January 9, 2012City's Eighth Incubator Will Support Up To 400 Entrepreneurs from the Bronx and Across the City
Sunshine Bronx Will Add to City’s Growing Network of Incubators Designed to Encourage Entrepreneurship Across a Variety of Sectors
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the opening of the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator, the first City-sponsored business incubator to be located in the Bronx. The Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator, which is housed in the historic BankNote Building at 890 Garrison Avenue in Hunts Point, will ultimately accommodate up to 400 entrepreneurs from the Bronx and across New York City over the next three years, and will further the City’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation across a variety of sectors. The nearly 11,000-square-foot space will provide approximately 180 workspaces – comprised of virtual offices, and physical on-demand co-working spaces, dedicated individual or team spaces, conference rooms, classrooms and common spaces - all wired to support the latest digital and video technology, and will assist startup businesses and entrepreneurs across various industries including finance, new media, technology, green finance and technology, biomedicine, and healthcare. The New York City Economic Development Corporation provided a $250,000 grant in order to establish the incubator, which is the eighth to open as part of the City’s growing network of incubators. Mayor Bloomberg was joined at the announcement, held at the new incubator, by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Council Member Diana Reyna, Sunshine Realty Management Co-Founder Cheni Yerushalmi, Dan Allen, Founder of SuperMango Media, Matt Weir, Vice President of Taconic Investment Partners, Paul Wolf, Co-President of Denham Wolf Real Estate, Stuart Schulman, Executive Director of the Institute of Virtual Enterprise, and Rolando Franco, IBM Executive IT Architect and University Ambassador to CUNY.
“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 Bank Note building is the perfect place to foster this type of innovation in the Bronx,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “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.”
“Creating the conditions for the City’s entrepreneurs to write the next great New York success story is at the heart of Mayor Bloomberg’s economic development strategy,” Deputy Mayor Steel said. “By expanding our network of incubators to the Bronx we will help hundreds more entrepreneurs open businesses that will create jobs and attract private investment to the Bronx.”
“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,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “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. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Steel, and EDC President Seth Pinsky, and my Council colleagues for their continued dedication to these efforts.”
“The opening of the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator is a significant milestone in the Bloomberg Administration’s ongoing commitment to foster entrepreneurship and innovation across the city,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “As the first City-sponsored incubator to open in the Bronx, Sunshine Bronx will play a particularly important role within the community, facilitating the growth of more Bronx-based startups and ensuring a bright future for the borough and its economy.”
“This new business incubator will offer start-ups and entrepreneurs in our borough the opportunity to grow at a reasonable pace, creating jobs without heavy overhead costs that can often stunt a new businesses early growth. I thank Mayor Bloomberg and the NYCEDC for opening this new amenity right here in the Bronx, and I look forward to seeing new businesses flourish thanks to the time they spent as part of this critical program,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“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,” says Cheni Yerushalmi, co-founder and managing partner of Sunshine Suites, which also operates cooperative office communities in NoHo and Tribeca. “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.”
“From soup to nuts, the incubator provides shared workspace and technical assistance for small businesses making the transition from working at home to using professional facilities,” said Council Member Diana Reyna, Chair of the Committee on Small Business. “The collaboration with NYCEDC, will help the inventor, innovator, or entrepreneur by providing assistance with writing a business plan, marketing, label design, and manufacturing. The Sunshine Bronx Incubator is an essential project that will get people working, keep communities growing and our neighborhoods healthy.”
“The opening of the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator continues the city’s commitment to working hand in hand with startup entrepreneurs as they grow their businesses and creative ideas,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz, Chair of the Council Committee on Economic Development. “I have visited incubators in Queens and Manhattan and know firsthand how important they are to the city's economic recovery and future.”
“Across the City, small business incubators have given entrepreneurs the space and resources they need to grow their businesses. They are a wonderful example of a working partnership between government and business,” said Council Member Annabel Palma. “I’m excited that this model is now being expanded and I’m confident that Bronxites will take advantage of the exciting opportunity to be a part of the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator. Thank you to Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn, the New York City Economic Development Corporation and everyone who made this possible.”
Sunshine Suites, which was selected to operate the incubator through an RFP issued in Fall 2009, has a long track record of supporting start-up companies and entrepreneurs, and since 2001 more than 2,000 companies and over 6,000 entrepreneurs have launched enterprises from their two existing Manhattan locations. The new Bronx incubator, for which Sunshine signed a ten-year lease with Taconic Investment partners, will become the third in the growing Sunshine network. Tenants will be able to license space on a month-to-month basis, providing them with the flexibility required of a growing business, and rates will start as low as $99 per month for a virtual office, while desks at the incubator will initially rent for $275 per month, and co-working stations at $195 per month. There is also a mix of on-demand co-working spaces, dedicated individual or team spaces, conference rooms and common spaces, all wired to support the latest digital and video technology.
