The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced that it has approved the addition of female-led coworking spaces Indiegrove, Princeton Innovation Center Biolabs (PICb), and CoWork Street to a growing list of collaborative workspaces that can offer rent support to startups moving into their facilities through NJ Ignite.
“Collaborative workspaces are embracing the opportunity to attract young, innovative companies while building an environment where entrepreneurs can network with, and learn from their colleagues,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “NJ Ignite provides access to affordable lab and office space, which is fundamental to cultivating a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
NJ Ignite provides up to nine months of rent-support grants for technology and life sciences 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 providing up to six months’ rent and the collaborative workspace providing rent for half the length of NJEDA’s commitment. NJ Ignite also benefits incubators, accelerators, and coworking spaces by assisting them in attracting young businesses, while encouraging the creation of new collaborative workspaces throughout the state. To date, a total of 14 collaborative workspaces have been approved to participate in the program.
Indiegrove, located near a downtown transit hub in Jersey City, provides its members ample resources and amenities such as meeting rooms, high-speed wireless access, and kitchen facilities. From a build-as-you-go option, which offers 10 days of shared workspace each month, to private offices for up to six people in a company, Indiegrove currently boasts 212 members, many of which are in the technology and life sciences industry. Indiegrove previously utilized a $175,000 loan from the NJEDA to help support the expansion of its facility.
“We have a remarkable community of dynamic entrepreneurs here in Jersey City,” Indiegrove Founder Zahra Amanpour said. “The NJEDA has been instrumental in supporting our growth, and we are confident that our participation in NJ Ignite will allow us to draw new tenants to Indiegrove.”
Situated three miles from Princeton University, PICb offers 31,000 square feet of shared wet- and dry-labs as well as private and coworking office space. PICb can accommodate up to 200 scientists and entrepreneurs who have access to amenities such as conference rooms, videoconference capabilities, a freezer room for storage of samples, four dedicated cell culture rooms, polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) machines to make millions of copies of a particular section of DNA, flow cytometers to analyze the characteristics of certain cells and particles, and fume hoods. It also provides smaller items like centrifuges, microscopes, and weigh scales.
“We’ve welcomed over a dozen startups since opening our doors last year and have seen interest from many other biology, chemistry, and engineering companies,” PICb Director Nishta Rao said. “We’re excited about the hub of entrepreneurship taking shape at Princeton Innovation Center Biolabs and see NJ Ignite as a pivotal tool for entrepreneurs wanting to start their businesses here.”
CoWork Street was launched by Founder/President Rosemari Hicks to create a place where all early-stage, sole proprietor businesses, and entrepreneurs could feel at home. The collaborative workspace is located on Market Street in downtown Camden, a few short blocks from City Hall and the Camden Waterfront, and one block from Rutgers University’s campus. CoWork Street offers open desks (community space), dedicated and office space, a conference room, training space, a phone room, a lounge area, and a full kitchen. As a minority business owner, Hicks says she also launched CoWork Street to connect other small and minority entrepreneurs with each other.
“Camden City is experiencing an unprecedented rebirth and our members have found tremendous value in launching their startups, and growing and scaling up their businesses here,” Hicks said. “We encourage entrepreneurs in all sectors, including technology and life sciences, to come check out all that we have to offer.”
While participating NJ Ignite collaborative workspaces are free to set their own criteria on how they will select eligible startups, all participating locations must adhere to certain requirements, which include hosting a minimum of eight innovation ecosystem-building events per year such as networking events and office hours to provide tenants with access to professional services. Indiegrove, Princeton Biolabs, and CoWork Street routinely host networking and educational events for their tenants.
The NJEDA is currently 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 email@example.com. The website also has information for entrepreneurs and startups looking to benefit from the program, including steps they can take to apply.
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