Around New Jersey Roundup: LaunchNJ, GNEC, Vistage

Photo: Steven Gomez of GNEC Photo Credit: Esther Surden

Steven Gomez of GNEC | Esther Surden

LaunchNJ: Launch NJ, the organization founded by Carlos Abad that has provided some memorable events over the years, such as cofounder match nights and “entrepreneur tanks,” has pivoted. The group is now working with Drew University student entrepreneurs in a mentorship role.

In a letter to members Abad said, “On September 29th Drew University and LaunchNJ combined forces for our first Innovation Town Hall. Twelve LaunchNJ facilitators, 30-plus students, several department heads and a senior Drew administrator attended. After an introductory overview, students were broken down into teams and paired up with LaunchNJ facilitators. Students presented their ideas, discussed them and then decided to work on their own project or join someone else’s. Facilitators then helped students work through The Business Model Canvas (BMC) so that they could develop their concepts.

“The event culminated with students pitching their ideas and winners being selected. The vision for the next phase is to create student teams which are mentored by LaunchNJ members. This is supported by workshops on entrepreneurial topics (Lean Startup, BMC, Design Thinking) and regular meetings (live & virtual) with mentors. The hope is that students will learn valuable life skills (asking good questions, teamwork, trying, failing, and persevering) by going through the startup experience.”

LaunchNJ is looking for mentors, and will be holding several meetings to talk about the pivot and how group members can help.

Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation: Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation (GNEC) officially started accepting applications for the organization’s 2016/2017 Technology Business Support Initiative (TBSI).

Funded by a grant from JPMorgan Chase, TBSI is a program that aims to provide founders, principals and CEOs with the knowledge and skills they need to more effectively manage the financial component of their businesses.

After completing the program, business owners will be able to: (1) perform fundamental valuations of their companies; (2) discuss financial issues with lenders or investors; and (3) understand, negotiate and utilize different capital sources to grow their businesses. Those accepted into the program will meet twice a month over the next five months for in-class training, one-on-one coaching, and workshops/seminars to help prepare them for fundraising.  Meetings will take place at NJIT’s Enterprise Development Center, in Newark.

GNEC says it defines “technology” broadly. Companies whose businesses models are predicated on technology products and services are welcome to apply, but so are traditional businesses looking to use innovative technologies to leverage their business growth.

GNEC is targeting businesses that have been operating for at least a year, are generating revenue and have at least one full-time employee. The deadline for applications is Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. For more information, please visit    

Vistage: A new Vistage group is forming in central New Jersey. The group is being organized by Adnan Qadeer, founder and CEO of Allweb Technologies (Bridgewater), a tech startup that offers a cloud-based multifactor identity-authentication solution using fingerprint matching to secure enterprise Web and mobile applications and to prevent unauthorized user access.

Qadeer said that until he joined Vistage, he had difficulty finding peers to support his entrepreneurial journey. Vistage member CEOs participate in “chair-led” executive peer advisory groups in order to interact with other CEOs representing a broad range of industries. C-level individuals in other industries can provide a CEO with a different perspective on all aspects of growing a tech company, he said.

Also, the confidentiality of these conversations is maintained, so member CEOs don’t feel as if they’ve given away their secret sauce. They receive one-to-one coaching and learn from expert speakers, and these experiences enable them to transform their businesses and personal lives, according to Qadeer. He says that interested C-level tech execs can contact him via LinkedIn.

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