Memphis Bioworks executes its mission through strategically created not-for-profit and for-profit subsidiaries to fulfill economic development needs in the community. These entities are listed below.
Investment. Innova is a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the biosciences, technology and agbio fields across the state of Tennessee by providing entrepreneurs with access to incubator facilities, training and mentoring, industry networks and seasoned executives. To learn more about Innova, visit its website.
Education. Memphis Bioworks founded Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering (MASE), Tennessee’s first charter school, in 2003. The school has an academic focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and its mission is to prepare students for success in college, with a high percentage choosing careers in science and engineering. For more information about MASE, visit the school’s website.
Research and Commercialization. TriMetis Life Sciences is a pre-clinical services company dedicated to helping companies accelerate research through access to specialized laboratories and research expertise. The organization also operates the TriMetis Specialized Laboratory, a $23M, 26,000-square-foot, pre-clinical GLP-compliant facility. To learn more, visit the TriMetis website.
Entrepreneurial Community. Memphis Bioworks was the founding organization for the hub of the Greater Memphis entrepreneurship movement, launched in 2013, and branded EPIcenter. Based on the Bioworks business plan for an organization to fill a vital gap in the Memphis entrepreneurial ecosystem, the primary objectives for EPIcenter were to serve as a venture development organization that organizes the: 1) Education & Training – for entrepreneurs and mentors, 2) Accelerators & Incubator Space, 3) Mentorship, 4) Investors, and 5) Networking Programs.
With its network of partners, EPIcenter became the enabler of unified strategies to increase support to new and existing entrepreneurs for business growth. Serving as the broader voice of the partner network and a single point of accountability, EPIcenter measures and celebrates the impact of entrepreneurial support to create a just, inclusive, and growing economy that accrues to all Memphians. Memphis Bioworks developed, launched and hosted the EPIcenter initiative in response to the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle’s moon mission to enable 1,000 new entrepreneurs to start 500 companies in Memphis over the next 10 years. Bioworks spun off EPIcenter in 2017 as the entrepreneurial organization had reached a critical programmatic and funding mass that it could better operate as a stand-alone organization.
For more information, visit the EPIcenter website.
AgLaunch. Following on the success of its AgBio initiatives launched in 2007, in 2015, Memphis Bioworks, in partnership with the State of Tennessee, created AgLaunch, an initiative designed to build upon the regional agricultural assets of the Mid-South, the urban manufacturing assets, and the technology and entrepreneurial communities of Memphis. The VISION of AgLaunch was “A transformed regional agriculture and food economy centered around farmers, innovation, and prosperity.”
AgLaunch centered on three unique, yet integrated programs:
• AgLaunch365 – a unique AgTech acceleration process that provides a full year of programming timed with the farm production cycle to take startups from initial product idea through field deployment.
• AgLaunch Value-Chain – a program which identifies gaps and missing opportunities, and assists companies seeking to connect farmers with markets, in connecting farmers to new markets, including value-added processing opportunities and new food products.
• AgLaunch Farmer Network – a group of entrepreneurial farmers organized to help incubate the startup and growth of new products and business ideas in agriculture. This part of the program grew from Bioworks earlier AgBio initiatives.
In August 2018, the AgLaunch initiative had reached a level of maturity that would allow it to stand alone and to expand out of the region, while remaining centered on economic development and investment in Memphis. Bioworks officially spun-off the program as an independent nonprofit organization focused on building a statewide and eventually regional agricultural innovation program. AgLaunch and Memphis Bioworks still work together in commercializing university technology in the ag sector and in other areas such as the Innova Ag Fund investments in high potential start-ups. Bioworks also maintains a place on the AgLaunch Board.
For more information, visit the AgLaunch website
AgBioworks. With support from Tennessee Department of Agriculture in 2006, Bioworks led a five-state (AR, KY, MO, MS, TN) effort focused on the development of new uses and biobased products made from new and existing agricultural crops. This effort led to 23 companies and 27 organizations funding a comprehensive strategy developed by Battelle. The effort has led to over $35 million in funded projects and expanded partnership with USDA and Delta Regional Authority.