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Stronger and Fairer Update

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Entrepreneurship NJ: MADE in Atlantic City

If you ask any random person what their favorite treats are, chances are chocolate and cocktails are high on their lists. Chances also are they think of these things separately. But why not put them together? That’s the question Mark and Deb Pellegrino asked themselves when they decided to start MADE Atlantic City Chocolate, a cocktail bar and dessert restaurant focused on chocolate-infused goodies that doubles as a wholesale chocolate bar producer and supplier.

MADE is a staple of Atlantic City’s Orange Loop, and its clever two-in-one business model allows Mark and Deb to stay hard at work during the shore city’s off-season. But other than a good idea (and a lot of chocolate and cocoa), what made MADE successful? And what lessons can other entrepreneurs in the restaurant and food and beverage space learn from its story? Read on to find out.


IMG_4595.JPGInvestment in People 

Propelling New Jersey’s Entrepreneurs Despite the rain, thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, students, and community leaders descended on Hoboken on October 3 for the fourth-annual Propelify Innovation Festival. The event showcases New Jersey’s synergistic innovation ecosystem and connects entrepreneurs with resources they need to grow and thrive in the Garden State. This year’s event featured a startup competition, an entrepreneur elevator pitch session, and drone racing as well as a Red Bull music truck, an interactive AI demonstration by Bell Labs, and a panel discussion highlighting funding opportunities for female entrepreneurs. The NJEDA and Choose New Jersey shared a booth at the event where attendees could learn about the many benefits of growing a business in New Jersey and members of the NJEDA’s Office of Economic Transformation met with entrepreneurs to discuss the financial resources available to early-stage technology companies.


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Investment in Communities

New Resources for Opportunity Zones The NJ Opportunity Zone Marketplace is now live! This online portal is designed to help connect investors nationwide with business investment, real estate, and community improvement projects in New Jersey’s 75 Opportunity Zone municipalities. The NJ Opportunity Zone Marketplace includes a Project Marketplace featuring business and real estate project opportunities, and a Network that facilitates connections between investors, developers, local leaders, project sponsors, business and property owners, and service providers, to drive meaningful investments in Opportunity Zones throughout the state.

Parallel to the launch of the NJ Opportunity Zone Marketplace, New Jersey will begin to assess the impact of Opportunity Zones using the Impact Measurement research initiative, a long-term analysis of Opportunity Zone communities in New Jersey focused on measuring progress toward the Murphy Administration’s goals. The DCA-led effort launched during the summer of 2019 is an analysis of multiple measures to look at the impact of Opportunity Zone investments on community development activity, business growth, and other key economic indicators. This data collection will be critical to ensuring New Jersey’s Opportunity Zone program effectively advances catalytic projects that improve the targeted communities.

Congratulations Three affordable housing projects that address the needs of underserved populations and a redeveloped, long-dormant landfill transformed into a hub of innovation received the 2019 Governor’s Excellence in Housing and Economic Development Awards today during the annual Governor’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development. The annual conference, now in its 23rd year, is hosted by DCA, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA), NJEDA, and the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA).

• The Leading Neighborhood Revitalization Partnership Award was presented to the Dr. Lena Frances Edwards Apartments in Jersey City, Hudson County. The development is the culmination of the redevelopment of a blighted and contaminated site into 64 units of affordable housing with five set aside for homeless veterans.

• The Leading Innovative Economic Development Award was presented to the Harrison Avenue Landfill Redevelopment Project in Kearny, Hudson County. Hartz Mountain Industries, the owner/developer, took on acquisition, remediation, and redevelopment of the 26-acre, long-dormant project to develop the Cummins Power Systems Training and Maintenance Facility and Preferred Freezer Services Freezer Warehouse.

• The Leading Housing Development Award was presented to Hudson Ridge Residences at Aberdeen, Monmouth County, which transformed a contaminated Superfund site that had been vacant for 20 years into 145 units of affordable housing, including family and senior apartments, with 20 set aside for individuals with special needs, including 10 apartments for veterans, and a standalone community center.

• The Leading Supportive Housing Development Award was presented to Camp Salute in Clayton, Gloucester County. The project provides 76 units of affordable housing, with 19 set aside for homeless and/or disabled veterans, with a veteran preference for the remaining apartments. Camp Salute offers a robust array of support services for veterans and non-veteran residents, including health care, medical insurance, legal services, job training, counseling, and education.  


Making New Jersey the State of Innovation 

Golden Seeds to Grow NJ’s Innovation First Lady Tammy Murphy joined representatives from the NJEDA and Golden Seeds for an information session at Drumthwacket highlighting the resources Golden Seeds offers both women-led businesses and the broader investment and entrepreneurial community in New Jersey. The NJEDA’s partnership with Golden Seeds supports Governor Murphy’s efforts to create a diverse innovation ecosystem in New Jersey by increasing the availability of angel capital for women-led businesses and providing mentoring opportunities for women businesses leaders. It will also foster a strong, cohesive angel investing community in New Jersey by bringing members together to identify investment opportunities, conduct due diligence, and support companies in which they choose to invest. Investors interested in getting more information about the NJ Chapter of Golden Seeds should visit www.njeda.com/goldenseeds.


Partnerships that Cross Borders As part of Governor Phil Murphy’s trade mission to India, leaders from the NJEDA, Rowan University, and India’s National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) advancing efforts to coordinate resources and programs to support Research and Development (R&D) projects with an end goal of commercializing new inventions, patents, and processes. The MOU also contains an early-stage plan for providing financial support to approved projects and Rowan University committed free space at its Technology Business Incubation Centre to NRDC to foster the growth of Indian startups.

Bollywood Comes to NJ Also as part of the Governor’s trip to India, the State of New Jersey, Choose New Jersey, New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, and the Producers Guild of India signed a memorandum of understanding to further enhance their mutual relationship and facilitate the shooting of Indian films in New Jersey. The MOU focuses on idea sharing as well as best practices on film production and promotion. It will also assist the Producers Guild of India (PGI) with the production of films and other cinematic content including location scouting and support for Bollywood film production in New Jersey.

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Making Government Easier to Do Business With 

Offshore Wind Opportunities More than 400 businesses have joined the state’s Offshore Wind Supply Chain Registry since it launched less than five months ago. The free, searchable registry creates a profile of each business, including their contact information and core competencies, and makes the information available to other businesses and projects throughout the offshore wind industry. The registry was developed as part of the NJEDA’s membership in the Business Network for Offshore Wind to attract more offshore wind companies to New Jersey and create new opportunities for Jersey-based companies by integrating them into the offshore wind supply chain. The online portal enables investors exploring offshore wind-related projects in New Jersey to find Jersey-based companies to partner with or purchase from.

Support for Small Business New Jersey Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) can now apply for funding from the NJEDA’s new CDFI Initiative. Developed as part of Governor Phil Murphy’s plan to build a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy by supporting small businesses, the CDFI Initiatives makes a total of $15 million available to CDFIs through two components:

• The CDFI Loans to Lenders component provides direct loans of up to $1.5 million to experienced CDFIs with demonstrated lending and portfolio management history, which the CDFIs will then administer as term loans or lines of credit to qualified New Jersey small businesses.

• The Premier CDFI Program gives CDFIs the opportunity to apply to the NJEDA for Premier CDFI status, which will allow the CDFI to offer term loans or working capital lines of credit for qualified New Jersey small businesses, with NJEDA participations, guarantees, and direct loans of up to $500,000.

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   To find out more about NJEDA and its resources, go to www.NJEDA.com



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