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Press Release

NYCEDC Selects Queens Library To Launch Culinary Pre-Accelerator In Jamaica, Queens

Dec 12 2016

Jamaica FEASTS culinary program will provide resources, training and workspace for entrepreneurs

QUEENS, NY—The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the selection of the Queens Library to operate a new culinary pre-accelerator in Jamaica, Queens. The Jamaica Food Entrepreneurship and Services Training Space (FEASTS) will provide resources, training, workspace and more for entrepreneurs seeking to start or grow their food businesses.

NYCEDC issued an RFP for co-working and/or incubator space for freelancers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups in the fashion, technology, new media arts/cultural, culinary and/or other business sectors. NYCEDC selected the Queens Public Library’s proposal to operate a culinary pre-accelerator, which will build on their Job & Business Academy, which prepares residents for the modern workforce by providing specialized training and learning opportunities, with an emphasis on technology training, to job seekers, aspiring entrepreneurs, and business owners.

“NYCEDC is proud to have selected Queens Library to operate the Jamaica FEASTS culinary pre-accelerator. Part of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, the launch of this program will provide the training and resources for entrepreneurs seeking to start or scale their food businesses,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “Pre-accelerator programs like Jamaica FEASTS will not only jumpstart the next generation of culinary entrepreneurs, but it will also help unlock Jamaica’s economic potential and spur the creation of quality, good-paying jobs for residents of all ages.”

“This partnership in Jamaica FEASTS as an ingredient for growth is both an exciting and natural one. The Queens Library serves as a top-flight community hub of lifelong learning and enrichment, and their winning bid to operate this culinary pre-accelerator will expand opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners alike. Pre-accelerator programs like Jamaica FEASTS are a critical element of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan and Jamaica’s future, and we have every reason to lend confidence in its operational success under the Queens Library,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

“As a major employer and critical resource in Jamaica whose mission is to provide lifelong learning opportunities for all, Queens Library is committed to supporting the revitalization of the community and happy this initiative will prepare individuals to be part of this renewed economic climate,” said Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “We are grateful to the New York City Economic Development Corporation for giving us the means to offer local entrepreneurs the tools to thrive.”

"JNLC is excited for the addition of the culinary incubator to empower and inspire our local entrepreneurs,” said Ian Harris, co-chair of the Jamaica NOW Leadership Council.

The Queens Library is currently holding promotional workshops for food business entrepreneurs. The library will start accepting applications for the full program launch in early January. The training component of Jamaica FEASTS includes 6 cohorts of 12-week classes, the first cohort running from January 29, 2017 – April 23, 2017. Following completion of classes, graduates will have access to the kitchen to test and prepare their goods, and opportunity to build their brand by selling goods in the Central Library’s Café space and through other opportunities within the library system.

Jamaica FEASTS is part of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a $153 million dollar neighborhood initiative announced in 2015 by the de Blasio Administration, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and NYCEDC. The twenty-one point strategic action plan aims to economically revitalize Jamaica, Queens by providing workforce training and small business support, initiating new mixed-use development anchored by affordable housing, and improving the livability of the neighborhood through investments in safety measures, green spaces and more.

To learn more about the Jamaica FEASTS program call the Queens Library at (718) 990-0895.

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.