New Jersey Apps Challenge Aims To Encourage Innovation

HOBOKEN – At Stevens Institute of Technology today, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the “New Jersey Apps Challenge,” a mobile apps competition among three New Jersey universities, and unveiled the “America Innovates Act,” designed to spur the growth of high tech jobs. Representatives from Stevens, Rutgers, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT); high tech entrepreneurs; and business investors joined Lautenberg and Genachowski in a closed door working session to discuss New Jersey’s innovation economy.

“New Jersey’s students and entrepreneurs are on the cutting edge, and the apps challenge will showcase this next generation of New Jersey innovators,” said Lautenberg. “From Thomas Edison to Albert Einstein to Bell Labs, New Jersey has long been the birthplace of new ideas that have transformed our economy and our world. By bringing the brightest minds in business and academia together, we can help ensure that New Jersey continues to build on its rich tradition of innovation.”

Genachowski said, “New Jersey has all the key ingredients to become a great engine of job-creating innovation: talent, world-class research universities, infrastructure, and access to capital. I’m glad that New Jersey leaders like those here today are working to encourage collaboration and entrepreneurship in the apps economy. It’s a low-cost but potentially high-yield way for young people to build their business skills and practice being an entrepreneur without quitting their day jobs or interrupting theireducation.”

Open to students, faculty members, and alumni from Stevens, Rutgers, and NJIT, “The New Jersey Apps Challenge” will accept built-from-scratch mobile apps through Dec. 31, 2012. A panel of judges will evaluate entries based on several metrics, including overall utility and potential commercial success. Winners will be selected from each university to meet with the university presidents, and one overall winner will meet with Dennis Crowley, CEO of foursquare, to pitch the winning idea.

The “America Innovates Act,” inspired by New Jersey’s history as a home of American innovation, aims to spur growth of high tech jobs and train students to turn their discoveries into products and companies. By creating The American Innovation Bank, this bill will help universities and other research institutions establish and grow “proof of concept” funds that can turn researchers into entrepreneurs and discoveries into products. The legislation also aims to provide high tech innovators with the business development training they need to take their ideas to the marketplace.

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