Chapter News, News

NYCEDC Announces Opening of the Harlem Garage Business Incubator

Business Incubator Will Build Upon an Ongoing Renaissance and Provide Work Spaces to Freelancers, Start-Ups, Small Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations

Part of the City’s Growing Network of Incubators to Encourage Entrepreneurship and Create Jobs in Harlem

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the opening of the Harlem Garage, part of the growing network of business incubators throughout New York City.

Located on 118th Street, just west of Frederick Douglass Blvd., the Harlem Garage is an approximately 6,000 square foot space that will accommodate a total of 150 workers through daily, monthly and full-time memberships.  The incubator will also provide open desk space for up to 120 members with access to reception services, conference rooms, kitchen space, a mail area, fax and copy machines, and high-speed Internet capability.  The spaces will be rented out to freelancers, start-ups, small businesses and non-profit organizations seeking a full-service, professional working environment.  NYCEDC will provide $250,000 in funding to assist in the development, launch and operations of the Harlem Garage over a period of three years.

“The Harlem Garage joins a growing list of incubators across all five boroughs that are helping New York City’s entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “This incubator will help small businesses flourish, promoting the continued revitalization of Harlem and strengthening the City’s economy for years to come.”

“We’ve learned that innovation thrives on collaboration and productivity,” said David Rotbard, Co-Founder of MicroOffice, operator of the Harlem Garage.  “At a space like the Harlem Garage, entrepreneurs have a professional place to work and meet clients, as well as a community space to collaborate with other creative people.”

MicroOffice Solutions (MOS) was selected to develop, launch, and operate the facility following a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by NYCEDC in November of 2011.  MOS currently operates five co-working office spaces throughout Manhattan that offer a variety of professional options including both large and small private offices and flexible co-working spaces. This network will constitute an invaluable resource for the Harlem Garage community. The incubator will not only create new opportunities for Harlem businesses and entrepreneurs, but also complement the area’s arts, culture, and entertainment destinations by attracting new visitorsThe space will provide membership discounts to minority and woman-owned businesses, and will hold a business plan competition offering free memberships at the incubator.  It will also hold networking events providing members with opportunities to establish relationships with other local organizations and the surrounding community.

The establishment of small business incubators is one of several initiatives announced by Mayor Bloomberg in February 2009 to promote entrepreneurship and diversify and strengthen the City’s economy.  Through a network of 16 incubators either currently open or forthcoming, the City is working to provide emerging entrepreneurs with low-cost space — more than 160,000 square feet to date — as well as training and networking opportunities to hundreds of start-ups and small businesses.  This network of incubators includes Staten Island MakerSpace, which opened last week in Stapleton, and Harlem Biospace, which will launch later this fall, providing affordable wet-lab and microbench facilities, specialized laboratory equipment, mentorship and business support to early-stage life sciences companies.  Over 600 startup businesses and 1,000 employees are currently located at the City-sponsored incubators, which have collectively raised more than $125 million in venture funding.  Some of these tenants have already graduated from the use of incubators, opening their doors in market-rate spaces and continuing to expand and create jobs and drive economic growth within the five boroughs.

The Harlem Garage represents the latest phase in the ongoing renaissance of the Harlem area.  In February, the first details were announced of a landmark project to transform an underutilized area in the heart of Harlem into the Urban League Empowerment Center, a hub for arts, culture, retail and community use. The National Urban League will transform a currently underutilized 42,000-square-foot swath of property, located on 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Boulevard, into the Urban League Empowerment Center.  Once complete, this center will include New York State’s first-ever civil rights museum, as well as the new national headquarters for the National Urban League, a state-of-the-art conference center, and space dedicated to housing, retail and public parking. At nearly half a million square feet once fully developed, the Urban League Empowerment Center will be Harlem’s largest mixed-use development, and will continue to advance the reactivation of 125th Street Corridor.  These projects are key pieces of Harlem’s ongoing resurgence, providing neighborhood and cultural amenities, and creating jobs and economic activity in the area.

About NYCEDC
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.