Last week, we spent the day in the Bronx, visiting with member companies based in the borough, local elected officials, and other tech leaders to hear their stories, see their spaces, and get to know their founders. The Bronx is the third-most densely populated county in the United States, and as a borough known for its diversity and culture—and being the birthplace of hip-hop—it is quickly becoming a new hub for emerging entrepreneurs and the next generation of NYC startups.
Fun fact: the Bronx is also the only borough in the New York City that connected to the continental United States.
We started off with lunch on Arthur Avenue with Bronx Council Member Ritchie Torres and a few of Tech:NYC’s leaders. Over mussels and other (very delicious) red sauce delicacies, we talked about the current political climate around tech and how he hopes to help attract and retain tech talent. Council Member Torres is committed to ensuring Bronxites have the tech resources and training they need to innovate and build companies in their borough.
From there, we continued on to visit Bronx Business Bridge, the innovation lab and tech incubator at Lehman College. The incubator connects local businesses and entrepreneurs with access to workspace, equipment, and training. Their program is exciting in that it also connects Lehman students to training programs in web development, marketing, and entrepreneurship at the same time it places them directly with startup clients that give them the real-world experience of building business solutions that clients actually use. With City Council funding, they’ve also recently added a state-of-the-art VR Development Lab, providing Bronx-based tech professionals to develop new skills in one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy.
Next up was a visit to Tech:NYC member Metabronx, an accelerator focused on startups founded by women and members of cultural minority groups. With a cool space in the South Bronx, Metabronx is providing business support and mentorship to companies like Bazaar and Neture, both companies that are working to expand access to online solutions for their communities. It was great to talk to their founders and hear about how they’re growing businesses that bake in the idea that tech can promote civic good and make people’s lives better.
A few stops on the 6 train and we finished our day at The Knowledge House, another Tech:NYC member. They’re working to to build a diverse pipeline of tech talent from low-income communities. After touring their new space in the historic Banknote Building in Hunts Point, we talked with co-founder and CTO Joe Carrano and his team about how they’re providing access to programming and web development training to New York’s future engineers. We’re particularly excited to see they’re focused on building curricula that isn’t just training for today’s tools, but looks ahead to the tech of the next decade. Jobs in AI have more than doubled in the past three years, with New York companies hiring for the more of them than any other place in the country. TKH’s programs in AI, machine learning, and other emerging tech is a sure way to set their students up for the best job placement and workforce opportunities NYC has to provide.
This is just a fraction of what’s happening in the Bronx. If we could’ve spent the entire week in the borough, we would’ve also visited with software company Startup Box, smart cities and data company Duro UAS, tech training nonprofit Per Scholas, and Fordham University’s Foundry business incubator, to name a few. We’ve also heard the Boogie Down Grind Cafe is a can’t-miss.
If you’re doing big things in the Bronx tech community, or know any startups that should be on our radar, we’d love to hear from you and hope to visit you soon.
NEW YORK CITY - APRIL 6 by Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock.com