Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn Navy Yard seeks partners to develop ‘Equity Incubator’ for local businesses

October 21, 2020 Editorial Staff

The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation on Tuesday issued a Request for Expressions of Interest/Request for Proposals 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 proposed incubator, which would have a particular focus on African-American ownership, would provide MWBEs with the opportunity to leverage the resources, support and expertise available at the Yard.

Respondents to the RFEI/RFP would partner with Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. 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.

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The Yard’s landscape of business ownership and entrepreneurship is far less diverse than that of 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 the Yard’s companies in 2017, only one percent went to African American-owned businesses, two percent went to Latino-owned businesses and nine percent was invested in women-owned firms.

The Equity Incubator would provide MWBE entrepreneurs with an opportunity to leverage Brooklyn’s location at the center of the startup, innovation, manufacturing and tech sector universe as well as the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s own resources.

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

The incubator would also have access to the Navy 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. Ninety percent of its hires in FY 2019 were Brooklyn residents and more than a third lived in public housing.

Finally, companies operating out of the Equity Incubator would have an opportunity to partner with Brooklyn STEAM Center, a groundbreaking career and technical training hub that serves students from eight local New York City public high schools.

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