The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced Sept. 21 the establishment of a Diversity Finance Advisory Board (DFAB), which will aim to help women- and minority-owned startups increase their access to institutional capital.
The NJEDA says that the board will provide knowledge, guidance and insights for diverse entrepreneurs here in the Garden State.
To be eligible to serve on the board, the NJEDA said that members must have strong New Jersey ties, while demonstrating institutional development, investment or policy experiences. Members must also show a commitment to, and have experience in, the development of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies.
The NJEDA noted that it will continue adding or supplementing the initial board members.
“Across the nation, women- and minority-owned startups have not benefitted from the increase in venture capital investments that white-owned startups have experienced. The Diversity Finance Advisory Board aims to rewrite that narrative and ensure New Jersey-based diverse entrepreneurs have equitable access to institutional capital,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan.
He made the announcement Thursday during a speech at the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) Business Leadership Conference in Woodbridge. Sullivan said that under the governor’s leadership, the Garden State has prioritized supporting diverse entrepreneurs and growing the state’s innovation community.
“The creation of this advisory board, comprised of investment, entrepreneurship, and subject-matter experts with a commitment to diversity and inclusion, is another tangible step toward a stronger, fairer and more diverse New Jersey economy,” said Sullivan.
“Our state has put forth a strategy that has the potential to have a transformational impact on the competitiveness of New Jersey,” said John Harmon Sr., president and CEO, AACCNJ. “Moreover, today’s announcement could lead to a more level playing field for women- and minority-owned businesses whose vision and proposed plans to establish a successful enterprise can now be realized. This is a positive step towards a more equitable future for New Jersey.”
Additionally, the NJEDA notes that the DFAB will collaborate with its staff – working to develop and implement a holistic product set to make the state a national leader in diversity finance.
“NJEDA’s Diversity Finance Board advances the administration’s efforts to increase access and opportunity for historically underrepresented entrepreneurs, and supports our state’s innovation economy by engaging women, Black, and Latino entrepreneurs in the venture capital market,” said Jayne Johnson, director of the Governor’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
Board members are slated to help develop a private-sector engagement framework to identify and engage private capital sources in the state, while also helping to establish partnerships to support NJEDA’s mission.
NJEDA Chief Economic Transformation Officer Kathleen Coviello said the DFAB will help uplift minority-owned startups, while bolstering and transforming the Garden State’s innovation economy.
“By creating additional pathways for entrepreneurs to succeed, the board will ultimately help spur innovation, create jobs, and grow the statewide economy,” said Coviello. “The NJEDA is appreciative of this inaugural board for their willingness to support the Authority and state in this critical mission.”
New Jersey American Water is accepting applications for its new Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Grant Program, open to public charities, K-12 public schools, colleges or universities within its service area that are working on initiatives aimed at promoting and fostering inclusion and diversity in their communities. Click here to learn how to apply.