Category Archives: News Releases

USDA, TDA Announce Seed Funding to Ignite Agri-Tech Entrepreneurship

NASHVILLE — The next great business idea just may come from rural Tennessee. USDA Rural Development and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture today announced $220,000 in combined seed funding for a new initiative to help make Tennessee a hub of agri-tech innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Department of Agriculture will facilitate the program, known as AgLaunch. Led by Memphis Bioworks Foundation, the program will also include participation from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. AgLaunch is an ambitious effort to attract 200 entrepreneurs and establish 100 successful and investable agricultural-sector companies in Tennessee by 2020.

AgLaunch will seek to identify early stage agri-technologies and companies and assist them in building investable, high-growth enterprises through mentorship and programming. Bioworks is currently working with investors and seeking a total of $10 million in public and private funding over the next five years for the project. The goal is to initiate AgLaunch in 2016.

For the full release, visit the Tennessee Department of Agriculture website here.

Two Current ZeroTo510 Companies Selected for Prestigious International Entrepreneurship Programs

MEMPHIS, Tennessee, July 20, 2015 – Two of the four companies in the current ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator cohort are being recognized this month at major international innovation and entrepreneurial programs.

GlucosAlarm, an international company from Chihuahua, Mexico, which has created a technology to measure glucose in diabetic patients’ urine and simplifies the testing procedure, has been selected as one of the 30 (15 Idea Stage and 15 Start-up Stage) U.S. Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I finalists to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.  Co-founder of GlucosAlarm Carlos Bernal will travel to Nairobi, Kenya, on July 20. The competition is on July 24, and a closing ceremony on July 26 will be attended by President Obama.

Inspire Living, from Fairfax Station, Va., a start-up company offering a portable health monitor that enables anyone, anywhere, to conduct an automated respiratory and rapid vitals exam on a child, has been nominated by independent experts as a leading innovation in the maternal, child, and newborn health category as part of Reimagining Global Health, the inaugural report of the Innovation Countdown 2030 initiative. Reimagining Global Health was officially launched at the third UN Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last week.

To read the full news release, visit the ZeroTo510 website.

U.S. Department of Commerce Designates Memphis an IMCP Manufacturing Community

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced Memphis as one of 12 communities that have received designations under the Obama Administration’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative.  This program, which the Greater Memphis Chamber applied for, is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies. The 12 designated communities will have access to coordinated support for their strategies from eleven federal agencies with more than $1 billion available in federal economic development assistance.

For the full news release, visit the Greater Memphis Chamber’s website here.

Thomas P. Miller and Associates to Collaborate with Tennessee-based Memphis Bioworks

Indianapolisbased Thomas P. Miller and Associates (TPMA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a Tennessee 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, that calls for the two firms to collaborate on potential projects, such as grant applications and consulting services.

“The two firms will share their respective areas of expertise and work together where it makes sense,” said Thomas P. Miller, President and CEO of Thomas P. Miller and Associates. “We each have our own areas of focus and expertise, and we are seeing many opportunities and projects these days that call for skill sets that require the talents of both of our firms. As such, we will join forces wherever we can to offer our clients a more robust and specialized set of services.”

TPMA specializes in providing strategic planning services in education, workforce development, economic development, research, evaluation and grant writing, while Memphis Bioworks has extensive expertise in life sciences, innovation, entrepreneurship, workforce development, venture capital and angel investing, and coalition-building and sector partnerships.

“Our two firms both practice and espouse the importance of collaboration to and among our clients, and that is exactly what we are doing with this agreement,” said Steve Bares, PhD, President and Executive Director of Memphis Bioworks. “This partnership allows us to leverage the strengths and focus areas of each of our firms to address strategic economic needs in communities around the country..”

About Thomas P. Miller and Associates (TPMA): TPMA is a national consulting and management firm based in Indianapolis, Indiana with offices located in Youngstown, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky. TPMA has been developing and implementing strategic plans and serving as a change agent for over 25 years. Our focus is not just on research and analysis and strategic ideas, but strategic leadership and action-oriented goals – helping leaders to identify opportunities and mobilize multiple resources for implementation. For more information, visit www.tpma-inc.com or follow @tpma_inc on Twitter.

