News NJ Startups Can Use, from the NJEDA and CSIT

The last couple of months have been busy at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology (CSIT). Here is a review of some of the programs that startups should know about.

  • Applications opened Dec. 5 for a competitive $2.5 million program to support New Jersey companies accelerating the commercialization and deployment of innovative clean energy technologies. The Pilot Clean Tech Demonstration Grant Program will provide up to $250,000 each to help startups develop their technologies intended to create a cleaner and greener future for New Jersey. “The majority of our clean technology portfolio companies have some form of prototype, and funding through this program will offset many of the costs associated with demonstration and validation as they work toward commercialization,” said CSIT Executive Director Judith Sheft. “This new program is a complement to our existing Clean Technology Seed Grant and Voucher programs, and we are proud to expand the continuum of support we offer clean technology businesses growing in New Jersey.”
  • The NJEDA announced plans to create a competitive program, the New Jersey Innovation Fellows (NJIF), which will offer mentorship and grants of up to $400,000 to teams of first-time entrepreneurs. The NJIF Program will provide income replacement so that entrepreneurs can devote their full-time attention to building out their startups. It will award grants of $200,000 per team. In keeping with Governor Phil Murphy’s vision for inclusive economic growth, the teams may access an additional $50,000 award on top of the $200,000 base award if at least one member verifies residency in a designated Opportunity Zone in New Jersey. The teams may be awarded a further $50,000 for each team leader who self-certifies as a minority or female entrepreneur or as a graduate of a New Jersey college or university, as well as additional bonuses of up to $150,000 if other team members certify as the same, resulting in a possible total of $400,000. To be eligible for the NJIF Program, at least half the team must certify as “first-time entrepreneurs,” and at least two-thirds must come directly from the workforce.
  • CSIT recently announced the expansion of to provide local, national and international innovation communities with insights into groundbreaking research being conducted at five New Jersey universities: Montclair State University, NJIT, Princeton University, Rowan University and Rutgers. CSIT also announced that it had taken over the management of the portal from the NJEDA and the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education due to its close ties to both the startup and academic communities.
  • HAX (Newark), a startup development program for preseed hard-tech companies, has recently been approved for support from NJ Accelerate, the NJEDA’s partner accelerator program. NJ Accelerate matches investments from approved accelerator programs in startups that locate in New Jersey within six months after graduating from one of those programs. The NJEDA’s match is in the form of a direct loan of up to $250,000. A 5 percent match bonus is available for companies that are certified as women- or minority-owned. The NJEDA will also provide rent support for up to six months if a company locates in an approved NJ Ignitecollaborative workspace. The participating programs can be based outside New Jersey, as the goal is to attract graduate companies to the state. HAX is one of five startup development programs currently approved to participate in NJ Accelerate. The four other programs are:  Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab (New York), Cleantech Open Northeast (Somerville, MA), VentureWell’s ASPIRE program (Hadley MA  (and University City Science Center’s  Launch Lane Accelerator (Philadelphia).

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