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Press Release

NYCEDC Announces Rollout of Futureworks NYC Advanced Manufacturing Initiative

May 30 2017

Futureworks NYC will create over 2,000 advanced manufacturing jobs over next five years

NYCEDC also awarding $120,000 in grants to advanced manufacturing companies through Futureworks Growth Initiative

BROOKLYN, NY—New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the next phase of the Futureworks NYC advanced manufacturing initiative. Futureworks NYC will activate a series of partner networks and programs to increase access to advanced manufacturing technology, support startups, and help traditional manufacturing companies implement new technologies to help them remain competitive.

Futureworks NYC will directly create over 2,000 jobs as part of Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to creating 100,000 good-paying jobs over the next ten years. Futureworks NYC is a key component of Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Mark Viverito’s 21st Century Industrial Action Plan announced in 2015.

"Informed by our rich industrial history, the advanced manufacturing sector is leveraging 21st-century technology and creative services to bring production back to New York City," said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “Futureworks NYC will make this sector more accessible by connecting entrepreneurs with the technology and support they need to grow companies and create new jobs. This is all part of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to create 100,000 good jobs over the next ten years by investing in emerging industries that create better opportunities for New Yorkers in every borough.”

The Futureworks NYC initiative includes a comprehensive strategy to support growth in the advanced manufacturing sector across the five boroughs. The initiative includes the following four programs:

  • Partner Networks: Activating a network of existing, state-of-the-art local prototyping facilities for individuals and firms across the city.
  • Virtual Incubator: Offering a series of workshops, summits, community showcases, and events for startups to support product launches and business development, and facilitate connections to local supply chains.
  • Business Extension Services: Offering traditional manufacturers a tailored curriculum and mentorship in digital manufacturing, robotics, and advanced materials to help them learn about, access, and adopt new advanced manufacturing technologies, thereby increasing their competitiveness.
  • Advanced Manufacturing Center: Building an open-access workshop and fabrication studio providing tools, equipment, software, events, classes, and community programming.

As part of its efforts to support the advanced manufacturing industry, NYCEDC is also awarding $120,000 to four growth-stage advanced manufacturing companies through the Futureworks Growth Initiative. Each advanced manufacturing company will receive a $30,000 grant to expand their operations. These recipients include:

  • Duro UAS: A South Bronx-based manufacturer of eco-drone vehicles, sensors, and components for environmental research and urban development applications. The company also provides career readiness training in STEM fields for youth and adults.
  • Tri-Lox: A Greenpoint-based manufacturer of customized, sustainable wood products using locally-sourced wood to create everything from flooring to tabletops.
  • MYT Works: A Midtown-based manufacturer of camera, motion, and support equipment for professional video camera operators.
  • Thimble: A Long Island City-based monthly subscription kit aimed at teaching electronics to kids. Thimble kits include instructions and video tutorials to teach kids how to assemble products such as a wi-fi robot, LED cube, robotic arm, alarm clock, and quadcopter, among others.

“Tackling income inequality and supporting quality job creation are imperative to ensuring that New York City is a city for all, not just the wealthy few,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Companies like Greenpoint’s Tri-Lox showcase the innovative spirit of Brooklyn’s business community, and Futureworks is helping to build these enterprising ventures’ potential into future success stories. I thank the City for its ongoing support for our advanced manufacturing industry, bolstering the employers that will make certain our region remains an economic strength for the state, the nation, and the world.”

“The Futureworks NYC Growth Initiative is an innovative program that is helping New York City be a welcome home to today’s modern manufacturers,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Congratulations to Thimble of Long Island City on winning a Futureworks NYC grant and kudos to Coalition for Queens (C4Q) Ventures on being a partner in the initiative. They are contributing to an important effort to help both longstanding businesses and new firms have the ability to create good jobs in New York City.”

“Through grant funding and support, the Futureworks initiative has helped our local manufacturers adopt new technologies and increase production to expand their operations--bringing new economic life to our community. I’m thrilled that this initiative will continue and the new partnership with Coalition for Queens will help build a more inclusive and diverse tech community here in Queens,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.

“In order to create well-paying manufacturing jobs here in our city, we must tap into our economic resources here at home,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Our approach to growth should be as innovative as the companies and jobs we seek to support. That’s why Futureworks' continued success is key. By providing the tools, guidance, and support our growing advanced manufacturing companies require, we’ll meet our goal of inclusive and accessible economic growth.”

Futureworks NYC

NYCEDC has contracted with non-profits and advanced manufacturing organizations across the city to implement these new programs within the Futureworks network.

