Legislators Discuss Obligation to Promote Green Businesses, Practices
Local, state, and federal government officials gathered Friday at the Rutgers Eco-Complex, a facility that serves as a conduit for entrepreneurs to deliver sustainable business concepts and products to market more quickly, to tour the facility and discuss initiatives designed to promote the “green” economy in New Jersey.
Organized by Assembly members Reed Gusciora and Herb Conaway, Jr, M.D., the event featured talks by Dr. Margaret Brennan-Tonetta, an Associate Vice President for Economic Development at Rutgers University, Anne Marie Maman from the New Jersey Business Innovation Network, Jerome Sheehan, the Director of Burlington County Solid Waste Management, and Dr. Serpil Guran, the Director of the Eco-Complex “Clean Energy Innovation Center.”
“Rutgers has done something amazing here. They’ve brought together environmental scientists and business consultants and given start-up companies the opportunity to harness that expertise in a way that benefits Rutgers, the state, and the businesses themselves,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon).
“We had the opportunity to witness some truly great work today and speak to several small businesses that are housed here,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “The EcoComplex has proven to be a great incubator for innovation and we’re encouraged by the fact that some of these businesses are now looking to branch out into the surrounding communities.”
“The Rutgers EcoComplex has served as a clean technology business incubator since 2001,” Guran explained. “The center assists start-up and small companies in navigating the invention-to-innovation pathway by providing a one-stop location for R&D and prototyping space, and technical support and validation.”
“The EcoComplex brings together regional assets in clean energy, including the diversity of state incentives to build markets, businesses resources, and expertise at universities conducting cutting edge research in clean energy,” Brennan-Tonetta added.
Topics of discussion were wide-ranging and detailed, but included discussion on how the state can partner with its educational institutions, as well as private actors, to create opportunities for business growth in the Garden State.
“It’s a unique facility,” Gusciora said. “The state should have a vested interest in promoting green economic development. It’s an intersectional economy that can promote high-tech and environmentally-conscious innovation.”
In the coming weeks, Gusciora and Conaway hope to work cooperatively with their colleagues to develop strategies aimed at expanding programs like the EcoComplex.
“We have an opportunity to do some good for our citizens here, by creating jobs, economic growth, clean energy, and environmentally-conscious development,” Gusciora concluded.
“Not only do these ventures benefit our environment, but they are a boon for our economy, as well. This underscores the importance of supporting innovation,” concluded Conaway.