About Memphis Bioworks Foundation: Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability.  A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers.  For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

 

Four companies selected for ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator

Fourth cohort attracts medical device entrepreneurs from United States and Mexico

MEMPHIS, Tennessee, May 11, 2015 – Four entrepreneurial teams have been selected for the 2015 ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator and begin the 12-week program at the Memphis Bioworks Business Incubator today.  The 2015 participants are:

  • Sweet Bio, with ties to both the University of Memphis and San Francisco, makes membranes for tissue regeneration used in oral surgeries utilizing medical-grade honey as one of the ingredients.
  • SiteSaver, from Little Rock, Ark., provides hospitals with a simple device that protects and preserves patients’ IV sites and central lines.
  • GlucosAlarm, an international company from Chihuahua, Mexico, has created a technology to measure glucose in diabetic patients’ urine, which simplifies the testing procedure.
  • Inspire Living, from Fairfax Station, Va., offers a portable health monitor that enables anyone, anywhere, to conduct an automated respiratory and rapid vitals exam on a child.

The goal of the 12-week, mentor-driven program is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine their business models and achieve the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing. An entrepreneurship program for medical devices is an ideal match for the resources and talents in the Memphis area, which has the second-largest concentration of medical device companies in the United States.

The four selected companies have received $50,000 in initial seed capital from co-investors Innova, a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the healthcare, technology and healthcare technology fields across the state of Tennessee; and MB Venture Partners, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups.

At the end of the 12-week program, the participants will pitch to a group of investors at Demo Day, on August 13, 2015. The investors will select finalists, who will receive as much as $100,000 in additional capital infusion and the opportunity to further develop their businesses.

“Even with increased competition among business accelerators, we received applications from six continents and every region of the United States,” said Allan Daisley, co-founder of ZeroTo510 and director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for Memphis Bioworks. “Recent national recognition and a track record of success have enabled us to continue to successfully recruit entrepreneurs with promising and innovative ideas to Memphis.”

Now in its fourth year, the program has accelerated the creation of 16 new companies, more than 30 jobs, and $7.5 million in investments. Among these companies’ successes: three are in the marketplace generating revenue, one has received FDA clearance, and one is treating patients in an IRB study.  As the first-ever medical device accelerator, ZeroTo510 is now recognized as a benchmark model for subsequent medical device accelerators, including one in Australia. In March, ZeroTo510 was announced as one of the top 15 accelerators in the United States by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project. The ranking was announced at SXSW and in TechCrunch.

ZeroTo510 is also an integral part of EPIcenter, a collaborative and community-wide strategic initiative that is helping entrepreneurs conceive, launch and scale businesses in the Memphis region.  Beyond the accelerator process, ZeroTo510 participants will also have access to EPIcenter-led collaborations among entrepreneurial support organizations in Memphis, as well as expertise and support from the full entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region.

ZeroTo510 is operated by Memphis Bioworks Foundation and is an initiative of the Greater Memphis Regional Accelerator, a program funded by Launch Tennessee and the State of Tennessee.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

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About Memphis Bioworks Foundation

Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability.  A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers.  For more information, visit memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

Free Job Training for Unemployed Memphis Residents

EPA grant administered by Memphis Bioworks provides job training and placement assistance

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (March 20, 2015) – Funded in part by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Memphis Clean and Green Job Training Program has opened enrollment for free job training and placement assistance to unemployed, under-employed and dislocated residents of Shelby County. Weekly information sessions for those interested in the program will take place at 10:00 a.m. every Tuesday at Memphis Bioworks, 20 Dudley St., on the first floor.

The program is administered by Memphis Bioworks, in partnership with area organizations, with the purpose of training 75 local workers in jobs such as environmental technician, emergency response technician, energy auditor, abatement specialist, and construction positions. Training will be provided at no cost to participants, and job placement assistance will be provided upon successful completion of the program.

