Rutgers University-Newark and Fiserv Inc. are teaming up to create a program that will nurture diversity and innovation in the financial technology industry.
The effort, dubbed the Fiserv-RU-N Program for Inclusive Innovation, will establish a research and incubation space on the Rutgers-Newark campus for the university community and local businesses. The program will also provide annual scholarships for undergraduates over five years and support career modules to prepare students for internships and jobs.
Fiserv, a Fortune 500 fintech provider based in Brookfield, Wisc., will provide $5.15 million in total funding for the Program for Inclusive Innovation to create the on-campus center and support 40 annual scholarships of $2,500 each, including 10 for military veterans attending Rutgers-Newark and 10 for Rutgers Business School students, with a priority given to those studying finance and information technology. The company will also support career modules to prepare students for internships and jobs, including positions within Fiserv.
The company announced last year that it would open a major location in Berkeley Heights that will retain or create about 3,000 new jobs. Fiserv was awarded a $109 million corporate tax break for the move under the NJ Emerge incentive program.
“Consumer expectations for financial services and payment experiences continue to evolve, creating a demand for continuous innovation,” said Frank Bisignano, Fiserv’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “This program will add a new dimension to our ability to bring together a diverse range of perspectives as we develop new answers to the challenges faced by our clients and the financial services industry. With nearly every household in the U.S. having a touchpoint with a Fiserv solution, from digital banking to card payments, we have a tremendous opportunity to deliver capabilities that enhance financial services experiences. We’re energized by the opportunity to cultivate great talent and ideas through the Fiserv-RU-N program.”
Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor called the partnership a “watershed moment” for the school.
“Fiserv is a visionary company that shares our sense of urgency in building and broadening pathways to business and tech careers for students from our increasingly diverse communities, and shares our understanding that doing this helps drive innovation forward,” Cantor said. “We’re creating an unprecedented partnership right here in Newark. Its nerve center will be a collaborative innovation lab right on Washington Street where we can set new standards for the fintech industry, where experienced professionals work side by side with university researchers and professionals of tomorrow from Newark, Greater Newark, and beyond, leveraging diversity, creating better, smarter solutions by bringing people from many backgrounds together to tackle problems.”
Gov. Phil Murphy, who touted Fiserv’s move to New Jersey as an administration success when it was announced last year, also hailed the partnership between the company and Rutgers.
“Through its synergy with Rutgers-Newark, Fiserv will foster inclusive innovation in New Jersey’s largest city,” Murphy said. “The tremendous growth and success of Fiserv in New Jersey epitomize what a company can achieve when it creates value while simultaneously reflecting the values of its customers. Diversity and inclusion are core principles that define us as New Jerseyans, and I am delighted that Fiserv is launching initiatives that not only embody, but build upon, those principles.”
Located on Washington Street, the new innovation center will house technology and provide space for research and collaboration between faculty, students, and city business owners.
Fiserv also supports other programs at Rutgers, such as the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Rutgers Advanced Institute for the Study of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, which work with minority, women, and veteran owned businesses in Newark and elsewhere.