New Jersey to offer free rent to startup companies in certain workspaces

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PRINCETON -

New Jersey officials announced an initiative to offer free rent for a period of time to new startup companies that agree to set up business in certain workspaces around the state.

Gov. Phil Murphy made the announcement Wednesday at Princeton Innovation Center Biolabs, a collaborative work center. The cure for hepatitis C was previously discovered at the labs.

The Economic Development Authority will offer grants of two, four or six months’ rent to those startup businesses. If the business chooses a workspace that is newly opened or connected to a university, the EDA will also pay for an additional three months of rent.

The governor says that the initiative is an effort to bring research and technology business back to New Jersey.

New Jersey native Anne-Marie Maman has started and sold three medical technology companies. But she says that she had to go to Pennsylvania to start her companies because New Jersey did not offer any seed-funding.

“It was frustrating and annoying to have to leave the state to go and do that,” she says. “I’m a Jersey girl.”

The state will also modernize the research and development tax credit, so more startups can take advantage of a tax break. State leaders say that they hope the money will go right back into the pockets of the extra workers these companies will now be able to afford to hire.

“The seed-funding that you have you want to put it to work to build value,” Maman says. “So getting a reduction in rent or free rent allows you to take your money and make it work harder to hit milestones.”

Each startup will see a maximum benefit of up to $15,000, which can be applied to a list of specific workspace and startup incubators.

The EDA is beginning the program with $500,000 in initial funding.

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