“We’re preparing our applicants for work in the environmental and energy efficiency markets,” said Dana Dorsey, job training manager for Memphis Bioworks.  “Our goal is to identify the right partners and train applicants in new skills needed for local jobs in emerging employment sectors.”

Environmental job training will consist of two weeks of core training, including seven awareness courses, CPR/First-Aid/AED/Bloodborne Pathogens, Hazardous Materials Transportation, and Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER). Participants will then have the option for additional technical training in one of two specialized job tracks that include education in energy efficiency/retrofit and construction/healthy homes.

To qualify for the program, applicants must be residents of Memphis and at least 18 years of age. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, and they must be unemployed, or earning less than $15 an hour.  Additional qualifications can be found here.

This training program is designed to provide workforce support for the Clean and Green Initiative, a five-year sustainability strategy for the City of Memphis that will create local jobs, reduce the City’s operating costs and improve the environment.

Partners providing in-kind training include the City of Memphis Division of Parks and Neighborhoods, the City of Memphis Division of Public Works, EnSafe, MLGW, EnviroRem, and the University of Tennessee Extension – Shelby County.

Memphis Bioworks leads local and regional partnerships among more than 200 training providers and employers.  Recent training efforts have placed workers in the fields of medical research, health and information technology, environmental remediation skills and technologies, and renewable energy/energy efficiency industries, including electrical, construction and manufacturing. Since 2010, Memphis Bioworks’ workforce development efforts have resulted in more than 900 workers trained, more than 550 workers receiving degrees or certificates, and more than 450 workers placed in jobs (and growing).

This is the second EPA Environmental Jobs Training Grant received by Memphis Bioworks.  In the first grant, received in January 2012, Memphis Bioworks enrolled 110 unemployed/underemployed residents and exceeded all training and placement goals.

For additional information, potential applicants are encouraged to attend one of the weekly informational sessions held at 10:00 a.m. every Tuesday at Memphis Bioworks Foundation, 20 Dudley St., First Floor. Free parking is available in the garage on the corner of Union Ave. and Dudley St. 

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About Memphis Bioworks Foundation

Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability.  A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers.  For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

ZeroTo510 Named a Top 20 U.S. Accelerator

Today, at SXSW and in TechCrunch, ZeroTo510 was announced as one of the top 20 accelerators in the United States.

ZeroTo510 was ranked 15th in the nation by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project.

We’d like to thank our team, our partners, our mentors, our board, and especially the entrepreneurs and graduates of ZeroTo510 for the hard work and collaboration that made this recognition possible.

More information about the ranking project and its methodology is here.

Logistics innovation accelerator opens application process in Memphis

Sponsored by FedEx, inaugural program leverages regional strength in logistics technology

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (March 10, 2015) – Applications are now open for the 2015 EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, an entrepreneurship accelerator program sponsored by FedEx and created to help startups bring innovative logistics technology to market.

The EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator is unique among entrepreneurship programs in that it focuses on technologies and products that enable and enhance logistics, leveraging the region’s strengths as the world’s distribution hub.

For the full news release, visit the EPIcenter website here.

Leslie Lynn Smith Selected to be President of EPIcenter

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (February 17, 2015) – Nationally recognized entrepreneurial and business development leader Leslie Lynn Smith has been selected as president of the Entrepreneurship-Powered Innovation Center (EPIcenter), a collaborative and community-wide strategic initiative led by Memphis Bioworks that is helping entrepreneurs conceive, launch and scale businesses in the Memphis region. In addition to her leadership at EPIcenter, Smith will serve as a vice president on the Memphis Bioworks executive team.

Smith comes to EPIcenter following five years of successful entrepreneurial leadership as president and CEO of TechTown Detroit. As the city’s most established business accelerator and incubator, TechTown provides a powerful connection to a broad network of resources, catalyzing entire communities of entrepreneurs best poised to energize the local economy. At TechTown, Smith led the transformation of Detroit’s economy with innovative business modeling and cutting-edge economic development programs. In her role as president and CEO, she stabilized and scaled enterprise activities with new program design, provocative partnership models and a hub-and-spoke catalyst framework, at the center of which sits TechTown. Previously, she was director of business acceleration for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., overseeing the state’s $300 million investment portfolio.

