We’ve all seen or known folks leaving corporate to start small businesses. It’s exciting, full of promise and potential plus if you’re the owner, the power to work for yourself. The challenges though are just as big, including access to capital if you’re new at this, finding the right people, and limited affordable housing to supply workers.
As you heard in episode 81 from Jared and Kendra, owners of The Reclaimed Motel, there are resources such as The New York Small Business Development Center and as Pim Zeggers of Citiot mentioned in Episode 52 there are chambers of commerce in several counties and towns (e.g., Rhinebeck, Greene County); Cidiot is the member of the Red Hook Area Chamber of Commerce.
At an event at Co. in Rhinebeck, a coworking space, I met Eric De Feo, Founder and Director of Hudson Community Incubator, who helped me get to know a more entrepreneurial side to our area.
About Hudson Community Incubator
Since June 2020, Hudson Community Incubator (HCI) has worked with more than 50 small businesses on their business plans and strategy. According to De Feo, HCI saw a gap in support for small businesses. While economic development groups can provide general resources and access to loans, most new entrepreneurs need constant emotional and networking support as they navigate the ups and downs of starting a new business. And while a government group can offer a loan, most new businesses are not eligible as they are still optimizing their business model. In some cases, HCI has connected businesses with angel investors.
Based in Catskill, HCI is a business ecosystem platform that provides a space for like-minded entrepreneurs to connect and support each other in their growth through networking forums, educational deep dives, and in-person events to share with the community what they are working on and how people could support. De Feo notes that HCI also helps companies fundraise, and has started its own company, Made X Hudson, which works with independent designers to run small batch production.
HCI helped Cidiot field a Q&A to learn more about seven area businesses—how they bring innovation to the area, and just as I do on the podcast, their favorite spot in the Hudson Valley. These entrepreneurs cover a range of categories from food, dance and hospitality to careers, health and laundry.
- Crumble+Melt delivered
- Mayta Fusion Dance
- Whale of a Trail Adventures
- Jordan Hirsch Coaching
- Poppi Wellness + Bio - Optimization
Here's a great way to get to know what these seven are doing and what they shared with me:
Crumble Melt Delivered
“We’ve been perfecting our recipes for 20 years as our special holiday gift to friends and family,” says founder Ed Gabriels of Crumble Melt Delivered. Ed would bake 1,500 cookies in the first two weeks in December. Earning him the nickname "General Baker." The cookies were such a hit, friends started ordering boxes as gifts for their friends. Today their cookies are available to order so anyone can give or enjoy them any time of year. Crumble+Melt delivered offers homemade cookies and chocolates baked to order weekly and made with high quality ingredients. What sets us apart is our distinct combinations of flavors: cookies have grown-up.
How is your business bringing innovation to the Hudson Valley? Showing how baked goods don't always have to be these huge things, they can be small and pack a punch.
Hudson Valley Pick: Olana Historic Site in Hudson
Mayta Fusion Dance Company
“Let your vision be world embracing..." —Baha'u'llah is the motto shared by xxxxx.
Mayta Fusion Dance Company, run by Anna Mayta, weaves multicultural forms of movement together “to foster our global narratives, and shines a spotlight on our universal humanity - demonstrating the diversity of the world.” The company offers performances, classes, choreography and project-based collaboration. The company's mission, according to Mayta, is to use dance as a powerful tool to bring awareness of our oneness, our connectedness, our human stories, our history, our cultures, our equality as well as the beauty of humanity and the world.
How is your business bringing innovation to the Hudson Valley: Bringing artistic innovation, and education innovation as you can see from my website.
Hudson Valley Pick: Olana Historic Site in Hudson (popular choice!)
Whale of a Trail Adventures
“I started Whale of a Trail Adventures in 2021 as a way to impact the generational health in my community by helping families feel comfortable and build confidence out on the trails,” says Sarah Katan. “When a family spends time outdoors together, they are more likely to instill the value of nature in their children. People who spend time outdoors enjoy both physical and mental health benefits. The process of one generation passing on healthy actions and mindsets to the next is called generational health.”
Whale of a Trail is a full-service outdoor education and guide company. Katan is a NYS licensed guide as well as a certified Leave No Trace trainer. She believes that everyone has the right to enjoy green and wild spaces and that no adventure is too small. She says she is particularly adept at guiding those with limited outdoor experiences, those with extra needs, and families new to the trails. “With my Ed.M. in Learning and Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and over 20 years as a science teacher, camp counselor, and outdoor educator, I can seamlessly weave ecology, natural history, trail etiquette and outdoor skills into every program, whether it be at a school, clubhouse or out on the trails on a private hike.”
