"Bridgeton: A Center for Smart Food Manufacturing" one of Nine Communities to Receive Innovation Challenge Planning Funds

Trenton, New Jersey - September 13, 2018

Governor Phil Murphy today announced that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) will award $100,000 each to nine communities to advance plans to strengthen their local innovation ecosystems through the pilot round of the Innovation Challenge. The nine communities receiving awards for their planning proposals are: the City of Bridgeton, the City of New Brunswick, Passaic County, the City of Trenton, Atlantic County, the City of Atlantic City, Camden County, Union Township, and Monmouth County.

The Rutgers Food Innovaiton Center partnered with the City of Bridgton for it's proposal which was ranked first out of the nine selected.  "Bridgeton: A Center for Smart Food Manufacturing" is a project that seeks to develop a national model for innovation and emerging technology for the food sector by establishing a technology hub for the food industry cluster in Bridgeton. The plan calls for creating a 15,000 to 20,000 square foot facility dedicated to development, testing, and training on the latest cutting-edge technology to make food production, processing, and packaging safer and more efficient. 

“Communities across New Jersey responded to this challenge with a clear commitment to spurring innovation in their local ecosystems,” said Governor Murphy. “From the installation of a high-speed 5G fiber network to the creation of a collaborative research-driven incubator and maker's campus, these plans will help further New Jersey’s ability to compete and win in the 21st century economy.” In July, the EDA launched the Innovation Challenge through a Request for Qualifications/Proposals (RFQ/P), offering individual communities or teams of municipalities an opportunity to compete for planning awards of up to $100,000 to catalyze the growth of local ecosystems throughout New Jersey.

Proposals were scored against pre-established evaluation criteria, including the plan’s ability to achieve one or more goals of the Innovation Challenge, strength of the established partnership, commitment of additional funding from partners, presence and strength of a defined collaborative stakeholder engagement process, evidence of the plan’s ability to grow the number of small businesses/attract employers, planning for solutions based on the use of new and emerging technologies, and an ability to execute the project or viability of the planning project. Applicants also received points based on their Municipal Revitalization Index (MRI) ranking.  The rest of the Governor's Press Release is available here