The mayor is counting on a former money-printing plant to make money once again.
On Wednesday, November 3, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with city officials and business leaders, broke ground on the first city-sponsored business incubator in the Bronx. The facility will open in the former BankNote Building early next year and is aimed at helping small businesses and start-ups grow throughout the borough. It will be called the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator.
“We want to help businesses get started and incubators are facilitating growth in under served areas of the city,” he said.“We’re helping the doers to become the next break-out success stories.”
The space will accommodate 400 entrepreneurs from the borough over the next three years. The building on Garrison Avenue will be ready to have its first tenants move in by February 2011.
The incubator is being established by Sunshine Realty Management, which recently signed a ten-year lease with Taconic Investment Partners for the property. The New York City Economic Development Corporation provided a $250,000 grant to set up the now-vacant space as an incubator.
With about 11,000-square-feet available at the Hunts Point building, officials expect the incubator to consist of about 180 workstations, which will include space for desks and freelancers. The space will be available for startup companies and entrepreneurs from industries including new media, finance, technology, medicine, green industries, biomedicine and health care. Space will be available on month-to-month leases that will provide emerging businesses with flexibility, officials said.
“This is an example of what we need in this city,” Assemblyman Marcos Crespo said at the ceremony, pointing out that the region of the Bronx that the facility is in has the highest rate of unemployment in the city – roughly 13 percent. “I am delighted that Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator will open in my assembly district and provide services for Bronx entrepreneurs. Based upon the incubator’s success in Manhattan, the Bronx program is expected to help many new and developing small businesses flourish in our communities.”
Cheni Yerushalmi, founder of Sunshine Realty, envisions the place will be a thriving center for businesses within three years. The businesses that come will be able to meet freely to bounce ideas off one another that will help grow their companies, he said.
The incubator will include conference rooms, bi-weekly networking events with tenants from other business incubators. Support services will also be available such as, mentoring, coaching and business training.The realty company has partnered with Baruch College’s Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship and its Small Business Development Center, which will also provide support services for marketing, and evaluating funding, accounting and technological systems.
“There is a lot more entrepreneurial zeal in the Bronx than anyone realizes,” Yerushalmi said. “Even if you have the drive and the enthusiasm, you need a community to make a business successful. We are hoping to make this a place where startups, grow up.”