Brooklyn Navy Yard: Empowering New York to Become a More Equitable BIPOC Business Partner

Client Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation


THE CHALLENGE

Capture the unique opportunity, energy and focus of this one-of-a-kind development in one of the biggest economic zones in the world. The project has now extended to an equity incubator founded to offer equal opportunities to MWBEs in a prime, historic location in the NYC area. Our goal was amplifying the project to get the attention it deserved from media, potential tenants and most of all BIPOC and women business owners with an eye on growth.

THE OUTCOME

The project was kicked off with a unified vision and branding that spoke towards the exact values founding members wanted to exemplify. Brooklyn Navy Yard was enacted in partnership with BE NYC, accelerating interest in both the general program and the specific tenancy, incubation and mentorship opportunities. Consciously’s work in project development and promotion helped prompt thousands of inquiries and reached over 2 million people in the five boroughs and across the country. The project came to help define the landscape for NYC’s efforts to make the business community more equitable.


The Brooklyn Navy Yard development project and equity incubator represents an exciting opportunity for a new direction in more equitable business development in the NYC area. Many MWBEs in the region feel dissatisfied with the unequal opportunities presented. Research into the topic of business equity found that just 1% of all venture capital invested in businesses in 2017 went to African-American owned businesses, and just 2% went to Latinx businesses. Additionally, just 9% of capital was invested in woman-owned firms of all races.

To be able to get the same opportunity to find success and growth that non-BIPOC ventures are given, partner BE NYC determined that MWBEs needed certain conditions. For one, the business needed an affordable workspace, preferably in a location primed for networking opportunities and business growth. Another was access to capital, which is often denied through typical business activities. Entrepreneurs also need mentorship in order to build business experience, reliable resources like human talent and the ability to build a base of loyal and enthusiastic customers.

To help the project achieve the conditions needed to prime MWBE success, Brooklyn Navy Yard engaged Consciously at the beginning groundbreaking. Our teams collaborated with the Navy Yard and BE NYC to develop a strategic focus and an all-encompassing brand ethos. We wanted to be capable of inspiring those eager to find success they had been previously denied, and we wanted to ensure everyone knew exactly what we were about and what we hoped to achieve.

Through the creation of branding documents, a website platform, and a social media campaign built around the hashtag #builtthefuturenyc, the Brooklyn Navy Yard built a solid foundation for success. Our goal then was to promote the project, not just to prospective tenants and entrepreneurs, but also to possible venture capital firms interested in furthering equity as well as the general business community at large. We knew that the beautiful and historic location within Brooklyn would make the development popular for business tenancy, but we always wanted our project to be much more than just a business space. Efforts were put into assembling a diverse portfolio of entrepreneurs, including manufacturers, small firms, non-profits, retail, dining, arts and communal gathering spaces.

In a sense, the Navy Yard project and BE NYC acted as a localized focal point for a movement that has gained momentum nationally. Entrepreneurial inequity lies at the heart of many injustices like income disparity and the closing of beloved local businesses. Through the conversations started by our community and through the blueprint set by the Brooklyn Navy Yard specifically, we demonstrated what a more equitable future might look like.

Our efforts for telling the Brooklyn Navy Yard story and promoting its value ensured the project engaged millions and saw enthusiastic submissions from both entrepreneurs and those interested in providing capital to up-and-coming MWBEs. As the project evolves into offering an equity incubator for businesses in need of resources, we hope that it can serve as a launching pad for local business owners — and an inspiration for like-minded projects across the globe.

“As an agency, it’s always great to work with amazing people, and the people at the Brooklyn Navy Yard absolutely fit the definition of amazing,” expresses Consciously CEO Rai-mon Nemar Barnes. “They do so much and have a huge footprint for the Borough of Brooklyn, from education and the arts to private sectors, and from manufacturing to retail, film, advocacy and everything in between. The Navy Yard’s truly become one of NYC’s hubs. Helping bring their campaign to life was a pleasure.”


Pod of Conscious Marketing Architects

Visioneer
Rai-mon Nemar Barnes

Visioneer
Kwanele Mpanza

Actioneer
Bardia

Actioneer
Aaron

Visioneer
Shannon Franklin

Actioneer
Deeanna Debesi

Actioneer
Rich


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