The Rutgers University EcoComplex in Bordentown is a hub of activity for clean/alternative energy and environmental technology companies in New Jersey. Complete with amenities that include ample lab and office space, and a 1,900-square-foot, two-story “scale-up” lab that can be customized for specific demonstration activities, the EcoComplex is ideal for young companies working to commercialize their products.
The EcoComplex Clean Energy Innovation Center and Business Incubator offers startups the dual benefit of affordable lab and office space and easy access to educational and networking opportunities including workshops, events, and training sessions geared toward helping emerging companies flourish. Through a program called EcoIgnite: Clean Technology Accelerator, which is funded through the United States Economic Development Administration’s i6 Program, the incubator provides entrepreneurial boot-camps and meetups for companies to connect with investors, developers, and decision makers.
Many startup companies and Rutgers University spinouts have successfully graduated from the incubator since its inception in 2005, and tenants have employed Rutgers students and alumni for jobs and internships.
Rutgers EcoComplex is also an approved collaborative workspace under the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) NJ Ignite Program, meaning the EcoComplex has the ability to provide grant funding through the NJEDA to prospective new tenants to help support a portion of their rent.
Rutgers EcoComplex Director Serpil Guran sees NJ Ignite as an innovative way to attract new tenants to the incubator.
“Our facility and comprehensive business development program are perfect for startups in the clean energy and environmental technology industries that are looking for a supportive launching pad,” Rutgers EcoComplex Director Serpil Guran said. “By providing rent support through NJ Ignite, we hope to bring these businesses out of their garages and basements and into a place specifically tailored to help them succeed.”
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. Due to the EcoComplex’s affiliation with Rutgers University, it can offer participating tenants an additional month of rent, totaling ten months, with seven months of support coming from the NJEDA. The Clean Energy Innovation Center and Business Incubator is one of 11 collaborative workspaces currently approved by NJEDA to participate in NJ Ignite.
“Collaborative workspaces like the EcoComplex Clean Energy Innovation Center and Business Incubator, which sit at the intersection of industry and academia, are vital to Governor Murphy’s vision of making New Jersey the State of Innovation,” New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “The tenants benefit from resources and collaboration opportunities offered through the incubator, and New Jersey benefits from the jobs that are created and from the innovative work being done by these early-stage companies.”
With fifteen companies currently operating in the facility and approximately two dozen entrepreneurs participating in EcoIgnite over the past two years, the EcoComplex “Clean Energy Innovation Center and Business Incubator” plays an important role in New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem. In 2018 alone, the incubator’s tenants created 17 jobs, brought in over $2.2 million in revenue, and attracted $120,000 in third-party funding.
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