Food and Beverage Manufacturers of All Sizes Find Support and Solutions at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center
Julie Elmer, Rutgers Food Innovation Center Associate Director Food Technology, works with a team to produce a frozen entrée.
TRENTON, N.J. (May 29, 2019) – For nearly two decades, entrepreneurs developing plant-based meat alternatives, gluten-free breads, functional beverages, and many ethnic specialties have leveraged resources at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center to grow their businesses. Startups considering a move to the Rutgers Food Innovation Center can now apply for rent support through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) NJ Ignite Program. NJ Ignite provides up to nine months of rent-support grants for technology and life sciences startup businesses moving to incubators, accelerators, and coworking spaces throughout the Garden State.
Located in both Bridgeton and Piscataway, the facilities are designed for use by startup- and existing-food companies, farmers and cooperatives, and retail and food-service establishments looking to market signature recipes. Tenants are assisted from concept to commercialization, with services including: business and technical mentoring, food safety and business training, collaborative workspace, and the ability to scale a food or beverage product in its US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/US Department of Agriculture (USDA)-inspected processing facilities.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Richard McArdle, the internationally-recognized Rutgers Food Innovation Center is staffed by food industry veterans who work as a multi-functional team to address the needs of existing businesses and attract new business growth to New Jersey. This team brings decades of applied food industry experience in areas including: food safety, quality assurance, research and development, business development, marketing, and technical operations.
“To find such a breadth of knowledge under one roof is highly unique, but our innovators are the drivers behind their businesses, with our team offering support every step of the way – from concept to commercialization to the shelf,” says Diane Holtaway, Associate Director – Marketing of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center. “Whether you’re an entrepreneur coming to us with an idea, or an established enterprise looking for expertise or production space, we’ve got you covered.”
NJ Ignite 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. In addition to providing rent support to startups, NJ Ignite also serves as a tool for collaborative workspaces like the Rutgers Food Innovation Center to attract young businesses and will encourage the creation of new collaborative workspaces throughout the state. To date, more than a dozen collaborative workspaces have been approved to participate in the program.
“Governor Murphy’s economic plan places great emphasis on giving New Jersey a competitive edge in the global marketplace as the Garden State seeks to reclaim its role as a leader in innovation,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “Providing opportunities for innovative startups to access the benefits of facilities like the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, which can accommodate and support their growth, is just one of the ways we are advancing that goal.”
About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.