“Building Bridges” and the ensuing “Building Bridges II” laid the groundwork for turning around the state’s innovation-based economy;“The Road to an Innovation Ecosystem” details the accomplishments so far.
“’The Building Bridges’ reports have not been sitting on the shelf gathering dust,” said NJPRO Executive Director Mary Beaumont. “The level of cooperation has been tremendous between lawmakers, the Administration, the state’s colleges and universities, and innovative businesses. A number of NJPRO’s recommendations have been adopted, and many of them have been put into action.
“New Jersey has turned the corner and is now gaining ground in the battle for high-tech businesses and the good jobs they create,” Beaumont said.
For accomplishments, the report cites:
· improved management and marketing of its higher education resources;
· enhancing the culture of collaboration;
· investing in the innovation ecosystem infrastructure;
· strengthening its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce;
· creating additional support programs and opportunities for entrepreneurs; and
· improving its ability to attract federal funding.
“New Jersey has made dramatic progress over the past five years in coordinating and leveraging its resources in building a functioning and innovation ecosystem,” the report states.
“All stakeholders … recognize their need to collaborate in the common pursuit of building the state’s innovation ecosystem to spur investment, create jobs and reaffirm New Jersey’s position as a global innovation hub,” the report concluded.
“New Jersey has a heritage as a place that promotes innovation,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka. “Historically, it’s been the home of Thomas Edison, Bell Labs, the top pharmaceutical companies in the nation and much more. To continue that tradition, we have to change how we do things. We need smart, aggressive initiatives that will leverage the strengths of both higher education and the business community.””