Say what you will about Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but the man made New York City a destination for startups.
Now Silicon Alley has received yet another gift from the departing administration, NYC Business Atlas, which helps small businesses compete with the big guys by putting costly data at entrepreneurs' fingertips, free of charge.
The tool works simply enough. Entrepreneurs visit maps.nyc.gov/businessatlas, then click on a neighborhood or enter an address to research the area. Based on a search of my old stomping grounds in Bushwick, Brooklyn, I was able to find the total population of the neighborhood is 7,625, while the median household income is $35,256 per year. I also learned how many of these households have children, rent their apartment, and are working from home--useful info. for any business looking to set up shop in New York.
"Before a large cooperation opens its doors in a new area, it conducts market research to understand local business conditions and how individuals are living in the neighborhood," said John Feinblatt, Mayor Bloomberg's chief policy advisor, in The NY Daily News.
But not everyone knows how to use that data, which is where a partnership with New York City traffic data startup Placemeter comes in. The company will tell entrepreneurs how much foot traffic there is, thereby providing a clear picture of the neighborhood they're eyeing.
The hope is that entrepreneurs can use this tool to gauge the health of a neighborhood well before signing a lease. Some might decide not to open a particular restaurant, while others may discover there's a need for a particular business. Either way, NYC Business Atlas is a good place to start.