Feb. 15, 2014 By Michael Florio
The Entrepreneur Space, which helps food-based businesses get off the ground, is in need of additional revenue as its management believes it does not generate enough to sustain it long term.
The E-Space rents low-cost kitchen space to small firms that make everything from Jamaican meat patties to handmade dog treats. It also rents office and classroom space at below market-cost rates.
However, despite serving more than 165 clients, E-Space is in need of funds—and is pondering new ways to raise them.
“It costs about $650,000 to operate the incubator each year,” said Seth Bornstein, the executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corp, who is in charge of E-Space. “This is because our rent, payroll and utility expenses are very high–and there is the cost of running the commercial kitchen,” Bornstein said.
Furthermore, Bornstein said, “With any kitchen, things break and need to be repaired or maintained.”
The cost to operate the E-Space is high, while the rental revenue it generates from is not nearly enough, Bornstein said.
E-Space generates 90% of its revenue by renting its kitchen/office space, with the rest coming mainly from government grants.
Kitchen spaces are rented out to budding entrepreneurs in shifts, which typically last between six and eight hours. A shift that starts in the middle of the night costs about $165, while afternoon shifts go for $235.
“We do not want to raise these rates because many of the people we deal with run small businesses,” Bornstein said.
However, E-Space is considering selling food as well as holding fundraisers, Bornstein said.
E-Space has been the beneficiary of government funding since it opened.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has provided the Entrepreneur Space with about $270,000 since it opened three years ago.
The E-Space has also received some funding from New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, since it is located in his district.
“We would like to get more funding from city agencies,” he said.
Small sponsorships and grants have come from private organizations, such as TD Bank, Capital One Bank, Coffeed and the Durst Family Foundation.