Rutgers EcoComplex to Host Clean, Renewable Energy Business Accelerator and New Meetup

Photo: Rutgers EcoComplex by NK Architects, Morristown
  Photo Credit: Courtesy Rutgers University
Rutgers EcoComplex by NK Architects, Morristown
  | Courtesy Rutgers University

In the startup ecosystem in New Jersey, not enough founders have heard of the Rutgers EcoComplex, in Bordentown, which is part of the New Jersey Business Incubation Network.

The mission of the EcoComplex is to promote the development of the environmental and alternative energy industries, including the testing and verification of innovations in alternative energy, the remediation and protection of environmental quality, and the promotion of compatible sectors of the food industry and innovative agriculture.

New to the incubator is the EcoIgnite Clean Energy Proof of Concept Center and Accelerator Program, which will be headed by Serpil Guran, director of the EcoComplex, and which received a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Authority, “which recognized the importance of clean energy business development in the mid-Atlantic Region.” Rutgers has been at the forefront of research and business development in New Jersey in this field.

The first meetup for this group will be on Nov. 15, and will feature entrepreneurs in the field who have lessons to share.

“Last year, in October, we were awarded a grant for two years to form an accelerator for clean technology startups and businesses,” Guran said in a recent interview. “We are tasked with helping them commercialize faster. With this, we now launched a meetup and, also, we are trying to bring young companies, startups, advisors, investors and decision makers to the meetups, which will take place every other month.”  

The EcoIgnite program plans to “harness a network of new and existing resources to assist clean energy technology companies in successfully maneuvering the innovation pathway that includes discovery, concept assessment, business model assessment, technology verification, scale-up and commercialization,” according to the website. Guran said that the program will operate a weekend boot camp and, “Potentially we will accept some young companies to our center because we have lab space, office space, just to help them to grow faster.”

Startups are invited to inquire about the Clean Energy Proof of Concept Center and Accelerator Program for a pre-commercial demonstration. Startups attending the accelerator’s boot camp can expect to learn business development skills that are particular to clean energy and renewable energy. Accelerator membership will help organizations develop technical and business solutions, reduce barriers to entry both from a business and technology standpoint, and help startups bridge the gaps “between policy makers and researchers, between researchers and end-users, and between industry and universities.”

Startups will be offered training and some lab and office space to help them grow faster, Guran said. She noted that startups will benefit from a reduction in the obstacles they’ll run into when commercializing their technology, including the cost and time involved. They will also benefit from experts who can give them guidance in such areas as regulatory and permitting requirements, technology training, testing, verification and engineering support.

The region should benefit from economic development and technology-based job creation fostered by the incubator. According to the website, one of EcoIgnite’s goals is to boost the development of the clean energy sector, by helping existing companies to thrive and creating new startup companies.   

The founders of the EcoIgnite accelerator hope to become a model for “proof of concept” centers in the region. They also expect to hire and train interns through the course of the program, hold events to further the clean energy ecosystem, and train workers from surrounding communities to work in the clean or renewable energy sectors.

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