NJ Seeking Info on Venture Funding Disparities Faced by Minority Startups

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (Left) and New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan (right).
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (Left) and New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) CEO Tim Sullivan (right).

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), is seeking information, insights, and ideas from fund managers, angel
investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and small-business owners, researchers and practitioners involved in entrepreneurial work, relevant industry/trade groups, and other state governments on the structural obstacles and potential disparities faced by high-growth start-ups run by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs in New Jersey.

The Request for Information (RFI) from NJEDA also seeks interest and ideas on solutions to such obstacles and disparities, including, but not limited to, existing venture and seed funds that specifically invest in Black and Latinx-owned/run high-growth businesses. The Authority is especially interested to hear viewpoints from those firms that may be interested in expanding those solutions within New Jersey or investing in Black and Latinx-owned New Jersey businesses. This includes the potential establishment of a diversity seed fund for Black and Latinx owned businesses in the State.

The full RFI can be read here: 2020-RFI-OET-TLS-099 – Options for Expanding Access to Seed Capital for Black and Latinx Entrepreneurs.

In The State of Innovation, Building a Stronger and Fairer Economy in New Jersey, the State’s comprehensive Economic Development Plan released in October 2018, Governor Phil Murphy reiterated the importance of supporting the small business community in New Jersey, which employs more than 50% of New Jersey residents.

One of the five explicit goals of the plan is “creating the most diverse innovation ecosystem in the nation and doubling venture capital investment in the State.” Governor Murphy’s plan also committed to a New Jersey future that supports all the State’s businesses, specifically calling out the importance of ensuring that minority, LGBTQ, women, disabled, and veteran-owned businesses have enhanced access to the capital, programs, and networks that they need to successfully start and scale their businesses.

This RFI, which focuses on the challenges faced by, and potential solutions for increasing capital to, Black and Latinx-owned businesses, is one of several steps being taken by the NJEDA and the Murphy Administration to address the goals of the State’s Economic Development plan.