NJCU’s IDR Celebrates Innovation and Commercialization Lab At Mission 50 Ribbon Cutting

December 9, 2021
NJCU IDR with Senator Menendez_IMG_8004

JERSEY CITY, N.J. | New Jersey City University (NJCU) and its Institute for Dispute Resolution (IDR) attended the grand opening of the Innovation and Commercialization Lab at Mission 50 in Hoboken on November 8, 2021. The launch of the project provides an indefinite incubator and dedicated office space to support entrepreneurship programs at Hudson County’s four colleges — NJCU, Hudson County Community College, Saint Peter’s University and Stevens Institute of Technology. Mission 50 has also committed $25,000 toward innovation on Hudson County’s college campuses.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez joined the Mission 50 team and its membership, Hudson County higher-education leadership, dignitaries and other guests for the official launch of the Mission 50 Innovation and Commercialization Lab.

Located on the second floor of the newly renovated and rebranded boutique office building and co-working community at 50 Harrison Street, the lab will support the entrepreneurship programs at NJCU, Hudson Community, Saint Peter’s and Stevens.

The delegation in attendance on behalf of NJCU were Carlos Lejnieks, Board of Trustees Member; Professor David Weiss, Founder/Director of the Institute for Dispute Resolution’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation NJCU-Jersey City Connect Program; Andres Acebo, Interim Chief of Staff for NJCU; Dr. Michael Arbitblit, Assistant Director of the Institute Dispute Resolution; Donna Bernard, Steering Committee member for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation NJCU – Jersey City Connect Program; Zachary Witman, CEO of Growsquares and mentor to the students of NJCU; Michael Jasonos, Steering Committee Chair for the NJCU-IDR Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incubator; Joshua Iannuzzi, NJCU School of Business Career Services Director; and NJCU student Vivek Gadgil, President of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship club who recently submitted his green-energy based startup proposal to the NJIT New Business Model Competition (NBMC).

“At NJCU, innovation and entrepreneurship for our students is a collaborative effort,” said Professor Weiss. “We are excited to be part of this new regional innovation lab advancing a bridge for idea creation throughout Hudson County and Jersey City.”

Owned and operated by JDA Group LLC (JDA), Mission 50 has a long history of serving independent professionals, growing entrepreneurial companies, and mature enterprises in the Greater New York City marketplace. Its multi-million-dollar transformation, completed in 2021, responds to evolving workplace needs.

“As one of the first co-working spaces to open in the region, Mission 50 is celebrating 10 years of fostering entrepreneurship and business growth,” said Gregory Dell’Aquila, JDA’s founder and CEO. “It has also been our company’s mission to support the entrepreneurs of tomorrow by working hand-in-hand with Hudson County’s institutions of higher learning. In line with that mission, we are proud to be establishing the Mission 50 Innovation and Commercialization Lab.”

Innovation Lab-Ribbon Cutting-Med Res

Student Pitch Competition Prizes Announced by Mission 50

Dell’Aquila also has committed $25,000 toward innovation on Hudson County’s college campuses. “Each of the four schools will receive $5,000 to fund university-led student business pitch competitions,” he said. “The winners from each school will be invited to compete in a countywide pitch competition hosted by Mission 50 in the spring, with an additional prize of $5,000.”

A core goal of the IDR at NJCU is inspiring and encouraging innovative thought from students, and through this program, the IDR aims to showcase ways in which young people can tap into their entrepreneurial and creative talents in and around Jersey City, and beyond.

New Lab Designed as a Co-working Hub for Hudson County’s Four Higher Education Institutions

This grand opening of the Innovation and Commercialization Lab is set to be the centerpiece of the university-driven entrepreneurial community in Northern New Jersey. It will be a location where the four primary Hudson County colleges and universities can transform their intellectual property discovered and developed through research, testing and theory, and commercialize it for the benefit of society and economic development. The lab is comprised of four dedicated offices and a collaboration space in Mission 50’s vibrant co-working hub. Each school will have access to its own workspace, as well as conference and meeting rooms equipped with state-of-the-art video conferencing and a range of onsite amenities.

“This is a great example of what is possible when leaders in the private sector and institutions of higher learning think creatively about how they work together to promote innovation and greater opportunities for our citizens in this economy,” Senator Menendez said at the ribbon cutting. “The task of taking an idea and bringing it to market is no easy feat. That’s why this lab holds so much promise."

“Here at Mission 50, students, professors, and researchers will have the opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs, business leaders, and investors, and find ways to monetize their discoveries,” Menendez added. “How exciting would it be to see that the next hit product or revolutionary start-up was born right here in Hoboken and Hudson County?”

About The Institute for Dispute Resolution at NJCU:
The Institute for Dispute Resolution at NJCU is a platform at the School of Business that promotes sustained economic and commercial success rooted in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), promoting collaboration through international mediation and negotiation techniques and practices. Grounded in theories of business and behavioral sciences, the IDR fosters global commerce through entrepreneurship and innovation modalities, to manage disputes in cross-border, commercial, and general conflict resolution forums.

About NJCU:
New Jersey City University is an institution of higher learning with an audacious goal: the development of our students, our city, our communities, our state, and the world beyond. We are a game-changing force for our students and their families. Whether our students are enrolled in one of our 50 undergraduate, 28 graduate or three doctoral programs, NJCU provides an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty—all of which prepares them to be critical thinkers in a global landscape.

We’re also changing the game for our city, our communities, and our state. As the educational anchor institution in Jersey City, we’ve established partnerships to ensure the area’s growth directly benefits our students and community members. We seek to improve the lives of everyone in the Garden State, whether creating a home for the arts, bringing educational programs to K-12 students, offering bachelor’s degrees in partnership with community colleges, or providing professional development opportunities for adults.

At NJCU, we’re not just educating minds, we’re nourishing souls and lifting communities. We’re changing the game.


Ira Thor
, Senior Director of University Communications and Media Relations | ithor@njcu.edu | 201-200-3301