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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Rising Entrepreneurs to Compete at the 2013 Newark Innovation Acceleration Challenge Hosted by Capital One Bank and NJIT

Fourteen teams of rising young entrepreneurs will compete in the Newark Innovation Acceleration Challenge on Dec. 2 for the chance to win seed funding from Capital One Bank and a spot in an intensive accelerator program at the NJIT School of Management to advance their novel business concepts.

At the event, to be held at NJIT’s Campus Center Atrium, the teams will pitch their business concepts to executives from Capital One Bank, a range of professionals from Newark-based businesses, local angel investors, and faculty and staff from NJIT. The judges will select four student-led teams and three community teams to receive Capital One Innovation Acceleration Summer Fellowships, including $3,000 in seed funding and participation next summer in the 10-week NJIT Summer Lean Innovation Accelerator Program utilizing the Capital One Bank Learning Lab at NJIT’s Enterprise Development Center (EDC). New Jersey’s oldest and largest technology and life sciences start-up incubator, the EDC has graduated over 85 successful businesses. 

The competitors are divided equally between teams of college students from Newark-based institutions and teams of community-based entrepreneurs. Their early-stage businesses include a wide range of ideas, from devices to desalinate ocean water in poor coastal communities using solar power, to sensors to help the visually impaired navigate more safely, to a security program for keeping in close communication with people at risk of domestic violence or gang retaliation.

The NJIT/Capital One Bank collaboration, now in its fifth year, aims to ignite business development in Newark by empowering budding entrepreneurs. The initiative is an extension of Capital One Bank’s efforts to invest in economic opportunities for local individuals, families and businesses throughout New Jersey.

“The businesses that are competing today represent the best of Newark – an enterprising spirit, dedication and hard work – and are the future of this community,” said Daniel Delehanty, Senior Director, Community Development Banking, Capital One Bank. “Because fostering entrepreneurship is a driving force for economic development, our partnership with NJIT is one of the most meaningful ways that we support the Newark community, and it’s an honor to be part of the fifth annual Capital One Bank Newark Innovation Challenge.”

“Helping entrepreneurs develop their ideas and then take them to market is a crucial step in the process of launching novel businesses with potentially far-reaching implications for the U.S. economy and our quality of life,” said Michael Ehrlich, an associate professor of finance in NJIT’s School of Management and the accelerator program’s co-director.

In a highly competitive process, the teams participating this year were chosen from nearly 60 applicants to submit business plans for review in the initial round of judging. Previous winners say the fellowship helped them make substantial strides toward commercializing their ideas. 

One of last year’s winners, Safer Surgery Solutions, a suture instrument designed to reduce operating times and complications during cardiovascular surgery by making multiple stitches simultaneously, received enthusiastic feedback from surgeons at major regional teaching hospitals following the competition. The instrument’s developer, Margaret Christian ‘14, who is now working on a second-generation prototype and hopes to license it, called the funding from Capital One “extremely important” in the development process and the guidance she received in the program instrumental in  “helping me think about what to do after the prototype stage.”

The public is welcome to attend the competition, which will take place between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. in the Campus Center Atrium with a breakout section in Conference Room 215. For further details about the event, please contact Michael Ehrlich at 516-330-5810 or ehrlich@njit.edu

About Capital One Bank

Capital One Financial Corporation (http://www.capitalone.com/), headquartered in McLean, Virginia, is a Fortune 500 company with approximately 1,000 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Its subsidiaries, Capital One, N.A. and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. We apply the same principles of innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. We recognize that helping to build strong and healthy communities - good places to work, good places to do business and good places to raise families - benefits us all and we are proud to support this and other community initiatives.

One of the nation’s leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT’s multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of 11,400 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering and cybersecurity, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $121 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com. NJIT has a $1.74 billion annual economic impact on the State of New Jersey.