A new center that aims to turn engineers into entrepreneurs is coming to Harlem.
City College of New York’s Grove School of Engineering is launching a business incubator for student and faculty entrepreneurs, thanks to a $1 million grant from philanthropist Irwin Zahn, CCNY will announce today.
The entrepreneurship hive was conceived by Grove School Dean Joseph Barba and Zahn, an 86-year-old Brooklyn-born businessman and a 1948 CCNY engineering school grad.
“The measure of whether it is successful or not is how many companies it gives birth to … These companies hire people and they spend money in the community.”
“The measure of whether it is successful or not is how many companies it gives birth to,” Zahn said. “These companies hire people and they spend money in the community.”
Zahn started and built his own electronic connectors company in New York before moving it to San Diego in 1990. He sold the company, Autosplice, last year and founded a philanthropy, the Moxie Foundation.
Zahn has launched similar programs at San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego.
The Harlem center will provide equipment, financial resources, incentives and engineering and business guidance. The goal is for students to build prototypes and products and then learn how to market them.
CCNY will retain a small equity stake in any business that is birthed at the Harlem-based center.
“It could be new apps, it could a device for water infiltration, it could be whole gamut of things,” Barba said.
“We could have the next Andy Grove,” he added, referring to the school’s namesake, the CCNY grad who co-founded Intel.
The center will also provide resources to local Harlem small business owners who are developing and marketing their own products.
The Zahn Center stands out from other city incubators and entrepreneurship programs because of its primary focus on devices and manufacturing, Barba said.
It will provide a leg-up to CCNY’s students, many of whom are from economically disadvantaged homes, he said.
“If you look at our students, 85% are from New York City high schools,” Barba said. “These are students from the city, they will want to stay in the city.”
- Harlem’s 145th St Area Is Fastest Growing in NYC (harlemworldmag.com)
- With Retail Rents Doubling, Small Businesses Are Closing in Harlem (harlemworldmag.com)
- Awards Ceremony in Harlem to Honor Young Leaders of Tomorrow (harlemworldmag.com)