The community of startups that has emerged at Rowan University’s Technology Business Incubator at the South Jersey Technology Park (SJTP) in Mullica Hill is a microcosm for New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem. Entrepreneurs from a variety of technology and life sciences sectors—including health technology, information technology, medical devices makers, and defense companies—work side-by-side as they advance their businesses. Many of the incubator’s tenant companies hire Rowan University students and graduates to fill jobs and internships.
Technology and life sciences businesses in their earliest stages that are considering joining the incubator can apply for rent support grants through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) NJ Ignite Program. NJ Ignite provides up to nine months of rent support for startup businesses moving to collaborative workspaces. The funding is made possible through a combination of support from the NJEDA and the collaborative workspace, with the NJEDA supporting up to six months’ rent and the collaborative workspace supporting rent for half the length of NJEDA’s commitment. Due to SJTP’s affiliation with Rowan University, it can offer its companies participating in NJ Ignite an additional month of rent support, totaling ten months, with seven months of support coming from the NJEDA.
“Increasing collaboration among entrepreneurs is crucial to helping the State’s youngest companies flourish,” said Brian Sabina, NJEDA senior vice president – Office of Economic Transformation. “Governor Phil Murphy is committed to making New Jersey the State of Innovation, and programs like NJ Ignite are key to fulfilling that vision.”
Twenty-eight technology and life sciences startups currently call SJTP home. Each of these companies has access to Rowan University’s engineering, science, and business faculty and students, as well as their research, development, and commercialization expertise. They can also tap into SJTP’s program of events and rich network of business resources, including legal, marketing/e-commerce resources, and venture capital. In 2014, Rowan University launched the Rowan Innovation Venture Fund, a $5 million fund designed to provide early-stage funding primarily to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and South Jersey individuals and companies that have developed and tested projects and products that are ready to compete in the marketplace.
In addition, tenants have access to some of the larger companies and research centers based at SJTP, including Lockheed Martin, Inspira Health Network’s Innovation Center, and several of Rowan University’s Research Centers including Virtual Reality, Materials, Orthopedics, and the Center for Research and Education in Advanced Transportation Engineering Systems (CREATEs).
“One of our greatest assets is our ability to facilitate connections between our tenants and the broader New Jersey innovation ecosystem including governmental and scientific contacts,” said Jeanne Nevelos, executive director of the SJTP. “This includes making introductions between entrepreneurs and key individuals within the university’s network, including its two medical schools: the School of Osteopathic Medicine and Cooper Medical School at Rowan University.”
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