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BROOKLYN FOODWORKS WILL PROVIDE COMMERCIAL KITCHEN SPACE AND EQUIPMENT, BUSINESS MENTORSHIP AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES TO LOCAL FOOD ENTREPRENEURS IN BEDFORD-STUYVESANT
BROOKLYN, NY, February 3, 2016: Today, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Dinner Lab announced the grand opening of Brooklyn FoodWorks, a shared kitchen and culinary incubator in Central Brooklyn designed to provide affordable space to help burgeoning local food entrepreneurs as they prototype, launch, and develop their businesses. Constructed and operated by DL Labs, LLC, a subsidiary of Dinner Lab, Inc. and housed in the old Pfizer manufacturing plant at 630 Flushing Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the 10,000 square-foot facility will feature ample commercial-grade cooking equipment to meet the needs of a wide variety of food production businesses along with a co-working and classroom space where entrepreneurs can collaborate and learn new skills to enhance their businesses on a 24/7 basis. At full capacity, Brooklyn FoodWorks will accommodate approximately 100 businesses. Of the entrepreneurs currently registered, 88 percent are minority or woman owned.
Brooklyn FoodWorks will also provide various personalized business mentorship and programming offerings designed to address crucial aspects of creating sustainable businesses, including branding and marketing, product liability and insurance, early stage financing, and distribution. Additionally, Brooklyn FoodWorks will be a home for local food discussion and innovation and will host a variety of regularly-scheduled networking events, tastings and social gatherings that will be open to the public. The Office of the Brooklyn Borough President contributed a total of $1.3 million from its capital budget to build out the facility for Brooklyn FoodWorks and to develop programs in the next several years.
“New York City’s food manufacturing sector employs over 16,000 people and counting, and Brooklyn FoodWorks provides an environment for dozens of emerging businesses to create and sustain these jobs locally,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “By providing these diverse businesses with affordable access to the tools and skills they need to operate successfully, we are helping to ensure this diverse sector continues to expand across all five boroughs.”
“Brooklyn has become internationally renowned as a center for innovation in food, where cuisines from every part of the world are re-imagined by chefs whose artistry defines good taste in 2016,” said Borough President Adams. “Brooklyn FoodWorks offers a unique opportunity for aspiring chefs, many of them from the community of Bedford-Stuyvesant, to cook the dishes that will draw diners to restaurants and food trucks in Brooklyn and to prepare the artisanal foods that stock pantries around the world. These are the leaders of the ‘foodie’ renaissance that continues to create jobs and build the economy of our borough.”
“Food entrepreneurs begin with a passion for bringing their recipes to life, and Brooklyn FoodWorks is a launching pad for turning those passions into profits,” said Brooklyn FoodWorks President Drew Barrett. “By providing affordable, turn-key kitchen solutions along with robust business programming and mentorship, Brooklyn FoodWorks helps our members focus on getting their products out to market successfully and building sustainable businesses. We’re thrilled to be a platform to support the best food innovations of Brooklyn and NYC for years to come.”
“Dinner Lab is very excited for the opening of Brooklyn FoodWorks where we look forward to continuing our work of promoting up and coming culinary talent,” said Dinner Lab CEO Brian Bordainick. “We believe that many of the ideas coming out of this project are going to pave the way for new concepts in the industry, and we are humbled to back this fantastic facility along with the NYCEDC and Borough President Adams.”
“When it comes to food entrepreneurship, Brooklyn is in the dream making business,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. “Our residents already have global palates and driving ambition. Now, the presence of Brooklyn FoodWorks will give dozens more small food businesses access to the commercial equipment and advice needed to make their food business dreams a reality. As Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Small Business, I’m absolutely thrilled to have this culinary incubator in my district and I’m looking forward to seeing the businesses that begin here make it big.”
“Food and beverage manufacturing is a driving force behind Brooklyn’s growing economy, and this industry will only get better with the opening of Brooklyn FoodWorks,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura. “With so many incredible makers already calling the Pfizer Building home, this is the perfect space to open an incubator. Entrepreneurs and start-ups will now have access to the critical resources they need, and participating businesses being overwhelmingly minority and women-owned is the cherry on top of the cake. I cannot wait to work with and taste the products from all the amazing companies that emerge from Brooklyn FoodWorks.”
Entrepreneurs in need of additional financial support can apply for a $100,000 scholarship program that will be available to subsidize the cost of facility usage, classes and training workshops. At various times during the year, Brooklyn FoodWorks will also host job fairs, workshops and programming for those interested in new careers in the culinary world.
Food manufacturing is an important part of New York City’s greater economy, employing over 16,000 New Yorkers. This new incubator – the first in Central Brooklyn – is part of New York City’s growing network of 16 business incubators launched to date, which comprises over 160,000 square feet of low-cost space across all five boroughs. Through this network, NYCEDC has helped provide training and growth opportunities to hundreds of start-ups and small businesses across a variety of sectors in New York City. Over 1,000 startup businesses supporting 1,500 jobs have benefited from City-supported incubators, and these companies have raised more than $175 million in venture funding. Some of these startups have already graduated from the use of incubators, opening their doors in market-rate spaces and continuing to expand and create jobs.
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