Read the full announcement on the EPIcenter website.

ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator Opens 2015 Application Process

Now in its fourth year, accelerator has track record of success

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (January 23, 2015) – Applications are now open for ZeroTo510, an entrepreneurship accelerator program that has proven to help start-ups bring medical device products and services to market.  Applications will be accepted until March 15, 2015.

ZeroTo510 is unique among accelerator programs in that it focuses on medical devices, leveraging the regional strengths of the Memphis area.  The goal of the 12-week, mentor-driven program is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine their business models and achieve the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing.

Now in its fourth year, the program has accelerated the creation of 16 new companies, more than 30 jobs, and $7.5 million in investments. The nationally recognized program has attracted entrepreneurs from the Memphis area and from outside the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, including Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Duke University in Durham, N.C. and from Greenville, S.C. Among these companies’ successes: three are in the marketplace generating revenue, one has received FDA clearance, and one is treating patients in an IRB study.  As the first-ever medical device accelerator, ZeroTo510 is now recognized as a benchmark model for subsequent medical device accelerators, including one in Australia.

“We’re looking for students, entrepreneurs and professionals who have innovative ideas for the next generation of medical device products and technology,” said Allan Daisley, co-founder of ZeroTo510 and director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for Memphis Bioworks.  “Here in Memphis, we have the expertise, network, capital and track record to help bring those ideas to life.”

ZeroTo510 is also an integral part of EPIcenter, a collaborative and community-wide strategic initiative led by Memphis Bioworks that is helping entrepreneurs conceive, launch and scale businesses in the Memphis region.  Beyond the accelerator process, ZeroTo510 participants will also have access to EPIcenter-led collaborations among entrepreneurial support organizations in Memphis, as well as expertise and support from the full entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region.

Process

Through a competitive application process, up to six companies will be selected for the 2015 cohort and will receive $50,000 in initial seed capital from co-investors Innova, a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the healthcare, technology and healthcare technology fields across the state of Tennessee; and MB Venture Partners, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups.

At the end of the 12-week program, the participants will pitch to a group of investors. The investors will select finalists, who will receive as much as $100,000 in additional capital infusion and the opportunity to further develop their businesses.  And, there is always additional funding potential once the presentation round is reached.

An entrepreneurship program for medical devices is an ideal match for the resources and talents in the Memphis area, which has the second-largest concentration of medical device companies in the United States.  Typically, it can take several years for ideas to pass through the traditional FDA regulatory process.  The 510(k) process provides an expedited path to market, and as such makes a good fit for an accelerator program.

“While funding is essential in building these businesses and commercializing products, we’re also able to offer medical device expertise and mentorship to accelerator participants,” said Jan Bouten, partner at Innova and ZeroTo510 co-founder. “We invest more than capital in these ZeroTo510 teams because our ultimate goal is to help these entrepreneurs build successful, scalable businesses that grow jobs and have a positive impact on our economy.”

“We are pleased to be an equity partner in the ZeroTo510 program again this year,” said Gary Stevenson, co-founder and managing partner of MB Venture Partners and a member of the ZeroTo510 board of directors.  “We have enjoyed working with all 16 of the start-ups that have finished the program to date and look forward to working with this year’s group.”

ZeroTo510 is operated by Memphis Bioworks Foundation and is an initiative of the Greater Memphis Regional Accelerator, a program funded by Launch Tennessee and the State of Tennessee.

Timeline

  • Applications to participate in ZeroTo510 are due by March 15.
  • Companies selected for participation will be notified by April 4.
  • The program will begin on May 4.

Competition for participation in the program is open internationally.  However, companies selected must be based in Memphis for the duration of the program.

Information on applying and additional information about the ZeroTo510 program is available at http://www.zeroto510.com.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

# # #

About Memphis Bioworks Foundation

Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability.  A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers.  For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.