New Jersey officials opened online applications on Feb. 8 for state-financing under a $750,000 grant pilot program that would provide seed funding to “very early-stage” cleantech start-ups for their research and development.
Called the Clean Tech Seed Grant Program, startups can obtain grants of up to $75,000 for developing technology that would recapture or halt emissions of pollutants, carbon and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Businesses can submit applications until April 5 at 4 p.m., or once there are 50 complete applications, whichever is first.
This initial grant is meant to hold over businesses while they transition to the later proof of concept and prototyping stage, where those startups will be in a better position to begin attracting investment dollars, according to the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology.
Eligible technology areas extend to chemicals and advanced materials; energy distribution and storage; energy efficiency and generation; transportation; green buildings; water processing; and water and agriculture.
“New Jersey is ripe with young, innovative companies that have the potential to upend the current global clean technology marketplace,” CSIT Chairman Gunjan Doshi said in a Jan. 12 statement “The Clean Tech Seed Grant Program we’re launching soon will help these startups continue their critical R&D as they work toward commercialization.”
“Creating opportunities for startups to flourish in the clean technology sector will have a long-lasting impact on the state’s clean energy economy and critical environmental infrastructure,” NJBPU President Joe Fiordaliso said in early January.
“By investing in early-stage companies through this program, we are investing in the sustainability of our environment and our state’s clean energy future.”
Startups should be at least between Technology Readiness Level 3 – where they’ve developed a concept either analytically or experimentally – and up to TRL 7, where they can demonstrate the functionality of a prototype.
Applicants need at least one full-time employee that is working 35 hours a week; at least half of the work for the company being done in New Jersey; and at least half of the workers and contractors living in New Jersey or paying taxes there.
They need to have made no more than $250,000 in sales revenue in the prior year; and have gotten no more than $1 million in outside funding, with the exception of government grants.
Priority is given to firms owned by women, people of color and veterans, as well as those located in census tracts considered as potential Opportunity Zones, which are where investors can get federal tax breaks for financing business and commerce.