NJBDA to use EDA grant to help companies utilize data-driven economy

The New Jersey Big Data Alliance announced on Wednesday it will utilize a $220,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to offer programs to companies to maximize the benefit of the data-driven economy.

The project, called “Technical Assistance in Big Data: Empowering Businesses in Opportunity Zones to Adjust to the New Data-Driven Economy”, will provide training on advanced computing technologies and analytics to further build New Jersey’s Big Data ecosystem.

NJBDA said the programs and resources will target Opportunity Zone and distressed communities in Cumberland County (food and agriculture), New Brunswick (life science and advanced materials) and Newark (logistics and distribution), focusing on the industry clusters of each region.

“Companies that know how to use advanced computing technologies have a distinct advantage. Big Data has become so pervasive and the opportunities it presents so transformative, that the ability to analyze it and glean valuable information is now viewed as essential for competitive growth,” Margaret Brennan-Tonetta, executive director for economic development and innovation at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, and project lead on the grant, said.

Topics covered through NJBDA’s Technical Assistance program will include workshops on analyzing Big Data, insights learned through data analysis and managing Big Data projects. Other programs funded by the grand include the development of a Technology Asset Database to help businesses find technical expertise and equipment as well as a three-year Big Data Internship Program open to students of NJBDA’s member institutions.

“From an economic development perspective, advanced computing technologies and analytics skills will continue to be critical assets to generate business value and new jobs. Thus, it is important for disadvantaged communities to have access to resources that enable them to participate in this new data-driven economy. The NJBDA, as the state’s designated cyber-infrastructure consortium, it is dedicated to building New Jersey’s capabilities in the era of Big Data,” Brennan-Tonetta said.