New Jersey understands a thing or two about innovation. As the birthplace of world-changing technologies like the air conditioner and the light bulb, New Jersey’s legacy as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship continues to this day.
To help encourage the next generations of the world’s best ideas, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) offers various programs to support startups as they grow. With a full range of programs and services, NJEDA can provide businesses with low-interest financing through matching loan programs, tax incentives, real estate and networking opportunities with key players and investors around the state and region.
One of its key programs, The Edison Innovation Fund, helps develop, sustain, and grow technology and life sciences firms to create well-paying jobs in the state. Other programs for startups include the NJ CoVest Fund, which provides seed funding to companies and NJ Founders & Funders, which facilitates networking between emerging companies tech and life science companies and angel and institutional investors.
For many new entrepreneurs, participating in an accelerator program can make all the difference. Accelerator programs provide key access to mentors, investors and educational programs. To encourage startups to join the state’s many accelerator programs, NJEDA’s NJ Accelerate program provides the graduates of approved accelerator programs with opportunities for direct funding up to $250,000 and rent support.
Another key program, NJ Ignite, helps startup companies by providing up to nine months of rent support for startup technology and life sciences businesses moving to an approved collaborative workspace. NJ Ignite is made possible through a combination of support from the NJEDA and the collaborative workspace, with the NJEDA covering up to six months’ rent and the workspace covering rent for three months.
Approved Collaborative Facilities
Some of the first companies to benefit from the NJ Ignite program include medical device manufacturer Carbon22 and health-tech startup Big Magic, Inc. In 2019, Carbon22 moved into a creative flex office space at Building 78, a creative flex office space and a coworking facility known as Kearny Point. Big Magic set up shop at VentureLink, a high-tech accelerator/incubator at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.
“Thanks to the money we’re saving on rent with NJ Ignite, we’ll be able to hire additional engineers to build out our product line,” said Carbon22 Founder and CEO Vadim Gurevich. “Additionally, our space in Kearny Point is perfect for our current needs, but also affords us the necessary space to grow.”
Walking in the Footsteps of Giants
The historic former Bell Labs building in Holmdel has been reimagined into a unique “metroburb” with retail, restaurants, business and more. Originally constructed between 1962 and 1964, the building is known for its role in spurring the development of some of the world’s greatest inventions and research concepts. As the research headquarters for Bell Laboratories, Lucent and Alcatel-Lucent, the building has a rich history of innovation. Over its 40-year history as a lab, seven Nobel Prize winners have worked inside the building, including those who conceived theories for the laser, the Big Bang theory, cellular technology, the transistor and more. Today, Bell Works continues to provide a place for the world’s next best inventions to come to life. The CoLab at Bell Works Metroburb offers startups a unique work environment to grow and scale their business.
Bell Works is just one of many unique collaborative and innovative workspaces available across the state. To learn more about the state’s approved collaborative facilities and its programs, visit https://www.njeda.com.
Savannah King is managing editor of custom content for Conway Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and previously wrote for The Times in Gainesville, Ga. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives near Atlanta.