The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has a mission to grow the state’s economy and increase equitable access to opportunity by supporting high-quality job creation, catalyzing investment, and fostering vibrant, inclusive community development. NJEDA works in partnership with a diverse range of stakeholders to implement programs and initiatives that improve quality of life, enhance economic vitality, and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
Their vision is to make New Jersey a national model for sustainable and equitable economic growth by investing in communities, fostering innovation, and supporting industries with high quality-jobs in the State.
For this month's event, we bring in Tim Rollender, the NJEDA's Technology Sector Lead of Technology and Life Science Investments. He's going to talk about the different support programs like NJ Ignite, NJ Founders and Funders, NJ Accelerate, and others that the NJEDA offers. He'll touch on the NJEDA's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Finally, Tim will also dive into new state legislation, including the Economic Recovery Act and The Evergreen Fund.
Please join us to hear more about these important topics and resources that are available to startups and small businesses in our region.
New Jersey Economic Development Authority
Technology Sector Lead, Technology & Life Science Investments
Tim Rollender has been with the NJEDA for almost 6 years and currently serves as their technology financing, business development, and relationship management industry expert. He works to support, promote and manage the EDA’s offerings while focusing on creating economic growth for this sector in New Jersey's southern region.As the EDA’s Technology Sector Lead, Tim works to help the independent S…
Ashley Assists, LLC
Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce
City of Atlantic City
Director of Constituent Services
Ashley started her career as a personal and executive assistant to two celebrities in NYC. Her experience in networking grew as she obtained positions in customer service, business analytics, and account management. Since 2017, she has grown her business into something she could have NEVER dreamed of.
Ashley is a host of two digital TV talk shows on RVNTV and This is it TV, speaking, and interviewing on the topic of tactical networking. She has taken over 700 introduction phone calls with business professionals looking to grow their network and has given close to 1,000 introductions.
She has spoken to over 50 networking groups, organizations, companies, and conferences, including the coveted Pennsylvania Conference for Women. She has been interviewed on the Mel Robbins Show on CBS, produces and hosts a podcast talking to entrepreneurs and their screw-ups, raises over thousands of dollars for local nonprofits that she partners with at her Cocktails and Conversation networking event, has over 185 referral partners, owns equity in two other startup companies and has been flown around the country as a keynote speaker.
In addition to working with her amazing clients, she runs a monthly networking event, Cocktails and Conversation, which partners up with nonprofits to help fund their monthly projects. Ashley lives in Philadelphia with her fat cat.
Throughout my 18 year career, I’ve successfully built and exited a venture-backed startup, failed at creating the world’s most loved digital agency, and advised or invested in dozens of brave entrepreneurs across three continents & multiple industry verticals such as predictive analytics, big data, last mile delivery, crypto and enterprise mobile.
Today, I spend a lot of my time helping the top seed-stage startups from diverse backgrounds access capital, connections & strategic support to grow, while enabling seed investors to build stronger, more diverse portfolios. Over the last four years, I’ve helped startups raise more than $17.5m in capital from seed stage through growth, and since 2014, valuations for companies I’ve advised have risen more than 3x.
My mission is to quietly and efficiently serve founders while driving capital & resources from the west into innovation ecosystems across the globe. Outside of work in the states, I help power programs in a number of other markets including South Africa where we’ve partnered with Uncharted to form the Mzansi Commons Collective to help transform the township economies. I sit on a number of boards including Industrial Bank’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Council, the Congressional Research Institute of Social Work and Policy (CRISP) Board of Director, the Releaf Advisory Board & Jetpack’s Advisory Committee.
I’m thankful that my expertise & experience has me well positioned to help those solving the problems of tomorrow, today. I’m also honored to receive professional distinction such as The Root's list of the 100 Most Influential African Americans, The Digital Diversity Network's Change Agent Award, The Registry's 40 Under 40 in Silicon Valley, MIPAD’s 100 Most Influential People in the African Diaspora, and most recently Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 list.
Jimmy Whitehead was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1978. Between 1979 and 1984 Mr. Whitehead served in numerous Executive Federal Government positions, with primary focus on domestic and international business development., Mr. Whitehead managed a variety of legislative and administrative activities for United States Congressman Jack Kemp, Senator Phil Gramm and Senator John W. Warner. Mr. Whitehead served in various White House Schedule C and SES appointments for President Ronald Reagan, President George H. W. Bush, and as Director of the Republican National Committee’s Small Business Council reporting to Chairman Lee Atwater.
