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Accelerator launched to help NJ companies innovate

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Women-owned companies receive only 2.2 percent of venture capital dollars, social impact company HealRWorld CEO Michele Bongiovanni told an audience of investors Tuesday.

Bongiovanni spoke at an event marking the launch of a public-private accelerator between HealRWorld and the New Jersey Innovation Institute in support of sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

The lack of funding for women-owned companies prohibits their innovation, she said.   

“We hear a great deal about social investing,” Bongiovanni said. “If we want to change the world, we need to start investing in the companies that are.”

Gov. Phil Murphy gave a videotaped message, saying he wants to see New Jersey “dominate the global innovation economy.”

“I do not want us to just do well. I want us to do good in the process,” Murphy said. “That is where the accelerator comes into play. … Your investments in these companies will be crucial. I cannot wait to see companies assisted by the accelerator.”

NJII President Don Sebastian said the launch event is the result of several years’ work among many people.

“What is good for Jersey is good for the rest of the country,” Sebastian said. “We are creating new and imaginative ideas.”

The New Jersey Innovation Institute is a corporation within the New Jersey Institute of Technology that was formed in 2014 to address issues of industrial competitiveness.  

Other speakers discussed supporting companies that fight human trafficking and investing dollars in companies based on ethical considerations.

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David Hutter

David Hutter

David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at dhutter@njbiz.com.

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