The BankNote Building, Hunts Point’s brick behemoth where money was once minted for countries around the world, is now headquarters for entrepreneurs who will try to earn their fortunes.
The Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator opened in the century-old former fortress of finance on Garrison Ave. in January, becoming the first city-funded business incubation venture to open in the Bronx. Eventually, up to 400 entrepreneurs will be able to set up shop in one of the center’s 180 workspaces.
The businesses will have 11,000 square feet of conference rooms, classrooms and common space in which to create and kibitz over ways of becoming the next Steve Jobs.
“The BankNote building is the perfect place to foster this type of innovation in the Bronx,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the January 9th ceremony to inaugurate the new venture, and added that “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 diversifying the city’s economy.
Tenants will be offered some flexibility to keep them from overcommitting scarce resources. They can rent virtual offices for as little as $99 per month, while renting a desk for $275 and co-working stations for $195.
“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 business’ early growth,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Sunshine is the eighth incubator to be established across the city, as part of a 2009 mayoral initiative. Sunshine Bronx officials say they will have nearly 50 entrepreneurs sharing the massive space within the next three months. Candidates are required to undergo an interview with Sunshine Suite’s managers, and are expected to present an action plan with a three-month timeline for achieving stated business goals.
“Creating a climate where small businesses and entrepreneurs thrive is essential to innovation and growth,” said Jim Corgel, general manager of an IBM academic program that has signed on.
“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.”
Tenants will also have frequent networking events with other incubator tenants from around the city, along with mentoring, coaching, up-to-date technology and other business services.
Entrepreneurs interested in obtaining space at the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator should call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov.