Liz Elting: If You Can Make It Here...


Liz Elting: If You Can Make It Here...

By Liz Elting

The Wall Street Journal - September 12, 2013

Entrepreneurs often view New York City as an endgame destination in the long-term life of a new business. Perhaps they think that after years of hard work and millions in revenue, they can finally nab that corner office in a Manhattan skyscraper. After all, New York is big, buzzing, and full of movers and shakers. But those qualities are also the exact ones that make it a great candidate for a startup’s launching pad.
New York has been a beacon to entrepreneurship since it became a city. In its earliest days, New York City was the world’s most coveted location for the garment and fashion industries, as well as financial and banking institutions, and of course media and advertising. The companies on Wall Street and Madison Avenue have been setting the tone for the rest of the world for decades – but they were once startups, too.
When we started TransPerfect in New York 20 years ago as New York University students, it was more of a matter of convenience. However, as the company grew, we knew we wanted to keep it headquartered in New York because of the diversity and access to resources and talent.
We’ve witnessed Internet, social media and technology entrepreneurship taking off in an unprecedented way here. Foursquare and Kickstarter are just two recent examples of New York City-based startups that have grabbed international attention. This growth is powered by New York City-based angel investors, business incubators and shared office spaces; tech and business-savvy graduates coming out of esteemed colleges and universities; associations and other support organizations that help develop and market goods or services; and increased access to a number of free educational and networking events designed to help entrepreneurs find clients, partners, funding and suppliers. The city is bursting with incentives and opportunities for startups, including a wide number of funding, development and educational programs for emerging business owners.
New York City understands that it’s not just about the long-established institutions that have helped put Manhattan on the map as a business destination. They’ve invested in the infrastructure, programs and resources required to make it attractive to the next generation of Madison Avenue superstars. The result is an eclectic mix of industries, cultures and collective experiences that give entrepreneurs a breadth of views into how business really works. The song lyrics are true: if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
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