New Jersey Institute of Technology President Joel Bloom (left) recently joined Paul V. Profeta, president of Paul V. Profeta & Associates Inc., to commemorate Profeta’s gift to launch centers for real estate and entrepreneurship. — Courtesy: NJIT
(Editor’s note: Paul V. Profeta, the president of The Paul V. Profeta Foundation, is the publisher of Real Estate NJ)
By Joshua Burd
The New Jersey Institute of Technology is launching new education and research centers focused on real estate and entrepreneurship, following a gift from The Paul V. Profeta Foundation that amounts to the largest-ever donation to the Newark-based university.
The recently announced gift, the amount of which was undisclosed, will establish the Paul V. Profeta Foundation Real Estate Technology, Design and Innovation Center, according to NJIT. Plans call for a first-of-its-kind program that will serve as the hub of teaching, training and research related to the disruptive technologies, innovation and novel design and construction techniques that are actively transforming the real estate field.
Meantime, the newly formed Profeta Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will serve as a hub for Newark-focused entrepreneurship initiatives, including the networking and training opportunities and the launch of the Newark Startup Studio at VentureLink. The startup studio will look to cultivate and nurture historically underserved entrepreneurs from the greater Newark community, especially women and those from racial and ethnic minority groups, and help them develop and launch sustainable new companies driven by NJIT-generated intellectual property.
The centers’ namesake, Paul V. Profeta, is a real estate investor and developer with commercial properties all over the country, with decades of experience in business, education and philanthropy that has focused on revitalizing Newark. He is also the publisher of Real Estate NJ.
“I am proud to partner with NJIT to create an educational hub in Newark dedicated to the future of real estate,” said Profeta, the founder and president of Paul V. Profeta & Associates Inc. and of the eponymous foundation. “Helping students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to be innovators in the field that has given me so much, in the city that is so close to my heart, is very gratifying.
“I look forward to seeing the new centers thrive as a place for entrepreneurs to drive innovation and renewal.”
Profeta formalized the historic gift last month at a signing ceremony with NJIT President Joel S. Bloom.
“NJIT is honored to accept this gift and thanks Paul Profeta for all he has done and will continue to do for our university,” Bloom said. “His steadfast support of innovation and entrepreneurship, at NJIT and throughout Newark, is a radiant example of generosity and giving with purpose.”
Housed in NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management and drawing on multidisciplinary expertise from faculty across the university, the real estate center will establish new undergraduate, graduate and MBA programs and provide certificate and non-credit training, according to a news release. It will also organize and host conferences, symposia and workshops, and conduct cutting-edge research related to the changing ways in which real estate is built, traded, used and managed.
Additionally, the program’s transdisciplinary research activities will focus on the use of technology, new ways of design and construction and innovative business models in real estate. That will include a special focus on the application of information technology and platform economics to real estate markets, also known as property technology or proptech.
“Global real estate is a more valuable asset class than all stocks, shares and bonds combined,” said Oya Tukel, dean of the Tuchman School. “We are excited to be on the cutting edge of this market, producing the world’s future real estate entrepreneurs and innovators.”
The center, the third that Profeta has created in the industry, will be headed by the Profeta Chair of Real Estate Technology, Design and Innovation.
“This extraordinarily generous gift will transform how real estate is taught, learned and researched by incorporating novel and creative methods and technologies based in STEM education,” NJIT Provost and Senior Executive Vice President Fadi P. Deek said.
For its part, the new Profeta Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be housed on NJIT’s campus at 211 Warren St., while the renamed building will provide a platform for university and community entrepreneurial activities, the news release said. Along with its support for Newark-focused entrepreneurs, the program will offer networking and mentoring programs, training workshops and conferences for students, faculty and other aspiring business owners.
The Profeta Foundation also will augment NJIT’s existing efforts in this area by establishing and endowing the Paul V. Profeta Foundation Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellowship, which will provide:
- Scholarships for undergraduates majoring in business and pursuing a concentration or minor in innovation and entrepreneurship
- Summer stipends that enable recipients to serve as interns with one of NJIT’s hands-on, entrepreneurship-focused centers
- Subsidies for the students chosen to serve as Profeta Fellows to participate in national and regional training programs, workshops and conferences related to entrepreneurship
Efforts are already underway to develop both centers, build degree and certificate programs and renovate the physical facilities in preparation for a summer 2021 launch, with an expected formal opening ceremony in the fall.
Profeta, whose company is based in Roseland, also launched real estate centers at Columbia Business School in New York in 1980 and at Rutgers Business School in Newark in 2013. The latter has grown to roughly 800 students over the past three years, while expanding to New Brunswick at both the undergraduate and MBA level.
In 2008, Profeta launched the Profeta Urban Investment Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization created to help start or expand minority-owned businesses in Newark by providing expertise and interest-free funds, while funding the creation of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School to work in conjunction with his foundation. Since its inception, the foundation has helped launch 15 businesses in Newark representing roughly 450 new jobs.
In an ancillary effort, the foundation provided the funding to launch the Intersect Fund, which specializes in microloans of $250 to $500 to small businesses. The fund has since made over 3,000 such loans to minority entrepreneurs.
The Profeta Urban Investment Foundation also funds the Rutgers Law Associates program by Dean Andrew Rothman of Rutgers Law School, in which recent Rutgers Law School graduates in Newark and Camden help clear ex-cons and gang members of old, invalid warrants in order to reintegrate them into society.
Profeta, a member of NJIT’s Board of Overseers since 2014, also recently joined the board of trustees at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.