Teach Me How to Startup

Made in Harlem? City College Gets an Incubator Devoted to Devices

Grove grad shells out $1M. to make it happen.
 Made in Harlem? City College Gets an Incubator Devoted to Devices

Mr. Zahn. (Photo: CCNY)

We thought manufacturing had departed New York for the foreseeable future, and yet suddenly there’s a building boom right here in the five boroughs. Shapeways is building a factory out in Long Island City; now City College’s Grove School of Engineering is getting its very own incubator, focused on “devices and manufacturing,” the Daily News reports.

What’s next? We start eating local oysters again? (Yes, please.)

The Daily News says:

The Harlem center will provide equipment, financial resources, incentives and engineering and business guidance. The goal is for students to build prototypes and products and then learn how to market them.

The incubator will open its doors in mid-September.

Covering much of the cost, with a $1 million donation: Irwin Zahn, a native Brooklynite and CCNY engineering school graduate, class of ’48. Mr. Zahn founded an electronic connectors company in New York, before picking up stakes and going west, young man, landing in Southern California. Having sold the company, he now devotes his time to philanthropy, through his Moxie Foundation. (On the basis of that name alone, we suspect he’s actually minor character from Captain America. Hey, the timing works.) San Diego State University and the University of California at San Diego have already benefitted from his largess, establishing similar programs on his dime.

The yardstick for success? Well, he’s not looking for a spinoff machine:

“The measure of whether it is successful or not is how many companies it gives birth to,” Zahn told the Daily News. “These companies hire people and they spend money in the community.”

The Daily News notes that the Zahn Center will also include a fabrication lab, thanks to a $440,000 grant from Scott Stringer’s office. Is there a Manhattan political figure who’s isn’t angling for some tech-related goodwill?

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com