The recently opened Princeton Innovation Center Biolabs in Forrestal Center served as a backdrop on July 25 as Governor Phil Murphy announced a new set of tax incentives to benefit the incubator and the high-tech startups that make their home there.
“We’re all here today for a good reason,” Murphy told reporters. “It’s right here in places like this across our state where the innovation economy will be reborn and once again dominate in New Jersey. These are the spaces where the next great leaps in technology and the life sciences will be made by new companies doing leading-edge research and development.”
The first program, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority Incubator and Collaborative Workspace Rent Initiative, will help high-tech startups pay the rent at incubators such as the Biolabs, where multiple small companies share work space. The second initiative will expand research and development tax credits to include new industries.
Both are designed to encourage innovative R&D startups.
“Both of these initiatives will allow us to take full advantage of all New Jersey has to offer entrepreneurs and startups as well as our established innovation-driven companies,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. “We have everything right here at our fingertips to dominate the Innovation Economy — our people, our location, and our history. We’ve led this sector before, and through these additional tools, New Jersey will reclaim our national and international prominence for innovation and discovery.”
The EDA is putting $500,000 into the program, which will pay half of companies’ rent for either two, four, or six months, up to $15,000. To qualify, the startup has to be new and either in an “opportunity zone” or affiliated with a hospital or university.
Murphy cited a National Business Incubation Association study that claimed 87 percent of businesses from incubators succeed compared to 44 percent of those who go it alone. The state currently has 29 incubators, seven accelerators, and 31 coworking facilities.
The rewritten tax code will expand the available R&D tax credits beyond the technology, pharmaceutical, and telecom businesses that are now the primary recipients.
“Innovation is the key to New Jersey’s economic development in the future. These initiatives will add to our already robust innovation ecosystem to help us compete with states like New York and Massachusetts for tomorrow’s cutting-edge companies,” said Michele S. Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, in a prepared statement. “Startups and companies that thrive on innovation are as sensitive to operational costs as any other business. These initiatives get at the heart of what new companies need to be successful.”
“We believe that these cross-sector partnerships will foster a vibrant innovation ecosystem with the potential to generate transformative ideas, benefit the regional economy and attract top talent — outcomes that will make central New Jersey an increasingly attractive place for all who live, learn and work here,” said Princeton president Christopher L. Eisgruber.
Princeton Innovation Center Biolabs, 303A College Road East, Princeton 08540. 609-423-1540, www.princetonbiolabs.com.