New Jersey was the center of innovation in the 1950s. However, as I covered in a TEDx talk, the migration of engineers from Bell Labs to California in the 1960s sparked the rise of Silicon. Valley and New Jersey’s decline as an innovation center in America.
Things have changed recently, and Governor Phil Murphy deserves credit for the rebirth of New Jersey’s innovation economy. Let’s look at three examples of a governor bringing back innovation:
- At the start of Murphy’s tenure, Vydia CEO Roy LaManna, an Inc. 500 company ranked as one of the best places to work in New Jersey, introduced the governor of the TigerLabs incubator in Princeton. At this event, the governor asked the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to focus its energy more on incentives for small businesses. After the event, Roy said, “Someone like me who just started in Middletown, New Jersey, who has a startup, who honestly thought New Jersey didn’t care if I had a business. here or not, it gives me a lot of high hopes for what is to come.
- The New Jersey Evergreen Fund. When Murphy introduced a $ 500 million evergreen fund, the idea was simple, yet powerful. For $ 250 million invested by venture capitalists in New Jersey-based start-ups, the evergreen fund could match that investment with its $ 250 million. Fast-growing New Jersey-based startups like Gridless Energy will benefit from this fund and continue to move to New Jersey as the state will help these companies access the funds they need to compete in the market. global renewable energy industry.
- The accelerator of the future of work. Recently, the governor launched the Future of Work Accelerator. The main goal is to help New Jersey residents advance in the workforce, get appropriate training for their future jobs, and learn throughout life.
If we are to attract the best entrepreneurs to New Jersey, a critical component is having a strong, smart, and well-trained workforce. One of my first investments was in a company called Freshly.com. This year alone, Freshly announced the opening of a second facility in New Jersey that would create nearly 400 jobs.
One of the main reasons companies like Freshly have a significant footprint in New Jersey is our well-trained workforce.
New Jersey has the potential to regain the mantle of innovation in America. We have amazing accelerators opening up across the state like the Newark Venture Labs Accelerator, TigerLabs and BioLabs in Princeton, Bell Works in Holmdel, and the 1776 Accelerator in Cherry Hill.
In all of these accelerators, Murphy personally visited and engaged with entrepreneurs.
The investments Murphy made today to plant the seeds of innovation in New Jersey will be made long-term by the residents of New Jersey. Murphy’s re-election will allow his team to continue the innovation movement in New Jersey.
Jay Bhatti is co-founder of BrandProject Capital and investor and board member of several NJ companies