The Shared Resource Challenge
The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) believes in the importance of empowering entrepreneurs throughout all communities in the City of New York. Entrepreneurs create opportunities for employment, innovation, and prosperity for the communities they work in and serve. In order to maximize the social and economic impacts they create and to flourish sustainably, entrepreneurial communities require an infrastructure of support. However, entrepreneurial support programs encounter many of the same pressures and obstacles early stage entrepreneurs must also overcome – ranging from access to finance & business expertise, to cost-effective procurement of materials and strategic use of data in defining and evaluating success.
However, in solving for difficult problems, innovative solutions are being developed by and for entrepreneurs the world over. Resource-sharing models have been a particularly catalytic and innovative approach to the problem of startup costs (and to many other problems), reframing how we understand the core inputs to business and the maximization of resources. Examples of resource-sharing models abound; across them, stakeholders of a community facing the same problems come together (or are brought together) to pool resources or needs in a way that presents a solution. A positive side-effect of resource-sharing models, aside from the optimization of a market’s resources, can be the creation or the strengthening of a sense of community. Examples of shared-resource models are integrated throughout daily life and business; the tech sector has been a champion of many of them. Co-working spaces and incubators are in and of themselves shared-resource models as entrepreneurs often share rents, common spaces, and equipment. Other examples include shared-back office functions among firms and shared specialist expertise (IT, CFO etc.) among many nonprofits.
NYCEDC encourages the Innovate NYC cohort to build on such models in order to maximize resources for New York City’s entrepreneurs and furthermore, to help strengthen the network that connects them and the institutions that support them. By doing so, the economic and social impacts of our City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem – and the field-building organizations (incubators, accelerators, etc.) that comprise it – can be amplified, in and across NYC communities.
The Shared Resource Challenge will create and test a new tool or service that, through a shared-resource model, will enable local entrepreneur-supporting institutions, like incubators and accelerators, to sustain and expand access to entrepreneurial opportunities across New York City and in marginalized communities. This Challenge brings together talented future change makers from 10 different NYC universities to develop and promote an innovative solution that can be used by NYC’s entrepreneur-supporting institutions to accomplish the aforementioned objectives.