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Newark Innovation Acceleration Challenge will award seed capital, mentorship

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Aspiring entrepreneurs can earn $3,000 in seed capital through an accelerator program scheduled Monday at New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Capital One Bank and NJIT are hosting the fifth annual Newark Innovation Acceleration Challenge, which will choose seven winners among 14 competitors. Seven teams are from NJIT and seven are from around Newark.

The startups are working on ideas ranging from solar-powered devices to desalinate ocean water in poor coastal communities, to sensors to help the visually impaired navigate, to a security program that maintains close communication with people at risk of domestic violence or gang retaliation.

Teams will pitch their business plans to a panel of expert judges including Capital One Small Business bankers and NJIT faculty. Judges will select four student-led teams and three from the community at large.

"Helping entrepreneurs develop their ideas and then take them to market is a crucial step in the process of launching novel businesses with potentially far-reaching implications for the U.S. economy and our quality of life," Michael Ehrlich, an associate professor of finance in NJIT's School of Management and co-director of the accelerator program, said in a statement.

Winners will gain access to mentorship in addition to the $3,000 in seed capital from the Capital One Small Business. Teams selected to compete were chosen from 60 applicants.

This year's finalists include students: Nilanjan Haldar, Dual Generator and Desalination; Apoorva Shrivastava, Smart Gear; John Fahim, iCharge; Fabio Arias, SenVis; Daniel Tanis, Koala Band; Chaitali Gandhi, Tremra; Laura Osorno, S&D: Science and Dermatology.

From the community: Tiana L. Pierre, Under Ground Oasis; Elijah Glenn, New Breed Entertainment LLC; Ivette Brown, Bodies Brownie; Diane Ingabire, Angel One; Omar Elmes, Elmes Recycling; Tamer Marshood, TM2002; Crystal Rogers; Rogers Standard Property.

The event is scheduled 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday at the NJIT Campus Center Atrium, Conference Room 215, at 154 Summit St., Newark.

For more information about the event, contact Michael Ehrlich at 516-330-5810 or
ehrlich@njit.edu.

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