Brooklyn Navy Yard Initiative to Focus on Black, Women-owned Businesses

The incubator will have a focus on African-American ownership. The complete document can be viewed at BuildTheFutureNYC.com.
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The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC/the Yard) today issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI)/Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify operating partners for its Equity Incubator - a cutting-edge space designed to support Black and Brown entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses in their efforts to create, develop and grow their companies.

The incubator will have a focus on African-American ownership. The complete document can be viewed at BuildTheFutureNYC.com.

The proposed incubator would provide MWBEs with the opportunity to leverage the resources, support and expertise available at the Yard for traditionally underserved demographics within the larger business community in New York City, including Black and Brown entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses. Respondents to the RFEI/RFP would partner with BNYDC to create the incubator, develop its programming and raise funds for its continued operation. Several locations within the Yard will be considered for the incubator including Building 77 as well as Buildings 212 and 303 - light industrial/creative office buildings that opened earlier this year near the Wegmans supermarket within the Admiral's Row section of the Yard.

The landscape of business ownership and entrepreneurship is far less diverse than New York City as a whole, and the Yard recognizes the clear need to improve that outlook. Of the total amount of venture capital that was invested into companies in 2017, only one percent went to African-American owned businesses, two percent went to Latinx businesses and nine percent was invested in women-owned firms.

The Equity Incubator would provide MWBE entrepreneurs with a unique opportunity to leverage Brooklyn’s location at the center of the startup, innovation, manufacturing and tech sector universe, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s dynamic tenant ecosystem, reputation and track record as a mission-driven landlord.

Further, the Yard hopes the venture will meet specific needs of MWBE businesses and help them launch and/or grow their businesses through a combination of affordable and stable rents, programming including business training services, access to capital and markets, and community-building and networking events, to name just a few benefits of the proposed incubator.

The incubator will also have access to the Yard’s Employment Center, which plays an important role in the Yard’s efforts to support economic development and job growth in the surrounding community by providing hiring and support staff services at no cost to BNYDC tenants. The Center places a deliberate focus on providing opportunities to the chronically un- and under-employed, veterans, public housing residents, the formerly incarcerated and less skilled workers.

The Center connected a record-breaking 589 people to jobs in Fiscal Year 2019, marking a 28 percent increase from FY18 and the highest number of new recruits to join the Yard in a single year since the Employment Center’s founding in 1999. Ninety percent of its hires in FY19 were Brooklyn residents and more than a third (36 percent) lived in public housing. Approximately a fifth (18 percent) experienced long-term unemployment and/or were previously incarcerated or convicted.

Finally, companies operating out of the Equity Incubator would have an opportunity to partner with Brooklyn STEAM Center, a groundbreaking high school that provides career technical training to students from eight local New York City public high schools in a rigorous professional setting in the Yard’s Building 77. The school is the first of its kind in New York City and takes the Career Technical Education model a step further, bringing students interested in cutting-edge manufacturing and design fields closer to companies in need of highly skilled workers.

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