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Attracting companies to the Garden State: Choose New Jersey is an organization at the forefront of the state's economic development

By ,
Michele Brown.
Michele Brown. - ()

Whether it's recent efforts to attract Amazon's second corporate headquarters to New Jersey, incentivizing existing New Jersey companies to stay and expand here, or providing urban city initiatives to encourage small businesses to grow in the Garden State, Choose New Jersey has been at the forefront of successful economic development.

Since its founding in 2010, Choose New Jersey has been focused on fulfilling its core mission: attracting business, and jobs, from across the country and throughout the world to New Jersey. All companies, from home-based startups to the largest multi-billion dollar corporations, in all sectors of the marketplace have a home in New Jersey, according to Michele Brown, president and CEO of Choose New Jersey, a privately funded economic development organization.

“Choose New Jersey has been building relationships with state, county, and local economic development organizations, as well as domestic and international trade associations and representatives for many years,” said Brown. “New Jersey will continue to build on these relationships in order to maintain a strong presence both nationally and internationally.

“With 50 percent of our new projects coming from overseas, Choose New Jersey will continue to advocate for the State at international trade events across North America and Europe.”

A group of prominent Fortune 500 leaders, along with other strong involvement from other companies and associations, labor organizations and colleges and universities are behind Choose New Jersey’s strong voice in the state. The organization’s efforts represent one-quarter of the state’s private sector workforce, or 1.25 million people.

In the past year, Choose New Jersey has been an active participant in attracting 72 businesses here from other states and overseas. Choose New Jersey does not offer financial incentives, however it does refer many companies to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The NJEDA, which serves as the state’s financing arm, offers a wide variety of money-saving programs to attract and retain small, medium and large companies in New Jersey.

Among Choose New Jersey’s recent achievements are:

MIG Media Neurons Inc., Hamilton: From Gujarat, India, MIG Media Neuron helps companies promote their brands, products and services worldwide.

On the company’s decision to open its U.S. headquarters in New Jersey, Rushikesh Bhavasar said: “The dynamic business environment in the US offers companies significant opportunities for growth. Our new office in New Jersey...offers a supportive business environment, growth opportunities and an excellent quality of life.”

Evotec AG, Princeton: Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, this international drug discovery alliance and development partnership company opened its US location in New Jersey.

Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec AG, called Princeton the “ideal location” for the company’s U.S. headquarters, “based on its proximity to many of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical and Pharma companies and universities, as well as its experienced talent pool that has knowledge and expertise in drug discovery.

“Our Princeton location puts us in easy reach of many our alliance and development partners and gives us the opportunity to cultivate new partnerships in the U.S.”

Y International, Lyndhurst: A division of LuLu Group International, Y exports food and household products for its parent company’s 130 Hypermarkets located throughout the Middle East and India.

While many established companies are choosing New Jersey for their U.S. headquarters, others are coming to New Jersey because of the state’s robust educational opportunities. For example, Switzerland-based Flatev, a startup food company, set up its manufacturing operation at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center business incubator facility where it looks forward to getting guidance from the incubator’s leaders

Similar to a single-serve coffee maker, the Flatev Artisan Baking System sits on the counter and prepares flatbreads, cookies, fresh tortillas, pita bread and more -- all with a single serve dough portion.

“We are very pleased that Flatev has chosen to establish their first global operation within our FDA- and USDA-inspected facility in Bridgeton, New Jersey,” said Lou Cooperhouse, executive director of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center. “There is a clear consumer trend in conveniently packaged products that are freshly prepared at home, and away from home, and Flatev is pioneering this trend in a category where freshness is extremely important.”

Choose New Jersey’s Brown said her organization’s job is to market the state as a “premier business location.” By doing so, she added, the group helps to stimulate job creation and capital investment. “ We offer companies interested in locating or expanding in New Jersey a full range of complementary economic development services to ensure a smooth process from planning through move-in.”

Some of the services offered by Choose New Jersey include: customized RFP responses, market assessment and planning services, site visits, state assistance information, and connections to a wide range of services provided by our public and private partners – from financial, regulatory and legal assistance to workforce training.

BAP Pharma, Landing, a UK-based supplier of comparators for clinical trials, took advantage of Choose New Jersey’s offer to assist in locating appropriate real estate for the company’s first U.S. location.

“The facility and location proved a perfect fit for our company,” said BAP Pharma founder and Managing Director Dr. Bashir Parkar, thanking Choose New Jersey for its assistance.

“Its proximity to a significant number of global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including our current clients, made it particularly attractive. New Jersey’s excellent transportation network also enhances our ability to deliver products quickly and efficiently throughout the region and around the world.”

While Choose New Jersey is a resource to any company from around the world, the organization also stands at-the-ready when it comes to major opportunities that arise. This includes Amazon’s recent request for proposal (RFP) for options of where to locate the ecommerce giant’s second U.S. headquarters.

“We have worked together with the state’s economic development team to submit a response to Amazon’s RFP,” Brown said. “From our ideal location and highly educated labor pool to our world-class infrastructure and top-notch research universities, New Jersey offers inherent advantages to businesses operating in an increasingly global marketplace. Together with the State’s powerful incentives and responsive government, New Jersey has a compelling case to make as we pursue this exciting opportunity.

The organization is also a member of the New Jersey Partnership for Action, an initiative that includes four public-private approaches to economic development in the state. Among the four pillars of the partnership are business tax incentives through the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ) and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Program (ERG). Both programs have attracted numerous companies to New Jersey, resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs.

Additionally, NJ offers other programs that incentivize companies to stay here and grow including bond financing and direct loans as well as popular financial programs such as the Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer program which allows companies to turn net operating losses into working capital.

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