Corrections or additions?
NJ Resources: New Jersey Entrepreneurial Network
These articles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 28,
1999. All rights reserved.
I am very reluctant to consider myself a success," says
Abhay Joshi, founder of Discovery Semiconductors at 186
Road. "This year I could be having a banner year and next year
have a bad year. In business, things change."
By Joshi’s own account he has a long way to go before he reaches his
goal. He is working on monolithic opto-electronic integrated circuits,
which he believes will represent the future of telecommunications
(for microwave and fiber-optic technologies) and for the defense and
His goal is lofty: to spend the next 30 years building a giant
and telecommunications company on the scale of Boeing or Lockheed.
"I don’t claim that that is going to happen," he says,
that is my ambition."
Joshi started his firm in 1993 and now has 10 employees in 3,100
feet (609-275-0011). "More than my entrepreneurship our growth
is due to my good luck in having good friends," he says. Joshi
will make one of the six presentations at the New Jersey
Network resources meeting on Wednesday, May 5, at noon at the
Cost: $35. Call 609-279-0010.
Entitled "New Jersey Resources: all the advice, services, and
financing alternatives available to small businesses from the
the meeting will also feature Stash Lisowski of ACE-NET/NJIT
Enterprise Development Center; Ted Marks and Marvin
of T/MAC; Sal Sisto of Pinnacle Technologies; Robert
of Smith Stratton et al; and Randy Harmon of the Technology
Help Desk and Incubator.
Participating resource organizations: Burlington County College
Center for Technology Commercialization, Commerce Bank Central NA,
Defense Procurement Technical Assistance Center, MIT Enterprise Forum
of New York, New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, New
Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Jersey Entrepreneurs Forum,
New Jersey Small Business Development Center, New Jersey Technology
Council, Picatinny Innovation Center, Princeton University Plasma
Physics Laboratory, Princeton University POEM Center, Rothman
of Entrepreneurial Studies, Technology Help Desk & Incubator, Trenton
Business & Technology Center, and US Army, HQCECOM in Fort Monmouth.
Joshi insists that success is not related to money or good luck but
to a strong faith in one’s vision. Some of the entrepreneurial tips
he offers come from other people, and some from his own experience:
India, 100 miles south of Bombay, and earned his bachelor’s degree
before coming to the United States in 1986 to do graduate study at
New Jersey Institute of Technology. He worked for a small company
in Princeton for six years, but his father had warned him to start
a business before he became encumbered with family responsibilities.
In 1993 he was determined to work for himself. He was 28 then, when
he quit his day job and leased space in the Dataram complex. Six
later he met his future wife; a year later they were married.
has been a tremendous support through the venture," says Joshi.
"Her parents also have a small business and she had grown up in
a business environment. When I told her I had a small business she
didn’t laugh at me. Without her it would have been very difficult.
She has been the person who managed cash. I came with ideas but she
is really the one who keeps the show going, the unsung hero."
"My parents had a restaurant business and I had seen the ups and
downs of starting a company. I used to talk with my father in the
early stages. He said, `Just hang in there. He gave very strong moral
support, and he also gave me some money in those tough times."
year, says Joshi, money was very tight, and for almost one year he
was without a paying job. He taught at NJIT as an adjunct, "but
the stress level was high because of anxiety over the new venture.
Since then, we have steadily won research money."
down, whom can you reach to? I was fortunate to have really nice
helping me," he says, citing fellow alumni of NJIT in Connecticut,
Oregon, and California. Along with family members they invested in
his company. "We have been in touch since we graduated 10 years
ago. They have their own extraordinarily brilliant careers, but they
helped me in a pinch with their hard-earned money."
Harmon (now director of the Technology Help Desk and Incubator for
the Rutgers Small Business Development Center) and Joe
(now at Princeton University) helped Joshi find a semiconductor
to fabricate his chips. "They advised me that state universities
are ready to team up with small businesses and work together. Though
I was an NJIT alumni I didn’t know the school was doing that. Randy
played a key role when we won our first proposal with NASA."
