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Leveraging Partnerships in Start-Ups and SMEs

Valued Contributor III
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Organizers: Paul D. Thornton; Laura M. Reyes, Career Development Leader, Chemical Institute of Canada

In addition to having a great innovation and a solid business plan, an equally important element for creating a successful start-up is developing partnerships that can access key resources and accelerate the path to market.

At the 23rd Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference/9th International Conference on Sustainable & Green Chemistry in June, we have organized a half-day session that examines the role of partnerships in building green businesses.

The session will first feature several entrepreneurs and CEOs who will share their experiences in building the types of partnerships and relationships that have been most important for their company’s development. We will then hear from speakers with expertise in the due diligence process that investors undertake and in how entrepreneurs can protect their intellectual property within partnerships. The final portion of the session will be dedicated to a panel discussion that will feature a variety of organizations dedicated to working with entrepreneurs to develop industry partnerships, find external resources, and secure critical funding.

We have three entrepreneurs who will be sharing details of the partnerships that have been critical to their start-ups. Our first speaker is Adrienne McKee, Director of Platform Partnerships for Checkerspot. Checkerspot is a company that is harnessing biotechnology to make custom building blocks that enable the preparation of new, high-performance polyurethanes and coatings. Adrienne will be offering insights into how Checkerspot is building relationships that are critical to the growth of the company and that position it for future success. Sumedh Surwade is the founder and CEO of SAS Nanotechnologies. His company is developing a self-healing anti-corrosive coating technology to be used in a wide range of industrial applications. Sumedh will be presenting on how networking and collaborations have been important in overcoming the commercial challenges he faced when building his start-up. Our third speaker in the session is Bryan Tracy, the CEO and co-founder of White Dog Labs, a company that is using synthetic biology to prepare a range of products in fields ranging from animal nutrition to biofuels. Bryan will discuss the partnerships critical in the path to market for the company’s ProTyton product, a high-protein feed material for use in aquaculture.

In addition to these entrepreneurs, will feature two speakers who will be sharing insights into conducting due-diligence when seeking out investors and protecting intellectual property when approaching industry partners. Richard Goodman runs RMG Consulting and has deep experience with entrepreneurs working in chemistry-based technologies. Richard will be presenting on how start-ups can better prepare for technical and commercial landscape due diligence that potential investors will conduct prior to investing in their start-up.

Finally, Krista Bianco and Charles Collins-Chase of Finnegan LLP will describe ways in which start-ups can safeguard their intellectual property while still enabling valuable collaborations and partnerships. Krista and Charles bring significant experience in IP Law and will also discuss potential pitfalls that entrepreneurs may encounter around protecting intellectual property.

The final hour of the session will be dedicated to a panel discussion that highlights the work of organizations involved in helping start-ups build partnerships and collaborations that advance their commercial development. Julie Manley of the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3), Claudio Cinquemani from the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3), Janine Elliott of Venturewell, and Ben Schrag from the National Science Foundation's SBIR Program are the confirmed panelists. Panelists will be describing the work of their organizations and resources available to start-ups that enable valuable commercial partnerships. This closing panel discussion will build on the previous presentations in the session and will be largely driven by questions from audience members including speakers.   

We hope to see you there!

This event will take place at the 23rd Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference/9th International Conference on Sustainable & Green Chemistry on Thursday, June 13 from 2:00 PM to 5:05 PM at the Lake Fairfax, Hyatt Regency Reston, VA.