WELCOME: New Jersey Innovation Fellows Application Supplemental

The Innovation Fellows supports “would-be" entrepreneurs with unique startup ideas, by providing eligible teams with mentorship resources and income replacement grants during the two-year formation and ideation period of their businesses. Grants are be awarded to the most promising startups ideas based on a competitive selection process.

Per program policy and in accordance with the legislation, approved teams will be qualified to receive $200,000 as a base award, and up to $200,000 in bonuses. Bonuses include $50,000 if any one of the entrepreneurs in a team resides in an Opportunity Zone within the State. An additional $50,000 bonus is awarded for each Entrepreneur leader who self-certifies as diverse and education bonuses up to $150,000, resulting in a total potential award of $400,000.

Eligible teams must meet various criteria as detailed in the program’s Board Memorandum and program Specifications.  Applicants will be asked to submit their proposed business idea by submitting a well-written business plan to be launched and operated within one of the State’s Targeted Industries and registered in one of the program’s Eligible Municipalities. A Program Guide can be found Here:  
The NJIF program is structured to ignite early-stage innovation and entrepreneurship across key sectors by providing a full suite of support, resources, and mentorship to selected innovators and entrepreneurs. Eligible teams can expect mentorship, funding and resources tailored to transform nascent ideas into viable products or services.

NJIF Entrepreneur Eligibility Criteria
  • Eligible teams must consist of no less than three (3) entrepreneur leaders
  • Half of the entrepreneur leadership team must certify as “first-time” entrepreneurs
  • All entrepreneur leaders must have paid gross-income tax to New Jersey within 60 days leading up to application
  • Half of the entrepreneur leadership team must be coming directly from the workforce
  • Entrepreneur leadership team must commit to continuing to pay gross income tax to New Jersey during the program’s two-year period
  • All entrepreneur leaders must commit to working at the business on a full-time basis for two years following receipt of the fellowship grant
  • All entrepreneur leaders must commit to participate in a mentorship program for the program’s two-year duration
Proposed Business Venture Criteria
  • Proposed business venture must include a complete and well-written business plan available in presentation or “pitch deck” format
  • Proposed business venture must operate within New Jersey’s “Targeted Industries”
  • Proposed business venture must have a registered address located within an “eligible municipality” within New Jersey which may include a commercial or residential address
  • Eligible teams must have majority equity interest (>50%) in the applicants’ proposed business venture
Other Eligibility Criteria
  • Proposed business venture must be registered with the State within 30 days of award notice in order to close on grant award, as evidenced by a valid business registration.
  • Current tax clearance certificate of the newly formed business
  • Grant funds must be used as income-replacement
The NJ Innovation Fellows program targets individual teams at very early stage, ideation. Existing and already registered startups are not eligible for the program. Teams interested in applying for the program need to ensure they have not legally established a business entity. This requirement highlights the program’s intent to support projects at an embryonic stage.

Please note the application will NOT save automatically, it is recommended before you begin your application you click the SAVE button.

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​​​​​​​Please click on the blue Stakeholder ID number that appears to the left of your first name (e.g. STKHLD-00001234) below in order to begin filling out your required portion for the New Jersey Innovations Fellows application.
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