Freelancers Hub brings support and space to Sunset Park with $1.5 million city investment • Brooklyn Paper


Being self-employed doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. The largest freelance center in the United States has just opened in Industry City – and the state-of-the-art 4,143 square foot space was partially funded by New York City, which invested $1.5 million in the project.

“NYC is the city of Independents,” said Independents Syndicate executive director Rafael Espinal at the opening on September 28. “From newly arrived immigrants starting small businesses, fresh college graduates with a toolkit of design and marketing skills, to seasoned professionals leaving the 9-5 workforce to gain autonomy over their personal lives. , NYC continues to be ahead of the curve to ensure it is the fairest and fairest place for those who work independently.

The Freelancers Union, an organization representing more than 500,000 self-employed people across the country that helps facilitate access to health insurance, tax assistance and legal advice regarding employment rights, led the initiative. to create the free coworking office and the training and resource centre.

The Freelancer Hub will provide free coworking space to millions of freelancers in New York, as well as access to mentorships, workshops, and more. Photo by Duane Anthony

The brand new hub Features rooms and equipment to host workshops, private meeting rooms and on-site staff and advisors in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. Later this month it will begin hosting networking events, boot camps on topics ranging from branding to mental health taught by freelance experts and mentors to provide workers with tools and resources. In 2019, about 1.3 million New Yorkers were full-time or part-time freelancers, according to research by the Freelancers Union and the city.

As we work to rebuild a fairer economy in New York, supporting the self-employed is critical,” said Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer in a statement.

“Just mentioning that I’m in a union to my clients makes a huge difference because they know I’m protected and they can’t mess with me that easily,” said Seth Icke, 29, a graphic designer. . “Working for myself, for the most part, is a great operating system. I work with many brilliant entrepreneurs, helping them realize their ideas and propel their businesses. I decide the cost of my work and make deals with my clients who appreciate it. But the dynamic comes with each party’s uncertainty about these deals and whether I can do my job or have to waste time chasing payments and losing money.

Joining the union is free and allows you to reserve a coworking office free of charge for up to eight days.

rafael espinal at the opening of the freelance hub
Freelance Union executive director Rafael Espinal, a former New York City Council member, called New York a “city of freelancers” at the inauguration.Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Media and Entertainment Office/Twitter

Earlier this year, the state legislature passed the Union-backed Freelance Isn’t Free Act. If signed by Governor Hocul, companies could face up to $25,000 in penalties for failing to provide a freelance contract or pay a freelancer within 30 days of completing a job. A localized version of the bill was signed into law in New York in 2016.

“Freelancers, who made up more than 60% of New York’s media and entertainment workforce before COVID, are a critical component of New York’s creative economy,” said Anne del Castillo, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “Freelancers, who made up more than 60% of New York’s media and entertainment workforce before COVID, are a critical component of New York’s creative economy.”

In 2019, creative industries accounted for over 500,000 local jobs and had an economic impact of $150 billion per year.

The city chose to open the Sunset Park hub for its proximity to more than 90 companies in media, production and related fields, according to Espinal, due to the large number of freelancers working in media. A previous location opened in Dumbo in 2018, but was closed during the pandemic.


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