In the popular imagination, New York City is dominated by finance, media and other professional jobs of the kind likely to feature in slick television shows. But the steady departure of manufacturing jobs that once employed many of the city's residents has been embraced by city leaders as a challenge they can meet by leveraging access to the centers of commerce, education and technology for which the city is famous.
New York has traditionally ceded energy and cleantech leadership to other places, notably Houston and San Francisco, but is increasingly building public support for clean energy companies and projects that can replace its traditional manufacturing base and diversify the city's economy. Hard on the heels of Governor Cuomo's announcement of a billion-dollar Green Bank to underpin infrastructure development, the New York City Economic Development Corporation says it will open a new NYC Clean Technology Entrepreneur Center.
"Leveraging the City's leadership in software, finance, analytics and media, the Center will support the growth of next-generation clean technology businesses, helping to make New York City a leader within this fast-growing segment," the NYCEDC said in announcing a request for proposals to operate the Entrepreneur Center. (Read more about a New York cleantech hackathon held in 2012 here.)
The multi-use space has been envisioned by the group as a roughly 10,000-square-foot location offering business acceleration (through affordable, flexible workspace and mentorship to emerging companies), demonstration (co-located or adjacent space for testing and showcasing products and services) and education (co-located programming for accelerator users and the broader community). (To see a copy of the RFP for the center operator, click here.)
"Internet-based technology is a driving force behind the rapid growth of New York City's innovation economy," said David Gilford, who leads clean technology and energy efforts for NYCEDC. "This new Center will help startups use these same digital technologies to solve the City's energy and resource challenges. "The city is already the home of a state government-sponsored cleantech accelerator called the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE). The city's center is a component of Green NYC 2025, a broader initiative, designed to grow the 'green' portion of what remains a comparatively small New York energy sector.
"While clean technology has historically been dominated by capital-intensive, manufacturing-led segments, technology and markets are creating a new segment of the market" characterized by data and technology innovation, the group said.