Presently, there are 15 companies in the Sunshine Bronx community, which officially began accepting applicants this past fall. Following today’s grand opening, Sunshine Bronx expects to have an additional 30 community members using the incubator within the next three months. In order to attract top-flight entrepreneurs the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator offers an innovative application and review process, with candidates being required to submit an online application and undergo a one-on-one interview with a seasoned coach from the Sunshine management team. In order to be accepted, candidates must have an full-developed action plan and a three-month timeline for achieving their goals.
“We’re different from a traditional incubator because we won’t accept you if we don’t think we can help you succeed,” adds Co-founder and Managing Partner Joe Raby, Yerushalmi’s best friend and long-time business partner. “We try to understand your business objective, and create the bridges and opportunities that will help you achieve and measure it.”
“Before I came to the Sunshine community in August of 2009, SuperMango Media was only an idea,” said Dan Allen, current Shiner, and founder of SuperMango Media. “With the help of Sunshine and their partners at NYCEDC, Baruch College and The Levin Institue, I was able to convert the idea into an actual business.”
“We are thrilled to welcome the Sunshine community to the Banknote” said Paul Wolf, President of Denham Wolf Real Estate. “This partnership is a testament to what is possible when a developer, the public sector, and the private sector join hands to create a platform for innovation and economic growth.”
“Creating a climate where small businesses and entrepreneurs thrive is essential to innovation and growth,” said Jim Corgel, general manager startups and academic programs, IBM.
“IBM is excited to help university students from the New York City region develop their skills and innovations to improve our cities and communities as part of the SmartPitch competition.”
In addition to workspaces, the incubator will offer conference rooms, bi-weekly networking events with “Shiners” from all Sunshine locations in New York City, and support services including mentoring, coaching, and business training. Sunshine is also partnering with Monroe College School of Business and Accounting and Baruch College’s Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship and its associated Baruch Small Business Development Center to provide Shiners with assorted business services. Among them: developing business and marketing plans; evaluating and selecting funding alternatives, accounting systems and technology; supervising employees; and studying the implications of business decisions for all of its incubator tenants.
The Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator space was designed by architect Harel Edery, who is a member of the Sunshine community. Additional amenities for incubator tenants include:
At the event, the launch of the inaugural SmartPitch Challenge, a partnership of the CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise (IVE), the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College, IBM and the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator, was also announced. SmartPitch Challenge invites student entrepreneurs to develop, pitch, validate, and launch business concepts with an emphasis on plans that incorporate social business principals, and that celebrate New York City as a center for innovation and new business development. The challenge is open to all CUNY students as well as students from other New York City Colleges and Universities. The challenge will culminate with five winners earning the opportunity to participate in a summer-long business incubator ending with the launch of their concepts. The summer-long business incubator will include: an entrepreneurship boot camp in Vermont, space at Sunshine Bronx, expert IBM Mentorships, and summer stipends. Winners will present their new businesses in the fall 2012 and be recognized as IVE Fellows in a continuing support network. Students can enter the challenge and learn more by going to smartpitch.org.
“We have always encouraged students to come up with innovative ideas and concepts,” said Stuart Schulman, Executive Director of the Institute of Virtual Enterprise. “Now we will have the ability to nurture these ideas, operationalize them and bring them to life as actual businesses."
Originally launched in 2009, the City’s network of incubators is part of the Bloomberg Administration’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship within a variety of economic sectors. Through the incubators, the Administration is providing low-cost office space – more than 120,000 square feet to date - as well as training and networking opportunities to hundreds of start-ups and small businesses. Approximately 550 startup businesses are currently located at the City-sponsored incubators, and companies have raised more than $67 million in investor funding. The number of employees currently working at the incubators is more than 850. Some of these tenants have already graduated into market-rate space and continue to expand. The City’s network of incubators include, among others, 160 Varick Street; the City’s first incubator; the Hive at 55, a co-working facility for freelancers in Manhattan; and General Assembly, a technology and design campus in Flatiron. As an added piece of the Bloomberg Administration’s efforts to increase entrepreneurialism in 2010 the City launched the New York City Entrepreneurial Fund, the first City-sponsored seed and early-stage investment fund located outside of Silicon Valley. The fund makes up to $22 million available to New York City-based technology startups.
Entrepreneurs interested in obtaining space at the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator should call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov.
Stu Loeser/Julie Wood
Patrick Muncie/Kyle Sklerov (NYCEDC)
Fern Flamberg (Sunshine)