NEWARK, NJ — New Jersey Institute of Technology will soon launch two new education and research centers focused on real estate and entrepreneurship, made possible by a historic gift from The Paul V. Profeta Foundation.
Paul V. Profeta, president of the foundation, alongside NJIT President Joel S. Bloom, signed an agreement for the single largest donation in NJIT history. The donation will establish the Paul V. Profeta Foundation Inc. Real Estate Technology, Design and Innovation Center, or “Profeta Real Estate Center,” and the Paul V. Profeta Foundation Inc. Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or “Profeta Center.”
Profeta is a real estate investor and developer with commercial properties all over the country, an educator, and a philanthropist focused on revitalizing Newark. In 2008, Profeta created the Profeta Urban Investment Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides seed capital for startup minority-owned commercial ventures in Newark, and funded the creation of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School to work in conjunction with his foundation. The foundation has launched 15 businesses and created approximately 450 jobs. The Profeta Urban Investment Foundation also provided startup funding for the Intersect Fund, which has made more than 3,000 microloans to minority-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Profeta also funded Rutgers Law Associates, a program run by Dean Andrew Rothman of Rutgers Law School, which has recent graduates of the school help ex-convicts and gang members to integrate back into society by getting old warrants that are no longer valid removed from their records.
The real estate center at NJIT will be the third real estate center Profeta has created. The first was at Columbia Business School in New York City in 1980 and the second was the Rutgers Center for Real Estate in Newark. He also founded and publishes Real Estate New Jersey, the only magazine devoted solely to commercial real estate in New Jersey.
“NJIT is honored to accept this gift and thanks Paul Profeta for all he has done and will continue to do for our university,” Bloom said. “His steadfast support of innovation and entrepreneurship, at NJIT and throughout Newark, is a radiant example of generosity and giving with purpose.”
The first-of-its-kind Profeta Real Estate Center will serve as the hub of teaching, training and research related to technologies, innovation, and novel design and construction techniques that are actively transforming the real estate field.
Housed in NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management and drawing on multidisciplinary expertise from faculty across the entire university, the Profeta Real Estate Center will establish new undergraduate, graduate and MBA programs; provide certificate and noncredit training; organize and host conferences, symposia and workshops; and conduct cutting-edge research related to the changing ways in which real estate is built, traded, used and managed.
“Global real estate is a more valuable asset class than all stocks, shares and bonds combined,” MTSM Dean Oya Tukel said. “We are excited to be on the cutting edge of this market, producing the world’s future real estate entrepreneurs and innovators.”
The Profeta Real Estate Center’s transdisciplinary research activities will focus on the use of technology, new ways of design and construction, and innovative business models in real estate, with a special focus on the application of information technology and platform economics to real estate markets, also known as property technology or “PropTech.”
“This extraordinarily generous gift will transform how real estate is taught, learned and researched by incorporating novel and creative methods and technologies based in STEM education,” NJIT Provost and Senior Executive Vice President Fadi P. Deek said.
Additionally, through the newly formed Profeta Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Profeta Foundation will augment NJIT’s existing efforts in this area by establishing and endowing the Paul V. Profeta Foundation Inc. Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellowship. The fellowship will provide: scholarships for undergraduates majoring in business and pursuing a concentration or minor in innovation and entrepreneurship; summer stipends that enable recipients to serve as interns with one of NJIT’s hands-on, entrepreneurship-focused centers; and subsidies for the students chosen to serve as Profeta Fellows to participate in national and regional training programs, workshops and conferences related to entrepreneurship.
The Profeta Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will also serve as a hub for Newark-focused entrepreneurship initiatives, including the launch of the Newark Startup Studio at VentureLink. The startup studio will cultivate and nurture historically underserved entrepreneurs from the greater Newark community, especially women and those from racial and ethnic minority groups, and help them develop and launch sustainable new companies driven by NJIT-generated intellectual property. In addition, the Profeta Center will host networking and mentoring programs, training workshops, and conferences for students, faculty, and other prospective entrepreneurs.
The Profeta Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be housed on NJIT’s campus at 211 Warren St., and the renamed building will provide a platform for university and community entrepreneurial activities. Efforts are already underway to develop the centers, build degree and certificate programs, and renovate the physical facilities in preparation for a summer 2021 launch, with an expected formal opening ceremony in the fall.
“I am proud to partner with NJIT to create an educational hub in Newark dedicated to the future of real estate,” Profeta said. “Helping students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to be innovators in the field that has given me so much, in the city that is so close to my heart, is very gratifying. I look forward to seeing the new centers thrive as a place for entrepreneurs to drive innovation and renewal.”
Photos Courtesy of Deric Raymond