On February 11, 2020, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“NJEDA”) approved a $2,500,000 pilot program labeled NJ Accelerate (“NJ Accelerate”). The NJEDA expects to attract more accelerator and start-up activities to the State by encouraging the increased participation of New Jersey based entrepreneurs in accelerator programs that provide specialized expertise, mentorship, and technical assistance. The NJ Accelerate program will be organized in a two-step process: (1) accelerator operators will be pre-qualified (“Approved Accelerators”) and, (2) financial assistance will be provided from the NJEDA to domestic New Jersey early-stage companies that complete a program at an Approved Accelerator.
With a $2,500,000 pilot program budget, the NJEDA anticipates that approximately 10-15 companies will be supported in the NJ Accelerate pilot program in addition to the support and engagement of at least five Approved Accelerators.
Domestic companies from an approved accelerator and meeting certain requirements are eligible to receive direct loan support from the NJEDA up to $250,000 in the form of a 10 year convertible promissory note and will be in the same amount of investment dollars funded into the start-up by the Approved Accelerator. There will be no repayment obligation for the first seven years. Domestic companies are also eligible to receive rent support up to $25,000. Additional benefits include funds for Approved Accelerator programmatic events, including, demo day; road shows; an in-person class; accelerator sourcing event or pitching competition; and a dedicated networking event or conference.