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Institute for Entrepreneurial Research CEO Jill Johnson has been appointed to the New Jersey Equity in Commercialization Collective Advisory Board (NJECC), a panel working to increase diversity among faculty researchers and grow the invention to commercialization pipeline.

Women and many communities of color remain significantly underrepresented within the innovation ecosystem and commercialization of intellectual property, including at the university level. The NJECC project partners aim to significantly increase the diversity of STEM faculty researchers who participate in New Jersey’s entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. The NJECC project, which was awarded a $1.25 million grant from the National Science Foundation in 2021, is led by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in collaboration with the New Jersey Commission on Science Innovation and Technology (CSIT), New Jersey City University, Princeton University, Rowan University, Rutgers University, Seton Hall University, Stevens Institute of Technology, St. Peter’s University and NJ Edge, the state’s nonprofit technology services provider and member-driven consortium.

“Innovation is key to addressing the growing number of challenges facing society,” Johnson said. “Increasing diversity in entrepreneurship fosters growth in new products and services that benefit all communities. Removing barriers to commercialization pathways for people of color will expand opportunities for creating inclusive solutions for the problems that impact us all.”

Johnson co-founded IFEL, an independent Newark-based nonprofit in 2002 to support economic development through entrepreneurship and eradicate systemic barriers that prevent people of color from accessing the knowledge, networks, and capital required for entrepreneurial success. As a 30-year champion for Black-owned businesses, Johnson has been a pioneering voice for inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems and creating a new paradigm for access to capital. She was the driving force behind The Making of Black Angels, an initiative to increase diversity in the investor community.

Johnson is a member of the Women’s Forum of New York, the Women Business Collaborative, and Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs. She also serves on the board of the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and is a member of the America250 Innovation, Science & Entrepreneurship Advisory Council.