How is your business bringing innovation to the HV: I love thinking critically about the ways people interact with green and wild places. Bringing joy, enthusiasm and information to a program is only a part of the picture. People also have to feel comfortable and empowered so that they will continue to seek out outdoor experiences. I want the youth I work with to encourage their families to spend time outside together and the families I work with to make outdoor time a family tradition. That element of promoting generational health by having adventures outside is a key part of my business.
Hudson Valley Pick: I have to pick just ONE?! Prospect Hill on the South Taconic Trail.
Jordan Hirsch Coaching
According to Jordan of Jordan Hirsch Coaching, his leadership coaching and training services help leaders and entrepreneurs unlock their confidence and joy, say "yes, and" to change, and achieve their goals. He works with individuals and teams to help leaders identify and move past blockers, let go of old patterns that aren't serving them, and achieve big change through small, achievable steps. Jordan offers individual and group coaching focused on increasing confidence and finding joy, and has worked with clients at places like Meta, Twitter, Accenture, and IBM. He also provides presentation coaching services, helping speakers bring their full authentic selves to the stage and speak with confidence about what matters. Jordan brings to bear his background in improvisational comedy, creating safe, playful experiences for his clients to experiment with change. He also brings his over two decades of experience in technology and digital strategy consulting, working with organizations from the UN to the Clinton Foundation to Time Inc to help them align their digital experiences with their strategic goals. He'd love to talk to you about what you're trying to create for yourself, what's standing in the way, and how you can start experimenting with change today.
How is your business bringing innovation to the Hudson Valley? By helping local entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses through more expansive, confident leadership.
Hudson Valley pick: Biking the scenic route between Hyde Park and Rhinebeck and back
Poppi Wellness + Bio
Poppi Wellness + Bio - Optimization is a wellness center and medical aesthetics spa in Hudson, New York. Founder Sara Buchan notes: “We focus on scientifically proven, innovative modalities that target the causes of aging on a cellular level that effect how we look and feel. We offer nutrigenomic DNA testing, IV infusions, coaching, and a highly curated offering of medical aesthetic treatments.” The Poppi space is a reflection of founder Sara Buchan MA, RN-BSN and her love of design and creative spirit. Clients get a completely private and personalized experience in a place that feels anything but clinical.
How is your business bringing innovation to the Hudson Valley? One of a kind approach to beauty and longevity
Hudson Valley Pick: I actually really like the Wal-Mart here
Qrew is a social network of founders and subject matter experts. According to Basar Erdener, "We introduce founders with service professionals vetted through common connections. No Stars! No Reviews! Good old relationships."
How is your business bringing innovation to the HV? We are matching talent with business founders and entrepreneurs
Hudson Valley Picks: Innisfree garden, Ferncliff Forest
Founder Daniel Feliciano explains that “ClothesLyne is bringing the ease and convenience of NYC-level laundry outsourcing to the masses but, more affordably and better. ClothesLyne allows customers to match with vetted and peer reviewed gig workers who pick up, wash, dry, and fold the laundry to the customers preference and return it within 24-48 hours. It’s like having a laundry genie.”
ClothesLyne was started in Goshen, NY and has grown throughout much of the Hudson Valley, Northern New Jersey and Nevada. “As a dad in a family of four I know how many things a family has to do throughout a week and weekend. The idea of constantly squeezing laundry between family activities is a drag. We created ClothesLyne to allow customers to safely and conveniently outsource the never-ending laundry. But we wanted to make sure we were doing it right.
How is your business bringing innovation to the HV? We wanted to create something safe for the customers but also something our service providers could feel proud about. Our service providers (“ClothesLyners”) are given an opportunity grow their business and have a place to make real income in their spare time. It’s a win for everyone.”
Hudson Valley Pick: It’s not really a spot but a thing. I love taking the Hudson River train line into Manhattan. It's magical any time of the year.
Find your community
If you're interested in working with Hudson Community Incubator (HCI), they offer a tiered membership system from free to $50/month, and consulting time for more in depth work. Currently, HCI operates as an interim COO for two startups in the region.
If you’re looking for a community and a workspace, check out the co-working spaces in the area blog post, including Co. in Rhinebeck where I occasionally work out of which offers day-passes and memberships.
Be sure to email Cidiot with others that are missing or more ideas of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Hudson Valley. I plan to do more in this space in upcoming episodes and posts.