New Jersey must be more competitive to attract entrepreneurs and small businesses to start and grow here. My New Jersey innovation program will include initiatives for business owners and employees. For example, small businesses will launch in incubators with small business loans from our public bank (see the public bank description under Pensions). Private-public partnerships will provide on-the-job and vocational training. State partnerships with New Jersey businesses will ensure the right investments in education are made as innovation evolves the job market.
Specifically, I will foster innovation programs like Bell Works in Holmdel, NJ, in the building where I started my career at Bell Labs. Bell Works is dedicated to furthering a legacy of innovation—bringing together a rich and diverse community of forward-looking companies in a space that blurs the line between work and play, past and future, imagination and reality. I will also support developing a program like Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Partnership which, in 2016 alone, supported 1412 companies, launched 446 products, and resulted in 1383 new jobs.
On a personal note…
When I came to New Jersey to work for Bell Labs in 1981, New Jersey was a hub of innovation. Bell Labs itself was the best-funded and most successful corporate research laboratory the world has ever seen. At New Jersey locations like the Holmdel site where I worked for many years, researchers invented the cell phone network and discovered background radiation, a critical step in the development of the Big Bang hypothesis. With my background in computer science, I was one of the pioneers who created a new generation of programmable network equipment that today carries voice and data across the globe.
Later, as an entrepreneur working with small businesses in New jersey, I’ve seen how legislation can foster or kill innovation and job growth. I am excited to bring New Jersey back to its innovation heritage.