MOTT HAVEN — A Bronx business incubator will get some fashionable tenants next month when a T-shirt company run by young entrepreneurs moves into the basement.
The yet-to-be-named business is coming to Mott Haven as part of a roughly $500,000 renovation project that the real estate group SoBRO is working on at their property called the Venture Center, a business incubator on Lincoln Avenue and 137th Street that houses 35 tenants who range from lawyers to electricians.
Improvements to the building will include installing a rooftop garden, refurbishing the building’s floors, updating its technology to include smart boards, and finishing the basement, which is where the T-shirt company will go.
“We’ve never really had our basement filled out,” said Jamila Diaz, assistant vice president of business services at SoBRO, “so SoBRO is opening up a social entrepreneurship T-shirt company with our youth, so we're building out the basement for that purpose.”
The company is designed for youths who are working toward their GEDs or college degrees, and it is meant to help give them real responsibilities in a business environment.
The budding entrepreneurs are still trying to figure out the name of their T-shirt company but hope to decide on that by Monday, according to Diaz.
The business should be up and running by April, and the group's first big order will be for the April 24 through April 26 Green Festival at the Jacob Javits Center, SoBRO spokeswoman Donna Davis said.
“They’re going to create T-shirts to sell there that are going to be very green and Bronx-centric,” she said.
Major work on renovations to the Venture Center began this month, and SoBRO hopes to be finished with the project in July, according to Michael Brady, SoBRO's director of special projects.
SoBRO decided to create a T-shirt company because the owner of a defunct T-shirt company gave them her equipment, according to Diaz.
She said teaching business skills to young people can be just as important as getting them a formal classroom education.
“Besides GED and the traditional education opportunities, you have to provide them tangible experiences,” she said.