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Aerial view of Brooklyn Navy Yard and Manhattan Skyline in background
Photograph: By Gerald Trudell / Courtesy of Shutterstock

BIPOC and women-owned businesses in NYC are getting a $25 million incubation space

The first phase of the project will be ready by 2025.

Ian Kumamoto
Written by
Ian Kumamoto

Space in New York is head-numbingly hard to come by, especially if you’re a small business owner trying to grow. That might change soon thanks to an initiative announced by the mayor's office last week to build a $25 million state-of-the-art manufacturing, incubator, and accelerator facility that will help small businesses launch and grow.

The new facility would be built at AYO Labs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and would give priority to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and women business owners in the health and wellness space. The facility is expected to generate up to 900 jobs and contribute to the city’s blossoming $450 billion health and beauty industry.

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Phase One of the project is expected to be completed by 2025 and will include a 26,000 square-foot space that would be able to accommodate 100 entrepreneurs and their projects. Phase Two will be completed in 2026 and will include an additional 14,000 square feet of space. 

In addition to giving entrepreneurs space to work, the facility will support product formulation, manufacturing, and packaging services. The Navy Yard space will also provide office support, instructors, and people available for technical assistance and mentorship. Think of it as the ultimate college campus for beauty and wellness business owners.

“While the beauty and wellness industry continues to boom by serving Black and Brown people, that wealth has not come back to those same communities. With this announcement, New York City is taking a stand, putting money back in the pockets of Black and Brown entrepreneurs, especially women of color,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a press release about the initiative. “Our investment in AYO Labs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard will help small businesses — including many owned by BIPOC and women entrepreneurs — enter the beauty market, develop and scale up their brands, and become the next generation of successful entrepreneurs.”

The facility is part of an initiative to fight inequity in the wellness space. Currently, only 2.5 percent of revenue in the health and beauty industry can be linked to Black-owned businesses, while Black consumers accounted for 11 percent of spending, according to a 2022 McKinsey report

For updates on the project, check the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s website.

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