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Booker Introduces Legislation to Help Grow Startups

September 24, 2014

PRINCETON, N.J. – Today U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was joined by NJ Tech Meetup, Tiger Labs, and TechLaunch at a business pitch event to highlight some of New Jersey’s most innovative startups and entrepreneurs.

At the event, Sen. Booker discussed his recent introduction of the Startup Opportunity Accelerator, or SOAR, Act. The legislation would direct $25 million of funding over five years to a U.S. Small Business Administration program called the Growth Accelerator Fund. The program allows business startups to compete for funding to help their businesses grow.

The Growth Accelerator Fund helps companies to find new connections, new routes to investment, and new ideas and strategies to achieve their full potential.

As a member of the Small Business Committee, Sen. Booker understands the importance of business accelerators to cultivate entrepreneurs and provide resources. The SOAR Act also gives special consideration to applicants serving women and minority business owners.

“This program will stimulate our nation’s entrepreneurial energy and spur economic growth in untapped areas,” Sen. Booker said.

“Over the past 17 years, the number of women-owned businesses in New Jersey has increased more than 48 percent and I’m looking forward to seeing that growth continue,” Sen. Booker added. “With the SOAR Act, we’ll be able to increase investments made in promising entrepreneurs, who will put their ingenuity to work for the benefit of their neighbors.”

According to the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, collectively New Jersey’s African American, Hispanic, and Asian-owned small business employ a total of 188,000 people. New Jersey also has an estimated 230,800 women-owned firms, employing 259,200 people and doing nearly $45 billion in sales.

The pitch-off event held at Tiger Labs in Princeton consisted of five New Jersey startups showcasing their products before an expert panel of investors and tech leaders. Founders from Fusar Technologies, Gruberie, Hastke, Notefly, and Wattvision presented a range of products and ideas from wearable technologies to new mobile applications. The event also provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect with other innovators and business leaders across New Jersey.

What supporters of the SOAR Act are saying:

"NJBIN is extremely excited about and fully supports Sen. Booker's Startup Opportunity Accelerator Act legislation. This legislation provides growth accelerators and organizations like them that support startup companies with a wonderful opportunity to support even more businesses with cutting edge ideas within their communities. It gives them the resources they need to continue doing what they do best - creating brand new jobs and growing their local economies. We are absolutely delighted that Sen. Booker acknowledges the positive impact that growth accelerators have on the local, regional and national economies and we give his legislation our full support." – Suzanne Zammitt, President, NJBIN

“I'm very proud that Sen. Booker is introducing the Startup Opportunity Accelerator Act to fund more accelerators in New Jersey! Our NJ Tech Meetup community of almost 4000 members is representative of just one of the entrepreneurial groups that will tremendously benefit from the addition of quality mentorship and guidance through a business accelerator. The success of good accelerators helps keep and recruit great people in New Jersey, preventing them from heading to other startup hotspots. I'm sure this is just the beginning of what we'll see from Sen. Booker and his team to continue to fuel startup growth in New Jersey.” – Aaron Price, Founder, NJ Tech Meet Up

“TechLaunch is pleased to support your proposed legislation titled the Startup Opportunity Accelerator Act which will authorize the Small Business Administration to create a competitive prize program that provides funding to accelerator programs and other organizations that support startups.” – Mario Casabona, Founder and CEO, TechLaunch

"We are pleased to write this letter of strong support for the Startup Opportunity Accelerator Act, which will provide critically needed support to new and existing accelerator programs in our nation. Accelerators provide critically-needed access to funding for startup entrepreneurs, and result in seed capital, business innovation, job creation and community revitalization.” – H. Louis Cooperhouse, Acting Director, Rutgers Food Innovation Center

The Soar Act has received letters of support from the following organizations:

The New Jersey Business Incubation Network (NJBIN)

TechLaunch

Rutgers Food Innovation Center