Find Space – and Other Resources – at an Incubator
Running a business in its early stages can be difficult and costly in terms of rent, staffing, professional services, and advice, among other things. Participating in a business incubator can help startups to be successful as they develop.
Incubators usually offer lower-than-market-rate rents, access to on-staff consultants, and access to other entrepreneurs who are working through similar challenges of starting and growing a successful business. The word “incubate” literally means to protect and support, thereby enabling healthy growth and development.
Incubators are often run as public-private partnerships between city, state or federal agencies, universities, and for-profit entities. They may even be set up as nonprofit organizations. Regardless of the form, incubators offer what is arguably the most valuable service to entrepreneurs (besides cheaper rents and networking with other entrepreneurs): technical assistance and management guidance. This can be vital to a startup business’ success.
To find a business incubator in your area check out the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA). The NBIA is an industry organization that provides a locator for incubators around the country. The search tool will help entrepreneurs to find one in their areas. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYEDC) also makes available a list of local incubators.
Below is list of several incubators found on the NBIA and NYEDC websites. Most incubators focus on a specific industry:
Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator is a New York City-sponsored business incubator to help develop startup firms in the Bronx in different sectors, including finance, new media, technology, biomedicine, and healthcare. The Incubator offers networking events, support services such as mentoring, coaching, as well as business training through a partnership with Baruch College.
The Entrepreneur Space: This Queens incubator, operated by the Queens Economic Development Corporation, is available 24/7 and offers access to a professional kitchen on a shift basis. Through its partnership with Mi Kitchen Es Su Kitchen, the Entrepreneur Space helps budding food entrepreneurs to prepare food in a professional kitchen that can be inspected by insurance companies and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets—requirements for prepared food distribution in New York. Additionally, individual consulting, classes in all aspects of business development, buyers events, and access to micro-funding are provided.
Hot Bread Kitchen in East Harlem offers entrepreneurs in the industry access to a low-cost cost building and the equipment of a commercial kitchen. Support services also include assistance with recipe scale-up, and culinary business workshops related to financial preparedness, accounting, sales and marketing, and packaging.
NYDesigns: Creative design types — from industrial to fashion design and from graphics and web design to architecture – can find kindred fellows at NYDesigns in Long Island City, Queens. Residents of this incubator have access to studio space, consultants, and courses specific to design industry needs.
Pratt Design Center for Sustainable Innovation, connected to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, helps startup and existing design businesses to operate in a socially responsible and sustainable way by providing training in sustainable entrepreneurship and mentor-based coaching. Access to capital, office infrastructure, and consulting services are also provided.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), an industry trade group, launched the Fashion Incubator in Manhattan’s Garment District. The Fashion Incubator provides fashion designers with low-cost work and showroom space, educational programs, mentoring, and networking opportunities.
CLEAN TECHNOLOGY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE): NYC ACRE is an incubator located in Brooklyn that helps startups in the clean tech and renewable energy fields. It is affiliated with NYU-Poly.
The DUMBO Incubator in Downtown Brooklyn and the Varick Street Incubator in Lower Manhattan, both operated by NYU-Poly, accommodate technology entrepreneurs. The incubators are open to all startup businesses, but are focused primarily on those in the digital media, biotechnology, cybersecurity, information technology, educational technology, mobile, social media, and cleantech sectors.
IDENTIFYING THE RIGHT INCUBATOR
Before choosing an incubator, it is a good idea to compare a few, assessing the level of “fit” for each. To do so, try this handy checklist from 1000ventures.com to help determine the strengths and weaknesses for any incubator being considered.
Oslene Carrington is the Acting Director of NYC Business Solutions, Upper Manhattan Center and NYC Business Solutions, Washington Heights Center. If you have a question or comment for her, please drop her a note in the comments section below. And, don’t forget to share this with your fellow entrepreneurs via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, or your favorite social media site.