Kearny Point is among nine locations in the state where startups are eligible for rent support grants under the new NJ Ignite program.
By Joshua Burd
The state has approved nine locations at which technology or life sciences startups can apply for rent support grants that would help them move into incubators, accelerators or co-working spaces, including some of New Jersey’s largest redevelopment projects.
The locations, which range from Hudson to Cumberland counties, are the first in the state to be approved under the newly unveiled NJ Ignite program. The Economic Development Authority announced the sites earlier this month, noting that the program provides up to nine months of rent support for startup businesses moving to collaborative workspaces.
The locations include:
- The 1776 space that will open in January at the Cherry Hill Mall as part of a national network of incubators, featuring a retail incubator with flexible workspace and a pop-up shop featuring local makers
- Building 78 at Kearny Point, which offers creative office and co-working options for a diverse community of pioneering businesses
- Bell Works in Holmdel, where nearly five dozen companies already occupy the co-working space known as CoLabs.
- Cowerks, which has two locations in Asbury Park and is home to the Jersey Shore Tech Meetup
- The EDA’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies in North Brunswick, which offers the most wet labs of any incubator in New Jersey and is currently home to 21 tenants
- The 108,000-square-foot Enterprise Development Center at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the state’s largest technology and life science business incubator, which is home to more than 60 member companies, including NJIT students and alumni
- The Rutgers University EcoComplex, a clean energy innovation center and business incubator in Bordentown
- The Rutgers Food Innovation Center locations in Bridgeton and Piscataway, which provide a venue for food-related startups looking to take their businesses from concept to commercialization
- The incubator at the South Jersey Technology Park in Mullica Hill, which offers collaborative workspace and resources ideal for bringing innovative technologies to market, along with access to Rowan University’s faculty and students
“We often hear from the entrepreneurial community about the difficulty that startups have finding affordable lab and office space in New Jersey,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Through NJ Ignite, we are striving to remove that obstacle, enabling Garden State innovators to preserve precious capital for product development, connecting with investors, and everything else it takes to successfully grow and prosper here.”
Murphy has been vocal about a creating a thriving “innovation ecosystem” in the state, noting that NJ Ignite benefits both emerging technology and life science companies. For the collaborative workspaces, NJ Ignite is meant to be a powerful tenant attraction tool.
The rent support available to startups through NJ Ignite is made possible through a combination of support from the EDA and the collaborative workspace, with the NJEDA supporting up to six months’ rent and the collaborative workspace supporting rent for half the length of the authority’s commitment, according to a news release. In exchange for the grant, the startup business must commit to paying rent for a term equal to the EDA and the collaborative workspaces’ combined months of support.
“Fostering an environment where young, innovative businesses are able to thrive is core to Governor Murphy’s vision of making New Jersey into the State of Innovation,” authority CEO Tim Sullivan said. “NJ Ignite is the latest in the NJEDA’s growing list of resources designed to support New Jersey companies throughout their lifecycles.”
While all participating collaborative workspaces are free to set their own criteria on how they will select eligible startups, all participating locations must adhere to certain rules, which include hosting a minimum of eight events per year tied to building the state’s innovation ecosystem. They include events such as networking programs and office hours to provide tenants with access to professional services.
The EDA also said it was reviewing additional applications from collaborative workspaces for participation in NJ Ignite. Workspaces that have not yet applied but are interested in learning more about the program should visit http://www.njeda.com/njignite or email firstname.lastname@example.org.