As the former Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Minority Economic Impact, Mr. Whitehead directed and managed Secretary Admiral James Watkins $250 million-dollar Minority Banking Program to support the White House Rebuild LA effort after the 1992 riots. These funds were provided from the U.S DOE Petroleum Violation Escrow Account, and were not tax payers’ dollars. Most recently Mr. Whitehead provided Post-Sandy Hurricane Minority Outreach support in Atlantic City, NJ through the efforts of the Community Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), and ran for Mayor of Atlantic City focused on creating 5000 new RX5 Cyber Security Jobs.
After receiving a September 2017 call from US HUD to help with Irma-Maria hurricane emergency disaster recovery, Mr. Whitehead Co-Founded US-HART as a Private Sector Initiative P3 platform, to allow private investment to expedite resilient affordable “smart” community recovery, provide local diversity workforce training, as well as RX5 Safe Waste Solutions (SWS).
Michael Chait was named President of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber in January of 2020. As an Atlantic City native, Michael is honored to lead an organization that serves as the area’s unified voice for the business community to foster economic vitality and a higher quality of life in our region.
Prior to joining the Greater Atlantic City Chamber in 2017, Chait spent three years as the director of marketing for The Press of Atlantic City, three years as the assistant director of marketing, communications and events for the City of Cape May, and eight years as the corporate advertising and sponsorship manager at Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center. With more than 15 years of experience in marketing, public relations, and events, Chait has facilitated the execution of diverse events, strategic planning, and marketing programs for businesses of all sizes and nonprofits.
Chait serves on numerous boards and committees including the Atlantic County Workforce Development Board, Atlantic City Restart and Recovery Committee, Atlantic City Policy Group, Atlantic City Executive Council, Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs, Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University, and the Air Mallen Foundation.
Michael holds a BA in business communications from Marietta College where he was a member of the school's rowing team. In 2016 Michael was recognized as a “Top 40 Under 40” by Atlantic City Weekly.
Michael is married to his wife Kimberly of 12 years and they have two children together, Elizabeth (10) and Michael (7).
Bruce E. Weekes was born in Atlantic City, NJ, and is a 2004 graduate of Atlantic City High School. In 2008, Bruce graduated from Howard University, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Finance. Currently, Bruce is pursuing his State of NJ Certified Public Manager (CPM) certification at the Rutgers School of Public Affairs & Administration.
Bruce’s professional career began in 2008 as a Financial Analyst for SecondMarket, Inc., located in New York, NY. In 2011, Bruce was promoted to Associate and obtained his Series 7 and Series 63 FINRA licenses. Shortly thereafter, he transitioned from the Analytics Group to the Fixed Income Trading Desk. In the new capacity, Bruce helped to complete hundreds of millions in transactions, primarily involving municipal bonds. In 2014, Bruce furthered his career by joining Merrill Lynch at their headquarters in New York, NY. At Merrill, Bruce started as a Wealth Management Associate and obtained his Series 65 FINRA license. He later advanced to Assistant Vice President at Merrill, and in that capacity specialized in advising small businesses located throughout the Tri-State region.
In 2016, Bruce located back to Atlantic City and later joined AtlantiCare as a Systems Specialist in the company’s Revenue Cycle Office. In 2017, Bruce joined the City of Atlantic City as a Senior Accountant within the Department of Revenue & Finance. He is currently the Constituent Services Director for the Mayor’s Office of the City of Atlantic City. Prior to joining Mayor Small’s administration, Bruce was an Implementation Consultant at Edmunds GovTech.
Bruce is the founder of the DeVon C. Wilson-Weekes Foundation, a scholarship non-profit that benefited seniors of Atlantic City High School. In 2013, Bruce launched Town Hall Ventures, which was an online fundraising & resource platform for small businesses and non-profits in the Atlantic City area. He currently serves on the Business Advisory Board for Atlantic Cape Community College and is also the founder of the Mayor’s Office Small Business Academy.
Bruce’s passion for community development has led to his induction as a LEAD Atlantic City Tomorrow Fellow, as well as to a Senate Citation from the Second New Jersey Legislative District. In 2014, he was recognized by the Greater Atlantic City Jaycees and Atlantic City Weekly as one of the area’s Top 40 under 40.