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NJ Accelerate to Offer Support to Garden State Startups

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) approved the creation of the NJ Accelerate program. NJ Accelerate will provide support to qualified startups after graduating from Approved Accelerators throughout the United States. The program will allow the NJEDA to support eligible domestic accelerators by supporting the hosting of events in the Garden State and will showcase New Jersey’s pool of talented entrepreneurs.

NJ Accelerate, which will begin as a $2.5 million pilot program, promotes greater participation by New Jersey entrepreneurs in qualified accelerator programs, where they will gain specialized expertise, mentorship, and technical assistance and funding. The program is also seen as a tool to showcase the talent in New Jersey to accelerators on a national stage and encourages newly forming accelerators to launch in the Garden State. The program is open to startups from around the world, provided they establish themselves in New Jersey within six months of graduating from an Approved Accelerator.

An accelerator is a cohort-based “boot camp” for startups. Accelerators offer educational and mentorship programs for startup founders, exposing them to a wide variety of mentors, including former entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, and corporate executives. Accelerators also often support startups by providing investment capital and office space.

For qualified Accelerators from around the nation, the NJ Accelerate program will match up to $25,000 per event held in New Jersey, in the form of sponsorship for the approved accelerator(s). Examples of events include the accelerator’s “demo days” road shows, in-person classes, pitch competitions, and networking events. This support is also eligible for the five percent bonus for accelerators that demonstrate meaningful written policies and practices for attracting and promoting companies owned by female or minority entrepreneurs.

For the startup companies graduating from Approved Accelerators, NJ Accelerate will provide up to $250,000 per startup in direct loans matching the funding from the Approved Accelerator plus up to six months of rent support to eligible businesses.  The company will have had to successfully graduated from an approved accelerator program anywhere in the nation and then set up their operations in the Garden State within six months and maintain 50 percent of their employees in NJ.  NJ Accelerate will also include a five percent bonus for startups that are certified as women- and minority-owned businesses. Full program eligibility requirements can be found at http://www.njeda.com/njaccelerate.

“By supporting entrepreneurs during the early stages of developing a new business, we’re helping to unlock the economic potential of entrepreneurship in New Jersey and expand our innovation ecosystem.” NJEDA Chief Executive Offer Tim Sullivan said. “NJ Accelerate is designed to mitigate the many obstacles that early-stage entrepreneurs often face when starting their businesses, ranging from limited business expertise to lack of funding.”

Sullivan noted that NJ Accelerate is the latest in a suite of programs and initiatives the NJEDA is standing up to further Governor Phil Murphy’s vision of creating the most diverse innovation ecosystem in the nation and reclaiming New Jersey’s role as a leader in innovation.

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