TRENTON, N.J. - In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has extended the deadline to submit responses to its request for information (RFI) seeking insights into the ways to increase access to capital for Black- and Latinx-led start-ups in New Jersey. Responses will now be accepted through July 29, 2020. The RFI is available online at https://www.njeda.com/Bidding-Opportunities-General/Economic-Transformation-RFIs.

The RFI, issued on February 27, 2020, will help the NJEDA fully understand the scope and characteristics of the challenges Black and Latinx business owners and entrepreneurs face when attempting to access public and private capital. According to a recent survey by Diversity VC and Rate My Investor, nationwide less than one percent of all venture capital investments go to Black-owned firms and less than two percent of investments go to Latinx-owned companies. This not only deprives members of these populations of opportunity, but also creates massive opportunity costs by depriving economies and industries of the wide array of perspectives and experiences members of underserved populations could contribute.

“While our immediate focus has to be on helping stabilize small businesses through this crisis period, our long-term commitments and principles remain what they have always been under Governor Murphy’s leadership, including creating the most diverse and inclusive innovation economy in nation,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Extending the RFI deadline will ensure that members of New Jersey’s innovation community have sufficient time to provide their input.”

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The RFI seeks input from a diverse range of stakeholders, including fund managers, angel investors, venture capitalists, small-business owners, researchers and practitioners involved in entrepreneurship work, industry and trade groups, and other states’ governments. Questions included in the RFI address Black and Latinx businesses’ needs and solicit suggestions for how to best structure solutions, including attracting existing seed funds to New Jersey or creating a new seed fund with a specific focus on such businesses. One potential solution the NJEDA is considering is a diversity seed fund that would focus on driving capital to Black- and Latinx-owned enterprises. 

All questions concerning this RFI must be submitted in writing no later than 11:59 PM EST on June 30, 2020 to RFI-ExpandingSeedCapital@njeda.com. The subject of the email should read: “Questions-2020-RFI-099: Expanding Seed Capital to Black and Latinx Entrepreneurs.” Answers to these questions will be publicly posted on the Authority’s website on or about July 13, 2020.
 
RFI responses must be submitted in writing no later than 11:59 PM EST on July 29, 2020 to RFI-ExpandingSeedCapital@njeda.com. The subject line of the email should read “RFI Response-2020-RFI-099: Expanding Seed Capital to Black and Latinx Entrepreneurs.”