Printer Friendly Format Share

PR- 412-11
November 16, 2011


New Harlem Incubator On or Near 125th Street Will Join the City's Already Growing Network of Incubators Designed to Encourage Entrepreneurship and Create Jobs in a Variety of Sectors

Nearly 500 Startup Businesses Have Raised More Than $39 Million in Venture Funding Through City-Sponsored Incubators

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel and New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky today announced that the City is seeking proposals from individuals, organizations and companies to develop, operate and maintain a new business incubator space in Harlem. The incubator, which will be part of the City’s network of spaces designed to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation across a variety of sectors, is an important part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to support the revitalization of 125th Street. Originally launched in 2009, the City’s incubator program provides a wide array of affordable workspaces available to small start-up businesses through the City, promoting entrepreneurship and making it easier to start businesses and create jobs. The New York City Economic Development Corporation today formally issued a Request for Proposals that allows respondents the opportunity to propose a variety of different programs to encourage entrepreneurship and promote economic activity in the area, including: startup businesses in the technology, new media, or services sectors; co-working space for freelancers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups; or a combination of those uses. Respondents are asked to propose and identify space preferably along, or within a two-block walk of 125th Street for the incubator space. Upon selection, certain funding may be made available to help cover specific start-up and operation expenses. Responses are due in mid-December, with selection of an operator to be finalized in the following months.

“As entrepreneurs work to create the jobs that New Yorkers need, our Administration wants to help them get their ideas off the ground and into the economy,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As part of our strategy to diversify our city’s economy, spur innovation and create jobs, we’re adding another incubator in the heart of one of New York City’s most exciting neighborhoods, Harlem.” 

“We’ve seen in neighborhoods across the City that the public-private partnership model for operating business incubators can have a dramatic impact on local communities and the businesses that participate in the incubators,” Deputy Mayor Steel said. “By expanding our incubator network to 125th Street we will help bring investment and jobs to this critically important neighborhood.”

“A new incubator in Harlem is another important step in our ongoing efforts to foster entrepreneurship in New York City,” said New York City Economic Development President Seth W. Pinsky. “Over the past several years, we have witnessed the ongoing revitalization taking place in Harlem. Now, by providing start-ups in the area with much-needed access to affordable workspace, they will be able to grow and thrive in a collaborative environment, while ultimately contributing to economic growth in Harlem and across the five boroughs.”

“In these challenging economic times, we must find innovative ways to create jobs and stimulate growth in the private sector,” said New York City Council Assistant Deputy Majority Leader Inez E. Dickens.The incubator concept can achieve these objectives.  Furthermore, it is an excellent opportunity for minority and women owned business enterprises to work as a group with a common overall goal to achieve their dream of owning and managing a business.  When I visited an incubator and talked to various business owners vested in the incubator, I was very impressed.  It is my hope that we will soon have an incubator in Harlem that will provide a wide range of job opportunities for the residents of my community."   

The new Harlem incubator will be an important addition to the 125th Street corridor, contributing substantially to the area’s economic diversification by creating new waves of entrepreneurial activity. The new incubator will not only complement the area’s arts, culture, and entertainment destinations by attracting new visitors to Harlem, but also support countless other businesses in the area, including restaurants and . A new incubator is important step in the City’s ongoing efforts to further revitalize Harlem and 125th Street. In April of 2008, a substantial part of the 125th Street corridor and its immediate vicinity were rezoned as part of a comprehensive initiative by the City to strengthen the corridor as a regional business district and bolster its historic role as a hub for arts, entertainment and retail.

The City’s latest business incubator, located in Harlem, will help small businesses and encourages entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground by:

  • Providing key programming, including business development and networking opportunities to tenants;
  • Providing a well-managed, fully equipped space that can be rented on a flexible full-time or part-time basis;
  • Offering affordable rents to incubator tenants;
  • Creating new, self-sustaining, and profitable businesses;
  • Enhancing revenue and profitability of existing businesses;
  • Creating needed space for entrepreneurship and innovation in Harlem;
  • Generating more demand for local products or services; and
  • Developing a self-sustaining operation within three years of the incubator’s launch.

Although an incubator or shared workspace model, which promotes start-up businesses, is preferred, respondents may also consider incorporating established tenants into their proposals in order to ensure the incubator remains financially viable. As part of their proposals, respondents will be expected to initiate conversations and negotiations with the corresponding owners and property managers in order to secure the space for a term of at least three years.

This summer, the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Steel, and the Economic Development Corporation also announced the selection of developers to rehabilitate the former Taystee Bakery Complex and the Corn Exchange Building, both located along the 125th Street commercial corridor. The two projects will result in more than 350,000 square feet of new state-of-the-art commercial space and are expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars of new economic activity in Harlem. The two sites, which had been vacant or underutilized for several decades, The projects will create 530 permanent jobs and 570 construction jobs.

The City’s network of incubators is only part of the Administration’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship within a variety of economic sectors. Through the incubators, small businesses are provided with 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 500 startup businesses are currently located at the City-sponsored incubators, and companies have raised more than $39 million in venture funding. The number of employees currently working at the incubators is more than 800. 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. The City’s growing network of incubators includes, among others, 160 Varick Street; the City’s first incubator; the Hive at 55, a co-working facility for freelancers in Manhattan; the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator in Hunts Point; and General Assembly, a technology and design campus in Flatiron. As part of its efforts to increase entrepreneurialism across the five boroughs, the City has also 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.

Reponses to the Harlem incubator request for proposals must be submitted and received by Thursday, December 15th at 4:00 PM. For more information, or to obtain a copy of the RFP, visit


Stu Loeser / Julie Wood   (212) 788-2958

Patrick Muncie (NYCEDC)   (212) 312-3523


TwitterTwitter   TwitterYouTube   FlickrFlickr
More Resources