Originally posted on CenterNetworks here.
Today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg outlined the city’s plans to boost the media industry in NYC in a variety of ways as part of MediaNYC 2020, which was originally announced in February.
Most notable and relevant to us, of course, is the effort to build a “Hive” space for independent media makers and other independent workers. The overlap with our ongoing efforts with New Work City and the Runway Project is obvious, so seeing the city make an increasing effort in this area is exciting for us. This, in combination with the city’s announced efforts earlier this year at fostering entrepreneurial growth, is beginning to add up to a real, noticeable effort on the part of the Mayor’s Office, the EDC, and others to foster healthy entrepreneurial growth in the city.
Creating an entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem
Effective spaces do two things: they help new businesses get connected and grow, and they provide a fertile ground for new partnerships to be discovered an evolve. We’ve already seen that progress in our community, where members have formed partnerships to start new initiatives such as LaidOffCamp and Zeitheist, among others. Freelancers, too, have found work in meeting and working alongside their colleagues, and through referrals that we pass along.
Our members also started and run the Runway Project, a community-driven education effort aimed toward people starting new businesses in the wake of the recession, and have helped dozens of newly independent New Yorkers get connected, educated, and on their feet in short order. All of this has sprung out of an environment designed to facilitate this sort of healthy activity.
Creating Sustainable Entrepreneurial Growth
The main challenge to establishing city-sponsored workspaces has been the fact that they have been historically temporary– reliant on below-market leases during bad markets which, when the markets rebound and prices go up, end up folding without external support.
At New Work City, we’ve been making lots of progress toward sustainability on our own. Our aim is to strike the balance between keeping membership rates low enough so as to be accessible to early-stage businesses and independent workers, while still maintaining enough cash flow to run a profitable business that gets everything at fair market rate.
For the new efforts the city is making in establishing spaces, my hope is that any new spaces that are established are done so in a way that creates long-term, sustainable economic growth. That means not relying on subsidy but on a sound business model that will survive tidal changes in economics and politics.
With the city increasing its emphasis on new and small businesses, I look forward to helping the city find ways to create this healthy growth in a city that is very much ready to take its place as a friendly place to be an entrepreneur.