NJEDA’s inaugural program offering entrepreneurs up to $400,000 in income replacement grants

Applications for the New Jersey Innovation Fellows program will open Tuesday, according to an announcement from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

This program levels the playing field for beginning entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups who want to start businesses in New Jersey.

Startup groups of three or more members can apply for a two-year grant to help launch a business in a targeted industry.

Groups are eligible for up to $200,000 in funding, which can increase with the inclusion of opportunity area residents, graduates of New Jersey colleges and universities, and women and minority entrepreneurs. The maximum grant awarded will be $400,000.

The funding is intended to serve as an income replacement, which should attract those who would not normally be able to devote full-time efforts to entrepreneurship due to financial constraints.

To qualify, applicant teams must have at least 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 mentoring and training in a variety of business and management topics during the grant period, with curriculum developed by some of New Jersey’s top universities.

NJIF was officially announced in November 2022 and is a competitive program.

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