Partner Networks

To activate New York City's existing manufacturing community and provide individuals and firms with affordable access to resources and equipment, NYCEDC has contracted with the following local production facilities and institutions:

  • CUNY Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC): New York City's most advanced cleanroom facility open to academic researchers, entrepreneurs, startups, and industrial businesses. The ASRC houses a comprehensive set of fabrication equipment that enables users to develop novel micro and nanoscale devices across a broad range of applications.
  • Coalition for Queens: A Queens-based non-profit that will offer a new maker space and prototyping lab designed to address the challenges of inclusion and economic mobility in advanced manufacturing.
  • Staten Island Makerspace: A shared manufacturing space that will offer prototyping and design services for members and non-members, increased digital fabrication services, and access to new equipment.
  • SecondMuse: SecondMuse will be convening a network of nine existing state-of-the-art production spaces across New York City. Through this network, New Yorkers will have access to education and training opportunities around new technology, design, prototyping, and products; as well as the opportunity to attend events with community stakeholders. The nine spaces include A/D/O, Bronx Innovation Factory, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, Craftsman Ave, Collab, New Inc., NYDesigns, Voodoo Manufacturing, and Zahn Center.

Virtual Incubator

NYCEDC has contracted with SecondMuse, an innovation and collaboration agency, to offer a virtual incubator that will support startup advanced manufacturing companies through three stages of growth: “Design & Prototype”; “Market Validation”; and “Manufacture & Scale.”

Business Extension Services

NYCEDC has contracted with the New York City Industrial & Technology Assistance Corporation (ITAC) to increase traditional manufacturing and industrial businesses’ awareness of advanced materials, digital manufacturing, and robotics technologies, and to equip companies with the expertise to implement these technologies into their operations. ITAC is an advisory and consulting firm that connects New York City manufacturing and technology companies to ideas, resources, and experts to help them improve their bottom lines, grow their businesses, and achieve their strategic goals. ITAC is part of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) nationwide network.

ITAC will execute this technical programming in partnership with Cornell University’s Center for Materials Research (CCMR), the Edison Welding Institute (EWI), New York University’s (NYU) Tandon School of Engineering Mechatronics and Robotics Program, and Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center of Excellence for Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing (RIT COE-ASM); with execution and outreach support from Bureau Blank, the Business Outreach Center (BOC) Network, Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) and The Research Associates.

Advanced Manufacturing Center

The first project in the Futureworks NYC portfolio was announced in October 2016, with NYCEDC’s selection of TechShop to operate a 20,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing center at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, which is expected to support more than 200 businesses and create over 500 jobs in the next five years. The new facility is expected to open later this fall.

“We are truly excited by all the projects being funded through Futureworks, including LIC-based Thimble and C4Q” said Elizabeth Lusskin, President of the Long Island City Partnership, the local development corporation for Long Island City, Queens. “These and the support program being created by ITAC are very much needed and will help continue LIC’s growth as an advanced manufacturing and tech hub, and extending the benefits throughout this incredibly diverse community.”

"SIEDC has been the Industrial Business Zone provider for Staten Island for over a decade. In that time, we have seen a remarkable expansion in industrial and manufacturing in the borough. The Industrial Action Plan has played a critical role, and the Industrial Developer Fund is a particularly important effort. SIEDC is excited for the expansion of services through the Futureworks NYC initiative and is especially pleased with the creation of a virtual incubator component. A similar effort was launched by SIEDC in 2016 and has been very successful,” said Steven Grillo, First Vice-President, Staten Island Economic Development Corporation.

"Brooklyn is a borough of makers, and we need to nurture this growing industry," said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Andrew Hoan. “We congratulate Tri-Lox in Greenpoint for receiving this grant and wish them continued success with their design-build practice. We commend Mayor de Blasio and NYCEDC President James Patchett for advancing the Futureworks Growth Initiative and recognizing the significant role the manufacturing sector plays in the city’s economic development."

“With locations in 14 markets and 4 continents, TechShop consults and advises on innovation initiatives across the planet. Futureworks NYC is hands-down the most forward-thinking and well-organized network of support services for hardware startups and advanced manufacturing we've seen. What's particularly compelling about Futureworks NYC is its focus on women and minority owned startups and under-served communities that are all-too-often neglected by advanced manufacturing and innovation initiatives,” said Dan Woods, CEO TechShop.

