Entrepreneur Space, An Innovative Incubator
Speaking at the October luncheon of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) Executive Director Seth Bornstein began by stressing that timing is important, using the refurbished Sunnyside Arch on the south side of Queens Boulevard at 46th Street, to make his point. He said that in the 1990s, when the arch was badly in need of repair, a plan to fix it was suggested at a cost well under $100,000. The city balked at that suggestion and nothing was done. When repairs finally were made in more recent years, the cost to the city was well over $100,000.
Bornstein was at the meeting at Dazies Restaurant on Queens Boulevard at 40th Street to make brief remarks and introduce Katherine Gregory of the Entrepreneur Space on 37th Street off Northern Boulevard. Apropos of commendable persistence and bravery, he said he had heard Leymah Gbowee of the Women’s Peace and Security Network, one of this year’s three Nobel Prize for Peace winners, the previous week while at Columbia University for a conference on “social ventures”. Bornstein said Gbowee related seeing what he said were “horrible things we can’t imagine” during many years of warfare in her native Liberia, all of which made her determined to bring them to an end. That started her on organizing for peace. If one woman can achieve that much of a triumph, surely the doughty entrepreneur can succeed too, he said. He then introduced Gregory, recalling his amazement at seeing the baking facilities she has at the place formerly known as Artisan Baking Center, 36-46 37th St., and was enthusiastic about making it part of QEDC.
Gregory has worked for years with entrepreneurs in The Bronx and Queens, mainly in food sales. She told the SCC luncheon audience that she runs a business incubator, and that in an incubator babies can grow, but finally must leave it. Before they go, they are inculcated in the matter of working to make money, because, as she said at the luncheon, if no money is made, there’s no business. She tells them that they’ll need the help of lawyers and brokers and will probably have to take on the expense of having employees, even if only part-time ones. Entrepreneur Space clients have the advantage of being able to use the ovens even after going out on their own, but the goal is to find facilities of their own.
A recurrent QEDC offering at Entrepreneur Space is the Business Blueprint Series, consisting of one-night seminars from 6 to 8 p.m. The fall series began in mid-September with a seminar on sales. Remaining sessions, all on Wednesdays, are about negotiation (October 26); marketing (November 9), and advanced social networking (November 16). Another program, community clinics, begins Monday, October 24 with restaurant boot camp and continues the next night with social enterprises. The last two clinics, each on Monday, are about New York labor law (November 14) and tax tips for small business (December 12). For information about and registration for all these meetings, visit www.queensny.org or call 718-263-0546.
Several events were announced at the luncheon. On Thursday, October 20, a networking event at 5 p.m. at Sterling Bank, 30-30 47th Ave., is followed by Sunnyside Community Services’ Annual Benefit Gala at 6:30 p.m. at Studio Square, 35-44 37th St. For more information about the SCS event, visit www.scsny.org or call 718- 784-6173, ext 434. The 2011 Unisphere Gala will be held Thursday, October 27, at 6 p.m. at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. For more information, visit www.unisphereinc.org; to RSVP, call 718-760-6561. On Sunday, November 6, Sunnyside Artists presents its “$1.49 to $149 Art Show” at the Queen of Angels auditorium, Skillman Avenue and 44th Street. For more information, e-mail email@example.com. The first Luke Adams Community Service Award Dinner will be held Monday, November 14 at Dazies, 39-41 Queens Blvd; for more information, visit the SCC Web site, sunnysidechamber.org, or call Adams at 718- 784-8437. As well, visit sunnysidechamber.org or call Adams at 718-784-8437 for information about the Holiday Tree Lighting event on Tuesday, November 29 at 6:30 p.m. in Sabba Park, Queens Boulevard and 49th Street, and the second annual Skillman Holiday Lighting event at Skillman Avenue and 48th Street on Thursday, December 1 at 7 p.m.