NY Daily News article about the Workbox incubator

DAILY NEWS

Bronx

Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator continues to nurture local start-ups two years in 

The city-sponsored hub is pedaling promise in Hunts Point, a district that used to be better known for prostitution rings and pushers.

BY BETH STEBNER / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014, 5:44 PM

ALEX RUD

The incubator is located on the second floor of the landmarked Banknote Building in Hunts Point.

Here’s a ray of entrepreneurial sunshine in a neighborhood that really needed it.

A city-sponsored hub is pedaling promise in Hunts Point, a district that used to be better known for prostitution rings and pushers.

There are no Googles and Facebooks yet, but the New York Economic Development Corp.-sponsored Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator — housed in the landmarked Banknote building on Garrison Ave. — has already registered an impact.

Joe Carrano, 24, of Hunts Point, the community manager for Sunshine. He helps reach out to start ups, facilitate how one small company can help another.

“The Bronx is fertile ground,” said Joe Carrano, the community manager for Sunshine, adding that in only two years, the 11,000-square-foot space went from nine businesses to 72 startups and 120 workers.

Among the fledgling stars: A Bronx-based wine and rum distributor, a 3D animation and media company and a developer whose tablet-based accounting app got the green light from Apple last fall.

Miguel Sanchez, the founder of 3D animation company Mass Ideation, said the incubator — which resembles a hip SoHo loft — is helping to change the neighborhood for the better.

Entrepreneurs working on different projects in a space that allows them to share ideas with one another and work with like-minded individuals at the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator located in Hunts Point.

“It’s removing the fear of the Bronx,” the 35-year-old Throgs Neck resident said. As one of the first people at Sunshine, he remembers a time when clients were scared to attend meetings in the Bronx.

“Now, it’s cool to come up here,” he said.

Even cooler? His company had a hand in a top-secret ad that will debut during the Super Bowl.

Miguel Sanchez, 35, of Throg's Neck. Founder and CEO of Mass Ideation, which creates augmented reality apps and 3D animation; Sanchez's company also helped with a Super Bowl commercial airing during the big game. 

These start-ups have also benefited from their ready access to Start Small Think Big, a nonprofit group embedded in Sunshine that offers legal and financial advice to inner-city businesses.

In a nod to the palpable sense of community that seems to hold sway here, many of the incubator’s businesses use Workbox Software’s $4.99 per month iPad accounting app to track their finances. The developer, Bob Glass, is their neighbor.

Glass, 60, said he found Hunts Point after a fruitless search for office space in his Westchester neighborhood.

“I have no plans to leave,” he said.

bstebner@nydailynews.com



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