History

2012

2 small businesses

Two small businesses began renting space in what is now The Foundry. They began to put a call out for additional startups to rent space and started hosting performances (Bread and Puppet, Torn Space Theater) and art exhibits using the ample space available.

2013

1 Building
5 small businesses

In Spring 2013, NetPositive dba The Foundry was incorporated and purchased its current location after raising $35k through an online crowd funding IndieGoGo campaign. The number of resident small businesses increased to 5, and The Foundry began to solidify its mission to provide support for women and minority-owned small businesses and commit to community education. The company formed a resident Committee in which each tenant gets one vote, and began collaborating with Baker Victory Services (an after school youth program) and Buffalo Lab (a technology makerspace).


2014

1st Bid to Build Auction
420 Workshop Participants
10 small businesses

The Foundry received its first major grant of $100k from First Niagara and raised ~$20k from its inaugural Bid to Build auction. The nonprofit also hired its Executive Director and Youth Leader, and built 8 new spaces leading to a total of 20 tenants. The foundry hosted over 60 workshops for community education with over 420 total participants. The company also began to work with YouthBuild along with Baker Victory Services to teach youth about product design through making basic products to sell through retail partners in the community.


2015

3 partners
8 business mentors
1433 Participants Class + Events + Workshops
27 Small Businesses

The Foundry partnered with Aspire to mentor and employ developmentally disabled individuals and hosted its 2nd Bid to Build Auction raising $34k. The company re-invented 2nd Saturdays to include more hands-on activities, 925 people participated in events including 2nd Saturdays and art performances, 508 people participated in workshops and classes. Renovations on the first floor increased the total number of tenants to approximately 30. The Foundry incubated 5 minority owned, 11 women owned, and 1 LGBTQ-owned businesses, yielding a total of 27 small businesses. Additionally The Foundry had 8 business mentors.

2016

1 Makerspace
1st Annual ToolFest
1 Business Graduated
131 Classes + Events
4820 Hours Served by Volunteers
35 small businesses

The Foundry merged with Buffalo Lab to promote makerspace and memberships. The Foundry fully set up the Woodshop makerspace, and the Metal, Textile, and Tech Lab Makerspaces are on their way for 2017. The Foundry continued to expand its class offering, including a 10 week Wooodworking Series. Additionally, The Foundry hired one AmeriCorps VISTA and two new Youth Leaders, and partnered with WEDI to offer additional business services for tenants. Construction began on the 2nd floor, which will add 18 additional spaces for new  businesses. In addition to all this The Foundry was awarded 2 years of funding through John R. Oishei Foundation to fund an Education Manager and will be hiring a second AmeriCorps VISTA in the summer of 2017 to streamline their small business incubation services.