TRENTON, NJ – Applications for the New Jersey Innovation Fellows (NJIF), a New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) program that levels the playing field for first-time entrepreneurs in underrepresented groups looking to start businesses in New Jersey, are open.
Startup groups of three or more members can apply for a two-year grant to help start a business in a targeted industry such as technology, life sciences, finance and professional services, film, and digital media, etc. The funding is intended to serve as income replacement, which should entice those who usually cannot commit full-time efforts to entrepreneurship due to financial constraints.
Groups are eligible for $200,000 in funding, which can increase by including residents of Opportunity Zones, graduates of New Jersey colleges and universities, and females and minority entrepreneurs. The maximum grant awarded will be $400,000.
According to NJEDA, to qualify, applicant teams must have at least one-half of the group certified as “first-time entrepreneurs,” while at least two-thirds of the group must come from the workforce. Recipients will also receive mentorship and training in various business and managerial subjects during the grant period, with a curriculum developed by some of New Jersey’s top universities.
The NJIF was formally announced in November 2022 and is a competitive program. Complete program eligibility and details can be found here.
–With Jay Domingo/PDM