The business climate in New Jersey is ripe for Golden Seeds
By Loretta McCarthy, Managing Partner, Golden SeedsOctober 22, 2019
Entrepreneurship | Female Founders | Insights | Startup | Women Entrepreneurs
New Jersey is home to thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems, which are creating top-notch investment opportunities for angel and venture capital investors. Golden Seeds wants to be part of it!
Seeing the opportunity to bolster exciting new growth in the Garden State, we recently launched a New Jersey chapter of Golden Seeds in conjunction with the Office of the First Lady and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). This powerful partnership will support our two primary goals: identifying high-potential, women-led companies and attracting angel investors to participate in this work. In addition, Golden Seeds is pleased to welcome the NJEDA as a member of the Golden Seeds angel network.
“We are working toward building a robust New Jersey innovation economy that reflects and supports our state’s diverse workforce,” said First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy. “The partnership we have created with Golden Seeds will drive economic growth throughout the Garden State by helping women entrepreneurs connect with mentors and access funding.”
“We are committed to cultivating a thriving innovation economy that embraces and celebrates diversity,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of the NJEDA. “Establishing a New Jersey chapter of Golden Seeds advances both of these priorities by providing access to capital and mentoring for women-led businesses that play a key role in our innovation ecosystem.”
We have high confidence in our New Jersey chapter because:
New Jersey is a center of big business
New Jersey’s global economy provides huge opportunities for growing companies with a $2.8 trillion gross domestic product and 38 million consumers within 150 miles, according to economy.com. The state also has a proven history of successful companies, with five of the world’s 100 fastest-growing companies located in New Jersey. Additionally, New Jersey’s 53,000 private firms with female ownership account for 30% of all private N.J. firms, according to the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (2016).
The life sciences and tech sectors are particularly strong. Approximately 50% of FDA approvals come from companies with a New Jersey footprint, and the state has more than 2,700 open and active clinical trials. In 2018, 59 institutions in the state won NIH grants totaling more than $250 million and, while 2019 is not yet complete, so far this year 66 institutions have received 646 NIH grants totaling more than $300 million. This has helped rank New Jersey as number 4 in the leading life sciences markets in the U.S., according to CBRE.
In addition to leading the nation in life science, New Jersey is also the number 2 fintech hub in the U.S., with more than 10,000 technology companies. Plus, 25% of Forbes’ most innovative fintech companies are in the N.J. region.
The state is building a pipeline of top talent
New Jersey is helping to build a pipeline of top talent, which means businesses have access to top employees in almost every sector, especially tech and life sciences. Access to talent is one of the most defining characteristics of successful starts and New Jersey offers extensive pools of talent.
The state has more than 150 higher-education institutions in the region, including Princeton University, the #1 university in the country, according to the recent ranking by U.S. News and World Report. More than 23% of the state’s graduates are in STEM disciplines, which helps explain New Jersey’s more than 200,000 scientists and engineers. In fact, New Jersey has the highest concentration of scientists and engineers per square mile in the world.
New Jersey is creating opportunities for angel investments and supporting women entrepreneurs
Under the leadership of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, the state is expanding opportunities for angel investors. New Jersey’s Angel Investor Tax Credit program allows investors who file taxes in New Jersey and invest in qualifying N.J. emerging technology businesses to benefit from a 20% tax credit as of January 1, 2020. Importantly for Golden Seeds, the state also recently added an additional 5% bonus for investments in minority- or women-led businesses. This raises the total potential tax credit to 25% of qualifying investments.
Additionally, it is of great interest to us that supporting women-led businesses is a critical component of Murphy’s plan to build a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy. Because of these efforts, New Jersey is rapidly growing one of the most robust women’s entrepreneurship ecosystems in the country.
Programs like NJEDA’s new Small Business Services unit make New Jersey of real interest to Golden Seeds and to angel investors in the state. We look forward to joining forces with groups focused specifically on women businesses, including Women Warriors in Business Program, which helps women veteran entrepreneurs; the Latin American Economic Development Association (LAEDA), which has a Women’s Business Academy to empower South Jersey women entrepreneurs; and the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corporation (WCEC).
There are great things happening in the Garden State and we’re thrilled that Golden Seeds is now a part of it.