Business incubator planned for Staten Island’s South Shore

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The North Shore of Staten Island has been getting a lot of attention recently. But following a four-month study, the South Shore will soon be getting its due as well, with the launch of a business incubator.

The Staten Island Economic Development Corp. announced the results of its feasibility study for a business incubator on the South Shore, and a few weeks later, it released a request for proposals to individuals and startup companies interested in applying for admission into the program.

The study, which was funded through a $50,000 grant from Empire State Development through the New York State Regional Council and with support from former city Councilman Vincent Ignizio, will serve as a “central component for adaptive reuse in the South Shore,” according to the SIEDC. Conducted by Matrix New World Engineering, the study included an in-depth review of economic, market, demographic, land use and transportation data. It also included extensive site visits and analysis of business incubators and similar facilities in New York City.

“We are pleased that the study has confirmed what we hoped — that the South Shore is a viable location for the creation of an incubator that would include co-working and event space, an anchor tenant and a business accelerator in the same facility,” said Cesar J. Claro, the SIEDC’s president and CEO. “The project will encourage start-ups to consider Staten Island as a viable destination and will feature flexible, turnkey workspaces such as pod offices, a business lounge, conference rooms, administrative and mail services. Ultimately, we hope the incubator will help retain and attract small businesses to these neighborhoods and demonstrate the importance of collective planning and marketing for the area.”

The SIEDC said it feels affordable and accessible workspace is needed throughout the borough to accommodate modern demands. As such, the mission of the incubator is to “stimulate the establishment and growth of start-up companies and other compatible businesses on Staten Island and to help facilitate their growth and success. By fulfilling this mission, the proposed project will create jobs, provide essential business services and contribute to the economic development goals of the SIEDC.”

The incubator will demonstrate the importance of collective planning and marketing for the entire Business Improvement District area, officials said.

The feasibility study had five key findings, according to the SIEDC. Among them:

• The proposed location of the business incubator is a property located at 3970 Amboy Road. The SIEDC says the property contains full renovated office space that could house the incubator, and it is only 350 feet from the Great Kills Train Station.

• A mixed-use business incubator will be the most suitable type to establish, and could contain a variety of businesses such as legal, insurance, architectural, engineering, marketing and other service-oriented uses. The incubator could look to build specialty service clusters in the South Shore, such as information technology and media.

• The incubator could be established as a non-profit entity, as it could allow the organization to apply for more grants and funding programs.

• The study assumed the facility would contain a total of 2,500 square feet of space, comprised of three business incubator offices, three co-working spaces, 600 square feet of anchor tenant office space, event space, a lounge area, a private video/phone conferencing booth, an executive director’s office, a reception area, shared co-working desk space, two conference rooms, and other common and utility areas.

• The study found that the mixed-use business incubator proposed could be financially self-sustaining by the end of year three. To do so, though, initial uses and programming would need to be primarily oriented toward revenue-generating uses such as co-working and anchor tenants as well as a business accelerator program to facilitate financial stability in that timeframe.

Interested applicants to the business incubator are asked to fill out an application available on the SIEDC’s website, www.siedc.org. Responses are due prior to May 10 to be considered for participation. A full copy of the study is also available on the website.

For more information, interested parties are encouraged to attend a free seminar scheduled at the annual SIEDC Business Conference on April 27 at the Hilton Garden Inn.