Manufacturer New York (MNY), a New York City-based fashion incubator and factory for independent designers, was selected out of 800 applications for the 50 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) awards. The start-up will receive a $50,000 grant as part of a new Obama administration Growth Accelerator Fund competition aimed at filling the gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
In accepting the fund, the accelerators will be committing to quarterly reporting for one year and will be required to report metrics such as jobs created, funds raised, launches and corporate sponsors obtained.
MNY CEO Bob Bland, said, “This is a tremendous honor. We’re very pleased that a sustainable business model emphasizing local design and production is now being recognized as pointing the way toward future job creation and a Made in America resurgence.” She added, “We’re hopeful that this recognition of our hard work will help to inspire other domestic manufacturers to move forward. Local apparel production is indeed beginning a renaissance in New York City, and we’re grateful that the SBA is willing to contribute to our incubator’s ability to help local startups and entrepreneurs.”
Founded in 2012, MNY offers full product development packages, including consultations, pattern adjustment, muslin, fitting and initial samples, for emerging and independent designer and brands. It also provides matchmaking services for brands interested in manufacturing in New York City.
As a start-up helping other start-ups, Bland said the extra capital will allow the accelerator to direct its focus on new programs and enhance its support system for its partners, including aiding MNY’s efforts to launch a 160,000-square-foot manufacturing innovation center for apparel, textiles and wearable technology in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She added, “It is going to help us do more high level strategizing and roll out better programs moving forward instead of focusing on the day to day development.”
Bland, which has been working with SBA for the last year, considers the award an indicator that the federal government understands technology is not the only sector worthy of investment. “Supporting small business needs to be a combination of advocacy and federal components,” she said. “The entire entrepreneur climate in the U.S. is diversifying and changing rapidly and the federal government needs to be aware that local and urban manufacturing really plays a key role in having a healthy economy.”
Other winners from 31 states represent a broad range of industries, including technology, farming, sustainability and incubators focused on mentorship for women-owned businesses.
SBA administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, said, “The SBA is empowering accelerators and startups that are on the cutting edge of successful, innovative new endeavors. We’ve seen the enormous success of the accelerator model in communities like Silicon Valley. We believe we can export this type of sophisticated support structure across the country to help start-ups become commercially viable and create jobs more quickly.” She added, “I want SBA to stand for ‘Smart, Bold and Accessible’ and these accelerators encompass all three of these goals.”