“Working with NYCEDC, we have seen the NYC hardware startup community grow, connect and evolve to provide a uniquely supportive experience to hardware entrepreneurs starting their businesses here. From the growth of accelerator programs to additional coworking, prototyping and fabrication spaces to increasing connection between designers, business people, engineers and storytellers, NYC is becoming an incredibly welcoming place for these entrepreneurs.There is no other place where the city, entrepreneurs and private industry are working together quite like this to grow an ecosystem together – an ecosystem that both attracts new people to innovate with hardware and encourages founders to stay and build their companies right here in New York City,” said Katey Metzroth, Director of Cities, SecondMuse.

“Staten Island MakerSpace was built on the premise that we could give creative entrepreneurs the ability to start and grow their own businesses by giving them access to tools, equipment, and classes to build their skills. Futureworks NYC helps us expand that vision and enables us to give entrepreneurs, artisanal manufacturers, and startups more affordable access to industrial and advanced manufacturing tools, skills, and prototyping services, to make their ideas come to life,” said Scott Van Campen, Executive Director Staten Island Makerspace.

“The CUNY ASRC NanoFab is excited to expand its community of diverse scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs by offering advanced fabrication equipment, training, and programming to NYC’s ever-expanding high-tech industry. We are thrilled to be partnering with NYCEDC to create more opportunities for young startups and spur the creation of new jobs in this growing field," said Dr. Jacob Trevino, CUNY ASRC NanoFab Facility Director.

“Futureworks NYC recognizes advanced manufacturing as essential to the future competitiveness of the NYC industrial community and enables transformative change through a series of targeted programs. The Business Extension Services initiative will enable ITAC and its partners to develop highly relevant programming that will not only connect leading experts in advanced materials, digital manufacturing, and robotics to individual NYC manufacturers but also provide the initial support to engage such experts with our manufacturers for actual technology implementation. This is especially important, as transformative change will result both from the knowledge of advanced technologies, and its thoughtful implementation at individual manufacturers. We are excited to be part of this important initiative,” said Kinda Younes, Executive Director, ITAC.

"Assistance from Futureworks is critical for small advanced manufacturing companies like ours, which face higher operating costs and different workspace considerations than software development companies. With Futureworks’ help, Duro was able to invest in machinery and human capital, allowing the company to accelerate its engineering schedule and grow faster than otherwise possible. This type of city-sponsored investment in tech is part of what makes NYC a great place for startups to do business,” said Brian Wilson, CEO Duro UAS.

“We are really excited about the grant. It will help us upgrade to a larger, more productive and efficient shop near Industry City in Brooklyn. We are outfitting the new shop with state of the art metal working machines and bringing all of our production in house. We are also looking forward to a dedicated space and an inviting store front. We will be able to conduct shop tours and consumer education programs. We will also have a product showroom for demonstrations. This is a fun and transformational moment for the company!" said Patricia Rattray, MYT Works Director of Sales and Marketing.

“Like many entrepreneurs, we've shed blood, sweat, and tears doing what we do and it's incredible to know that Futureworks NYC is in our corner as we continue to grow the company here in the city. Part of this award will go towards manufacturing in-house by collaborating with local partners and streamline efforts to do our own fulfillment as well. For any budding entrepreneurs out there interested in starting a company in hardware, it's most definitely possible to start and grow your business here in NYC. We're looking forward to sharing our knowledge and success with the rest of the community,” said Oscar Pedroso, Founder/CEO of Thimble.

“It's tough starting a technology company in New York, and NYCEDC—through the Next Top Makers and the Futureworks Growth Initiative—provided access to mentors, business guidance and grant money that made a difference for us. They helped us get off the ground and now we're able to realize our mission—changing the game for musicians with innovative music technology," said Tlacael Esparza, Co-founder of Sunhouse.

“NYCEDC’s New York’s Next Top Makers program was our introduction into the Hardware/Startup ecosystem. When we walked in, we had a very revolutionary, but untested idea that we could build a language around touch and use haptic design to communicate information in a more intuitive and less obtrusive way. The idea was out there, and with only a video and some rudimentary prototypes, they gave us a platform, multiple spaces, mentorship, and access to an audience who were deeply interested in our success. The infrastructure that is being built in NYC to support hardware-centric startups is important. Hardware companies face challenges that aren’t experienced in the well-invested software industry. The paybacks are longer, the product takes longer, and you can’t change it once it’s shipped… To put it simply, hardware is hard. And I can honestly say that without the belief and guidance of NYCEDC staff, mentors and community partners, WearWorks might not exist. Innovation and disruption usually come from the places that we least expect, and we deeply appreciate the foresight (and the faith) that the panelist had in selecting a rag-tag band with a video and an idea to change the way we think about touch,” said Keith Kirkland, CEO + Co-founder, WearWorks.

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.