why we want to build mobile-first tools that simplify the SNAP enrollment process, reducing the complexity of filing an initial enrollment form and eliminating the hassle of submitting paper documents. We believe that making government services user-friendly does more than just save time and money -- we believe that it makes government feel less initimidating, more accessible, and closer to being truly For The People.

Meet The Team

Jimmy Chen

Jimmy is a fellow at Signicance Labs. Previously, Jimmy was a Product Manager at Facebook. At Facebook, he led product for Facebook Groups, a communication tool used by 7% of the global population each month. Before that, he worked at LinkedIn and The World Bank.

Kevin Miller

Kevin is a developer at Significance Labs. He also teaches Computer Science through General Assembly. He previously co-founded several New York-based startups, including a group video platform called Wisdomly and an apartment broker tool called Rentista.

Shelly Ni

Shelly is a designer at Significance Labs. She recently graduated with an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, where her Master's Thesis centered on using technology to make it easier to obtain a government ID.

Wenting Zhang

Wenting is a designer and web developer at Significance Labs. She previously did UX design and frontend development for The Huffington Post, and has a Masters degree from Parsons School of Design.

BigApps is the premier showcase of NYC’s tech ecosystem. It’s a competition that empowers New York’s sharpest minds to solve the city’s toughest challenges through technology, making NYC a better place to Live, Work, Learn, and Play. Whether you’re a hacker or a maker, a designer or an investor, a novice or a pro, we provide resources that make it easy to make a difference. Come to build. Come to network. Come to win.

NYC BigApps 2014 is an initiative of NYCEDC to promote government transparency and the creation of innovative new technologies. Following NYC BigApps 2013, this year’s event is the fifth annual run of the competition and is being managed by HR&A Advisors in collaboration with Super Vision and Splash.

Who We Need


  • Front End Developer

    Description of what this role entails for the start-up.

The Issues We’re Trying To Solve

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DATA WE’re using:

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