[Gerard Adams is the founder and chief visionary officer of FOWNDERS. This contribution was written as part of our Story of the Year 2016: Newark’s Tech Renaissance.]
The introduction of Newark Fiber put Newark on the map as one of the great American cities with top tech infrastructure. Forward-looking leaders in Newark — from Mayor Ras J. Baraka to Audible’s Don Katz — have ushered in a resource-rich Newark with funding and speedy technological infrastructure never before seen in the Brick City — now Silicon City.
My team’s contribution to Newark is FOWNDERS, the social-impact startup accelerator empowering entrepreneurs from urban areas, including Newark. Through our accelerator program, “Seed 2 Scale,” we give the entrepreneurs the training, resources and mentoring they need to build and sell software and service businesses that are fueling the next leg of our economic growth. FOWNDERS has attracted entrepreneurs globally who now recognize Newark as an innovation hub.
Along with our accelerator program at FOWNDERS, we host events that bridge technology and business. For far too long, many innovations and accompanying brilliant, inventive minds have lacked the environment to launch startups to monetize their ideas. FOWNDERS’ aim, with the company’s stellar business and sales background, is to combine technophiles with business-savvy entrepreneurs. For example, we hosted a hackathon that brought together students and faculty from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), entrepreneurs, mentors and advisers from the greater Newark area. The cross-disciplinary approach fosters the right environment in which to develop not just entrepreneurs, but companies that can go the distance.
Newark’s entrepreneurial ecosystem will grow exponentially throughout 2017. FOWNDERS will offer Seed 2 Scale for two cohorts in 2017: Spring and Fall. Equally exciting is our Tech Developer boot camp, which will coach best-of-breed technology officers who can plug right into Newark’s ecosystem as CTOs and lead developers.
Equipped with our sustainable vision, entrepreneurs who come through our program are incentivized to headquarter in Newark. Moreover, through FOWNDERS’ strategic partnerships with coworking operations like =SPACE, FOWNDERS is building infrastructure to make Newark a hub for tech and innovation for the long term.
I also foresee Newark attracting top mentors and advisers, who will enable maximum social impact, wealth generation and economic prosperity for Silicon City and the surrounding area.