Last Tuesday, NJIT launched its newest business venture: the New Jersey Innovation Institute. According to the official NJII website, the aim of this venture is to spur product creation and enhancement, develop solutions for sector-wide/company-focused challenges, and serve as a catalyst for regional economic growth. NJII puts forth an improved model for business innovation through the channels of “industry, government, and higher education assets and investment.”
Though it is apparent how this solidifies NJIT’s reputation as New Jersey’s leading innovation university, many wonder how this benefits students and if it is any different than the current business facilitator located within NJIT, the Enterprise Development Center.
NJII President Don Sebastian said, “Students will be engaged like interns for the companies within NJII. This will be a source for experience and possible employment.” With almost 300 students currently employed for companies under the EDC, NJIT President Bloom anticipates “100 students will be working with NJII within the first two years.”
As for the difference between the EDC and NJII? Simply put: size does matter. “The Enterprise Development Center is an incubator for startups. NJII will focus on bigger companies like Cisco and Panasonic,” said Bloom.
Still in progress are plans for exactly how students can get in contact with NJII companies about getting involved.
Also in attendance at Tuesday’s launch were former Newark mayor, Senator Cory Booker, and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guandagno. Sen. Booker, who is part of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said of his work with NJII, “We’re going to be working closely with your leadership to find some things we can partner on. I’m pretty thrilled to have this sort of catalytic agent here. I think the opportunities will be incredibly robust.”