Cleantech Open Northeast Becomes Second Accelerator Approved Through the Program
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced that it has approved Cleantech Open Northeast to participate in its NJ Accelerate program. NJ Accelerate is designed to grow New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem by promoting greater participation by New Jersey entrepreneurs in qualified accelerator programs. It is also seen as a tool to showcase the talent in New Jersey to accelerators on a national stage and encourages newly forming accelerators to launch in the Garden State. Cleantech Open Northeast is the second accelerator approved for the program, following the approval of Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab in December 2020. More information about NJ Accelerate can be found at http://www.njeda.com/njaccelerate.
An accelerator is a fixed-term, cohort-based “boot camp” for startups that offers educational and mentorship programs and facilitates connections to venture capitalists, angel investors, mentors, and corporate executives who can help early-stage companies grow. Many accelerators also provide investment capital and office space.
NJ Accelerate, which launched in 2020, incentivizes accelerators from around the country to recruit participants in New Jersey. It also incentivizes the startups to locate in the Garden State after graduating from approved accelerators. Through NJ Accelerate, the NJEDA will match investment provided by approved accelerators with up to $250,000 in direct loans for startups that locate in New Jersey within six months after graduating from the approved programs. A five-percent bonus is available for companies that are certified as women-or minority-owned. The NJEDA will also provide rent support for up to six months if a company locates in an approved NJ Ignite collaborative workspace.
Cleantech Open Northeast is part of Cleantech Open, the world’s oldest and largest cleantech accelerator, and is managed by the Boston-based Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC) as the on-the-ground affiliate. Cleantech Open finds, funds and fosters entrepreneurs with big ideas that address urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges. Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn ideas into successful global cleantech companies.
“Connecting New Jersey entrepreneurs with capital and mentorship they need to succeed not only strengthens the individual startups, but also bolsters our state’s innovation ecosystem as a whole,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Governor Phil Murphy has long emphasized the critical role that New Jersey startups play in creating a green economy as we work toward his goal of 100% clean energy by 2050. Welcoming Cleantech Open Northeast into our NJ Accelerate program will enable the state’s clean energy-focused companies to leverage the knowledge of an established leader in their sector while maintaining their presence in the Garden State and benefitting from New Jersey’s many assets and resources.”
Since 2005, Cleantech Open Northeast has trained more than 450 startups through its annual accelerator program. Combined, these alumni have generated over $280 million in revenue and raised over $650 million in funds and employ more than 3,300 people. Cleantech Open Northeast, which has a network of more than 1,000 volunteers, unites the public and private sectors in its vision for making the nation’s cleantech sector a thriving economic engine. In Cleantech Open Northeast’s 2020 accelerator program, six of the 40 companies that completed the program—and two of the four companies that were awarded grants in the competition that was held following completion of the curriculum—were New Jersey based.
“Cleantech Open Northeast has been at the forefront of creating opportunities for early-stage, innovative companies in the cleantech space for more than 15 years,” said Cleantech Open Northeast Director Beth Zonis. “Our participation in NJ Accelerate will help us attract and welcome more startups from New Jersey’s growing clean energy innovation ecosystem.”
In addition to benefiting New Jersey startups, the NJ Accelerate program also provides exposure and funding for the approved accelerators. The NJEDA will disseminate information about Cleantech Open Northeast and encourage well-qualified companies to participate. In addition, the NJEDA will provide up to $25,000 per event capped at $100,000 in total sponsorship funding for accelerator-led events, such as Accelerator Demo-Days, cohort road shows, in-person classes, pitch competitions, and networking events held in New Jersey.
Accelerators and entrepreneurs interested in participating in the NJ Accelerate program are encouraged to contact the NJEDA at NJAccelerate@njeda.com. Additional information and detailed eligibility criteria for both accelerator programs and entrepreneurs are available at https://www.njeda.com/njaccelerate.