BY JAMES FARRELL
The Queens College Tech Incubator officially opened its doors on Queens College’s campus Thursday, Sept. 29. The incubator provides tech startups and businesses with rental workspace, technological resources and access to Queens College’s student and faculty talent pool.
The incubator promises to aid developing entrepreneurs while providing Queens College students and faculty the opportunity to work on exciting new projects within their industries. The technology focus is no coincidence: Queens College has the largest number of computer science majors of any institution in the metropolitan New York area.
“This is what great universities do,” said Queens College president Felix Matos Rodriguez. “We bring in the best talent from the borough, the best talent from New York City, in the form of our students, of our faculty, and we let them unleash their dreams.”
The incubator, a nonprofit initiative funded by the New York City Council, is already servicing 10 clients who are using its resources to develop product ideas and grow their businesses. The incubator can support 70 clients at any given time.
The facility, located in the CEP Hall II building on Queens College’s campus, offers high-speed Internet access, wireless connectivity, state-of-the-art peripherals like a 3-D printer, a server with a high storage capacity, conference rooms, a lounge, staff and 24-hour access.
And of course, the pool of young talent at Queens College creates internship and job opportunities that benefit both businesses and students.
“You need an intern in accounting? We’re the third-largest business accounting program in New York State,” said Matos Rodriguez. “You need a paralegal? They’re right here. Any talent, in the students, in the faculty, in the partnership, we have it here. And that’s what attracts the entrepreneurs.”
The project was funded by the New York City Council. Some local councilmembers attended the incubator’s opening, including Peter Koo (D-Flushing), Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) and Jimmy Vacca (D-Bronx), who is also the chair of the council’s technology committee and the incubator’s sponsor.
“I wanted to promote technology and I wanted to promote entrepreneurship. And looking at entrepreneurship, these tech incubators are really ground zero,” said Vacca. ““I wanted to do something with CUNY because CUNY is really in the lead when it comes to technology.
They’re on the cusp of giving opportunities to immigrants and to all groups that are so underrepresented throughout our city when it comes to technology in the entire field.”
In terms of providing opportunities for the underrepresented, Matos Rodriguez explained that Queens College’s diverse student body provides opportunities for businesses using the incubator to employ a more diverse workforce. The tech industry has often been criticized for not being diverse enough.
“In an industry that’s crying out for better diversity, in terms of gender, in terms of race and ethnicity, that we have here on campus too,” said Matos Rodriguez, “so we’re offering the best of the best and also the added value that diversity brings to the equation.”
Clients like Jean Ndoutoumou, president and CEO of the startup Numeraxial LLC, which provides financial technology, explained that the incubator allows him to work with the Queens community and get help from interns at an affordable price.
“This is a place where we can go from a product concept all the way to what we call an alpha beta,” said Ndoutoumou. “We hope to partner with the incubator and the borough of Queens and see what can go from there.”
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @farrellj329.