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UNCW Announces Shellfish Workshop, Initiative For Businesses

By Jenny Callison, posted Jan 26, 2017
Entrepreneurs involved with developing a sustainable shellfish industry in the southeastern United States will have an opportunity to enhance their business practices and expand their networks at a Wilmington workshop in March. The three-day event, to be held March 15-17, will also help participants learn how to approach potential investors most effectively, according to a news release Thursday from University of North Carolina Wilmington.
 
Hosted by UNCW and the Wilmington-based Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation (MBCOI), the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast Shellfish Workshop is open to startups and established businesses from 11 states and Washington, D.C. that are involved in any aspect of the shellfish industry, the release stated. It will also prepare interested ventures to apply for the Fish 2.0 Competition be held in November at Stanford University.
 
That competition offers cash prizes as well as the opportunity for businesses to gain visibility and – potentially – investors for promising ventures.
 
A grant from NCIDEA will directly support MBCOI’s lead role in the Fish 2.0 2017 international competition. Fish 2.0 is a global business competition that connects seafood-related businesses with investors to grow the sector in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way, according to the release.

The UNCW/MBCOI partnership with Fish 2.0 was the brain child of Diane Durance, director of UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Durance was a semifinalist in the 2013 Fish 2.0 competition and “saw a natural fit between Fish 2.0’s goals and the regional efforts to build southeastern North Carolina’s coastal and marine biotechnology sector,” the release stated.
 
“I experienced firsthand how important it is to get your venture in front of investors who are knowledgeable and interested in your field. Fish 2.0 is the organization making that possible for entrepreneurs in aquaculture and sustainable fisheries,” Durance said in the release. “As a sponsor in 2017, UNCW is supporting the work being done by Fish 2.0 and offering this important opportunity to entrepreneurs throughout our region.”

Helping shellfish businesses get a springboard to success aligns with UNCW's mission, according to the university's chancellor, Jose Sartarelli.
 
“This collaboration reflects our mission to invest in research and development to support the innovation economy in southeastern North Carolina,” Sartarelli said in the release. “Our Strategic Plan emphasizes efforts like this workshop that connect our students and faculty with emerging industries while enhancing growth opportunities both regionally and globally.”
 
The one-page application for the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast Shellfish Workshop is due by Feb. 13. Information is at http://www.fish20.org/atlanticgulfworkshop.
 
Fish 2.0 works through its "unique global network" to connect seafood businesses and investors to grow the sustainable seafood sector, according to the release, which added that  UNCW and MBCOI decided on a shellfish track because of the considerable foundation that already existed in North Carolina, particularly on the UNCW campus and in the region from the coast to the Research Triangle.
 
NC IDEA is a private foundation “committed to supporting entrepreneurial business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina,” according to the release. It is sponsoring the workshop through a grant recently made to MBCOI.
 
The workshop is also sponsored by Innovate SENC, an area initiative working with local governments, UNCW and other partners that aims to develop a regional marine and life science cluster.
 
Read more about InnovateSENC and its efforts in Friday’s print edition of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.
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