Yonkers’ next generation of business owners have a new organization in their corner. ThePowerLab, founded by local nonprofit Community Governance and Development Council, is a 2,700 square-foot community business incubator and co-working space that opened its doors in Southwest Yonkers last month. Located at 45 Ludlow Street, ThePowerLab brings affordable meeting and work sites to freelancers, startups, or community programs, and has even begun offering skill-training classes and hosting community events.
According to Executive Director LaMont Badru, the effect of ThePowerLab extends far beyond its role as a flexible workspace. “I really believe that this project can have a transformative effect on our community because we finally have a space to incubate and grow ideas from local talent,” he says. “The common trend for many young people growing up here is that people see success as being able to leave Yonkers. We want to promote a culture and space that can cultivate what young people from Yonkers have to offer and put it to use right in our city.”
From (L to R): Anthony Bailey, LaMont Badru, and Ray Wilcox are the management team at ThePowerLab.
ThePowerLab does this by serving young people and small business owners with less capital or fewer connections than others. The lab costs, events, and classes all offer an extra leg up for those in need of a little extra backing. Thus far, ThePowerLab has already begun to offer skill-training classes in coding and graphic design and has hosted a series of networking events for local professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs from across Southern Westchester and Northern New York City.
“We believe that our city’s development strategy should be focused on building on the talent and potential that already exists in our city,” says Badru. “We’re glad that the city sees potential in our vision and work, and we think in partnership we can push Yonkers forward in a direction that benefits everyone, but especially those with limited opportunity.”
According to Badru, the next phase of ThePowerLab will be to acquire additional space to begin operating an accelerator program to work with more established businesses to help them scale, build capacity, and access to capital. “We also want to expand on the skill-building component of our project and establish a PowerLab Learning Center to offer curated course offerings in partnership with local colleges and training programs,” he adds. “We aim to have these two new components up and running by 2019.”