YONKERS, N.Y. -- Something powerful is going on in Yonkers.
It's the new PowerLab, set to open in May, a co-working center geared toward community start-ups, nonprofits, freelancers and disadvantaged youth.
The space, located in a 2,700 square-foot office suite in the Highland Hill section of Southwest Yonkers, is a partnership between the Community Governance and Development Council (CGDC), a Yonkers-based nonprofit organization designed to empower the residents of Southwest Yonkers through urban planning, and community leadership development, and a team of local entrepreneurs.
This has been a project two years in the making, according to LaMont Badru, a lifelong Yonkers resident and Executive Director of CGDC.
"The primary need voiced by the community was the lack of economic opportunity, particularly for youth," he said. "One in three people in Southwest Yonkers lives under the poverty line.
"ThePowerLab is a direct response to that because we believe that if given the resources and opportunity, we can create the jobs that will uplift our neighborhoods, and lead the projects that will make our communities better for our children.”
To make the project a reality, CGDC has partnered with Defiant Media Group (DMG), a tech-savvy business marketing and management company that will be leading the operations and marketing for ThePowerLab.
There is also a crowdfunding campaign, which began Monday, April 10, to help raise funds. The goal of the campaign is to raise $30,000, to purchase the remaining materials and equipment needed for launch, and to create a subsidized membership program. Go HERE for more information.
In addition to providing workspace, ThePowerLab will partner with local organizations and professionals to host a variety of workshops and courses for community members on topics such as financial literacy, business planning, leadership development, and organizational management.
Nonprofit organizations and foundations have already expressed interest in the workspace. The Elias Foundation, for example, has agreed to sponsor two offices in the suite for one year. One office will house a group of young leaders who are starting nonprofits in Yonkers, and the other office will be the home of the Bravehearts, a youth-led advocacy organization pushing for policy reform in the foster care system.
CGDCNY is also looking to partner with area foundations to create a fund to subsidize the cost of membership for community members, particularly young adults, who have ideas for businesses or projects but can’t afford the set prices.
“We need ThePowerLab to be sustainable financially, but we also want to be assessable for local community members," said Badru.
"The more support we have from funders and donors, the more we’ll be able to meet our goal of having a transformative presence in Southwest Yonkers, without relying on the government for consistent funding."
CGDC received a $75,000 grant from the City of Yonkers to help launch the project.
In his support letter for the project, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano wrote: “Start-up incubators and coworking facilities are becoming common and necessary throughout major cities and this project is in alignment with the city’s goal to assist residents and business owners to build strong sustainable communities by creating employment opportunities and investing in local entrepreneurs and the facilities that house them.”
The PowerLab will offer monthly memberships at tiered levels, allowing members to have access to shared or dedicated desks, individual offices, access to a conference room, lounge and cafe, as well as meeting and event spaces.
For more information, visit http://thepowerlabny.com.
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