"Randy Harmon was a good resource in the early stages and he keeps
on helping us. He tries to bring information on doing business to
the entrepreneur," says Joshi. "I was on a learning curve
for six years and I used to go to meetings, but lately I am going
to fewer meetings. Last Monday I went to the New Jersey Economic
Authority’s capital conference and found it useful. Last fall Randy
invited me to a valuation seminar; he knows where I am, that I may
need to know the value of my company. I am glad someone like him is
there, who does that kind of work. Information at your fingertips
is always useful."
early days of the venture, that is when you get really cold feet,"
he says. "You are not sure that it is going to work. All the
come into play. You think, `Will it be a failure? Will I be a laughing
stock?’ You are basically by yourself at that time. You are an
guy and nobody believes in you. That is why you need to have a strong
ambition and a strong faith in the vision."
I thought I had was to leverage the Small Business Innovation Research
program. In my previous company I had worked on the proposals, and
I was familiar with the system. The chances of winning with a proposal
for the SBIR were one in ten. The chances of winning with a business
plan for a venture capital guy were probably 1 in 100."
his CPA accountant, Patrick Alia, has been very helpful, as
has his corporate attorney, David Sorin of Buchanan Ingersoll.
"The only thing we outsource now is the chip fabrication itself.
All the other aspects of manufacturing we do in-house — design,
testing, sales, and marketing — with low overhead," says
"If the business looks very healthy in the next 12 to 15 months,
we will be at a major fork in the road. At that time we will make
a decision to build our own facility to manufacture chips."
Andy Grove, Joshi reiterates his desire not to be thought of as
"The irony was that while he was writing that book, Intel
underestimated the strong current for cheap PCs. He made a big wrong
decision that hit Intel dramatically, and it is no longer the darling
of Wall Street."
"Look at Compaq computers. In one month their stock has dropped
in half," says Joshi. "Don’t call me a success. Don’t praise
me too much."
— Barbara Fox
Many companies assume that sexual harassment does not
and cannot happen in their workplace and turn a deaf ear to reality,
says Carol J. Northington, of Northington-Doviak, a human
resources consulting firm that conducts training and investigates
sexual harassment claims. Her partner, Lucille A. Doviak, adds
that many companies do nothing until something happens. Their measures
are "remedial instead of proactive" she says.
Every company needs to maintain a strong sexual harassment policy
and it has to be communicated to all employees of the company, say
Northington and Doviak. This decreases the likelihood of a sexual
harassment situation and employees feel that the management cares
about them, says Doviak.
Northington and Doviak both majored in business, at Rutgers University
and the College of New Jersey respectively, and have more than 40
years of experience between them. They were employed in human
with Mobil Corporation at its research facility in Pennington for
more than 20 years. They co-wrote and presented a program that was
used to formulate the sexual harassment policy at Mobil. When the
facility closed in 1996, Northington and Doviak founded their own
The partners will be presenting two "Sexual Harassment
training sessions for officials, managers, and human resources
on Wednesday, May 5, at 8 a.m. and at 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, Route
1 South. Cost: $175. Call 609-924-9711 to register.
The workshop will cover a company’s legal responsibilities and
liabilities with regard to sexual harassment. "Managers and
have to be constantly vigilant," says Doviak. "They can be
personally held liable. As agents of the company, they constitute
the company’s sanction of it and hold the company liable as well."
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission defines sexual
as "any unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors,
and other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature. This behavior
constitutes sexual harassment when submission to such conditions is
a term or condition of employment, submission to or rejection of such
contact by an individual becomes the basis of an employment-related
decision, and when such conditions have the purpose or effect of
interfering with an individual’s job performance or create a hostile,
offensive, or intimidating work environment." This has recently
been expanded to include any hostile or offensive conduct by reason
of the employee’s gender, says Doviak.
