Pharmacists Tatyana Orlova and Elina Elkind of Mill Hill Pharmacy.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) announced that the City of Trenton will be one of the recipients of its Innovation Challenge grant initiative.

The Trenton Production and Knowledge Innovation Campus (TPKIC) will be created in the city’s creative, education, and transit districts. Anchored by a build-out of Mercer County Community College’s James Kerney Campus, the TPKIC will be a multi-university collaborative hub and research and commercialization nexus near Trenton Transit Center led by a consortium of all five institutions of higher education in Mercer County: Mercer County Community College, Princeton University, Rider University, the College of New Jersey, and Thomas Edison State University. Other partners include Greater Trenton and New Jersey Future.

The vision behind TPKIC is to build a collaborative research-driven incubator and maker’s campus for existing and start-up innovation economy businesses, local creators, students, and faculty at partner colleges and universities, and Trenton Public Schools students and recent graduates.

The NJEDA Innovation Challenge initiative is designed to drive inclusive economic growth and increase opportunities to build wealth, such as: improving supportive infrastructure, such as broadband capacity, walkability, or access to public transit; growing the number of local small businesses; providing better access to STEM jobs and ladders of opportunity; attracting top talent and employers increase commercial activity in under-developed metro areas; and building an entrepreneurial culture.

The NJEDA awarded $100,000 each to nine communities to advance plans to strengthen local innovative ecosystems through a pilot Innovative Challenge.

The NJEDA also unveiled a package of economic incentives to help three local Trenton businesses.

Locally owned Mill Hill Pharmacy; a Dunkin Donuts; and the owner of 302 East State Street, which houses East State Deli and Deals, Deals, Deals, will each receive aid from either the EDA’s Business Lease Incentive or Business Improvement Incentive programs.

Both programs are offered only to businesses trying to grow in EDA-designated Garden State Growth Zones, which lie in Atlantic City, Camden, Trenton, Passaic, and Paterson.

The BLI program reimburses 15 percent of annual lease payments for two years to for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations that plan to lease between 500 and 5,000 square feet of space for at least five years.

The BII program subsidizes up to 50 percent of total project costs for facility improvements, with a $20,000 cap, for first-floor located small businesses in target commercial corridors.

Mill Hill Pharmacy will receive up to $2,993 in rent subsidization per year for two years. According to owners Elina Elkind and Tatyana Orlova, the BLI aid will enable them to create 18 new full and part-time jobs.

The EDA will subsidize $20,000 of the $53,000 in project costs for the 302 East State Street property. Building owner Stanley Choung plans to strip the building’s paint, restore the original brick, replace the exterior window trim, and strip and repair all the fire escapes.

And the Dunkin Donuts at the corner of Broad and East State streets will receive $20,000 of the $43,500 in project costs for facade improvements to modernize its appearance, including a new paint job and the replacement of its exterior insulation and awnings.

For more information on the NJEDA, visit www.njeda.com.