The city of New York is about to step up its efforts to help nascent businesses and laid-off professionals, CNET News has learned.
On Wednesday, the city's Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC) plans to announce a new initiative to partner with a number of local start-up workspace companies. These office space providers rent desks, cubicles, conference rooms, and other resources to new and small businesses that aren't yet ready to take the full plunge into office space in a notoriously expensive market.
According to a source in the city's venture capital community, the agreement means that participating workspaces will provide discounted services and event space access to the city in exchange for promotion and publicity. Basically, this means that instead of actively developing rival shared work spaces--which could undercut existing private ones--NYC EDC will primarily collaborate with the ones that are already there.
A media relations representative from NYC EDC confirmed to CNET News that there would be an announcement on Wednesday but declined to provide any details.
The source said that initial partners in the agreement include Sunshine Suites, Nutopia, and New Work City, among others. But the partnership's first hub will be at 160 Varick St., in the SoHo neighborhood, which had already been selected by NYC EDC as a collaborative workspace.
It goes without saying that New York's business sector has been thoroughly shaken by the Wall Street crisis and ensuing recession.
In his State of the City address on January 15, Mayor Michael Bloomberg--himself a billionaire entrepreneur--announced that NYC EDC would work with the city's Small Businesses Services agency to help laid off workers find new employment at start-ups and entrepreneurial efforts, as well as devote more resources toward attracting new private investors.
In June, as part of the city's inaugural Internet Week New York festivities, Bloomberg announced a separate initiative called NYC Seed: a venture fund to provide up to $200,000 to local technology start-ups.