Companies should provide appropriate training and have in place a
policy that prohibits sexual harassment and a complaint procedure
for employees to come forward without fear. Northington and Doviak
outline the elements of a good sexual harassment complaint procedure:
might not want to go to the direct supervisor, especially if the
is the perpetrator.
be afraid to cooperate.
by law, this would be optimal because female employees may hesitate
to report an incident to a man.
no action will be taken.
it constitutes sexual harassment. The line that separates consensual
and offensive is so thin that both Northington and Doviak maintain
that dirty jokes, suggestive posters, sculptures, and the like, should
have no place in the workplace.
— Teena Chandy
In an interesting twist, the long-standing wisecrack
about New Jersey — You’re from Jersey? Which exit? — was
as the concept for a $1 million dollar television ad campaign to
the state’s reputation. "We decided to take something that was
humorous and turn it into something positive for the state," says
Jill Scherer, a copywriter at Princeton Partners, the Forrestal
Center-based agency that came up with the idea. Prosperity NJ, a
advocacy group created by Governor Whitman four years ago, gave the
agency an assignment to attract new businesses to the area and keep
existing companies here.
The creative team of Princeton Partners will talk about the process
behind the ad campaign at "Exits to Opportunity: The Anatomy of
an Ad Campaign" on Wednesday, May 5, at 6:30 p.m. at NJN Public
Television on Ernie Kovacs Place. Moving Image Professionals, the
Princeton Chapter of the International Television Association, is
sponsoring the event. For more information call 609-716-1737.
All businesses in New Jersey benefit if the state maintains a positive
public image, says Stephen Kukan, executive director of
New Jersey. So far, he claims, "the ad campaign generated 200
business leads, totaling up to 30,000 to 35,000 in jobs." Some
of the companies, he adds, are already in the state and are
whether or not to stay.
If you want a copy of the ad to benefit your business, contact
NJ at 609-984-4924.
In June, Prosperity NJ will launch the second initiative in the
To Opportunity" campaign — print ads in national magazines
like Newsweek and Time. The television ads will run again in fall,
covering the markets between Boston and Washington.
— Mindy Sherwood
& Also a Wasteland
There’s nothing good to watch on TV. It’s a lament
to many, including noted authority on the power of television,
N. Minow. Minow is a Chicago-based lawyer, former commissioner
of the Federal Communications Commission, and former chairman of PBS.
He has been writing and talking about broadcasters’ little-known
to act in the public interest for almost 40 years.
Minow will speak on "Television, Children, and The First
What Television is Doing to Children, and What We Can Do About It"
on Monday, May 3, at 5 p.m. in the Betts Auditorium in the School
of Architecture on the Princeton University campus.
This topic was also the subject of Minow’s 1995 book "Abandoned
in the Wasteland: Children, Television and the First Amendment,"
co-authored with Craig L. LaMay. The book is particularly critical
of the amount of violence shown in television programs and discusses
its negative impact on children. For this reason alone, in light of
the Littleton, Colorado, killings, Minow’s Princeton appearance is
sure to be noteworthy.
Back in 1961, while serving as chairman of the FCC, Minow gained
attention when he expressed his views on the vacuousness of TV.
as chair by President Kennedy at age 34, Minow memorably labeled the
medium a "vast wasteland" during a speech to the National
Association of Broadcasters. He championed the view that the airwaves
should be considered a valuable natural resource whose unfettered
use by broadcasters carriers with it an obligation to produce quality
In 1997 he reiterated another controversial position advocating the
abolishment of all paid political advertising and requiring
to give free airtime to candidates. Minow previously discussed the
effect access to the airwaves has on national elections in his 1973
book "Presidential Television."
Minow summarized his views on TV and the First Amendment in a recent
interview with the editors of the series Contemporary Authors:
First Amendment does not stand as an obstacle to improvement as long
as we do not confuse the right to do something with the right thing
— Caroline Calogero
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