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Small business to grow in Hunts Point

Bronx Times

Small-business start-ups now have a new home where they can network and work together on establishing a diverse array of businesses in Hunts Point’s historic BankNote Building.

The Sunshine Business Incubator, a 11,000-square-foot space with 180 workstations that can be rented by new small-businesses, opened in the BankNote at 890 Garrison Avenue with a ribbon cutting followed by a press conference on Monday, January 9. The incubator was established with a $250,000 New York City Economic Development Corporation grant to become the city’s eighth incubator, and the borough’s first. It can accommodate up to 400 entrepreneurs and encourage innovation and jobs generated by successful small business.

Joining Sunshine co-founder and managing director Cheni Yerushalmi for the opening celebration were Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYC EDC president Seth Pinsky, Congressman Jose Serrano, City Council chairwoman for the Committee on Small Business Diana Reyna, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation president Marlene Cintron, and Bronx Chamber of Commerce CEO Lenny Caro, among others.

“Over the past three years, we’ve worked with the private sector to establish eight business incubators that provide low-cost office space to new businesses in growing fields and the BankNote building is the perfect place to foster this type of innovation in the Bronx,” Bloomberg said. “Allowing entrepreneurs to rub shoulders and share ideas, in an environment that’s affordable enough to let them turn those ideas into action, is a key part of what we’re doing to create jobs and diversify New York City’s economy.”

The incubator is a business ecosystem, Bloomberg said. After being told by Congressman Serrano that the BankNote building used to print money and was a former penny factory, Quinn said that since Facebook was born in a dorm room, and Google in a garage, we should consider what could be born in the former penny factory.

“The opening of the Sunshine Bronx Incubator is a ray of hope for aspiring businesses in the Bronx and for the future of New York City,” Quinn said. “Just like our kitchen incubator, La Marqueta, in East Harlem and the City’s seven other up-and-running Business Incubators, I am confident the Sunshine Bronx Incubator will help spur job and business growth.”

The incubator should clear some of the hurdles faced by those starting up businesses, Quinn said. The center provides much-need, real-world support for the businesses, Quinn stated. The BankNote is a good location for the incubator, Serrano said.

Tenants who occupy the incubator community are called “shiners,” and can lease space on a month-to-month basis as required, Yerushalmi stated. Some of the benefits of obtaining a membership, which can start for as little as $99 a month, are bi-weekly networking events, mentoring, coaching, business training, company sports teams, and group benefits including gym membership, airfare, and car rentals.

“In over a decade of running office communities, we have found that entrepreneurs and independent professionals work better, smarter and more efficiently in a collaborative community than they do alone,” Yerushalmi said. “When you bring a diverse group of businesses together and provide the tools to support and nurture them, relationships develop, connections are fostered and opportunities result that get companies farther faster.”

Sunshine Suits also operates two business incubators in Manhattan. The co-founder of Sunshine is Joe Raby.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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