Posted at 12:38 PM
Guest blog post by Julius Maina, Policy and Inclusive Innovation Specialist, MBDA
MBDA recently attended the 2016 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) National Meeting in Chicago, Illinois for the second year in a row. Touted as one of the most premier annual events in the technology transfer community, this year’s theme “From Discovery to Commercialization,” focused on collaboration between federal labs, private industry stakeholders and the American business community to move federal research and development out of the lab and into the U.S. marketplace.
In 2015, MBDA formed a new partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) to spur innovation within the minority business community by leveraging the vast amount of research and development (R&D) expertise throughout the national network of more than 300 federal laboratories.
Due to the historically low participation from high-growth minority business enterprises (MBEs) in the technology commercialization space, this year’s meeting was more than just a chance to learn and network. For MBDA, this convening was about taking a lead role in exposing and educating attendees to the thriving yet vastly untapped MBE markets.
To support these efforts, MBDA hosted a plenary session to showcase the groundbreaking innovations of five select MBEs from a variety of different industries and locations. The purpose of the session was for the panelists to share some of their top level technology needs in the interest of identifying potential federal lab partners or private industry resources to help advance their commercialization efforts to succeed in the American marketplace. The five MBE’s represented were as follows:
- Physiclo: Cofounded by panelist and U.S. Olympic Fencing Team Medalist Keeth Smart, Phsysiclo is a new age fitness technology focusing on functional fitness clothing designed to tone muscle more effectively and burn calories.
- Production Products: Founded by panelist and President Barry Corona, Production Products is a manufacturing and design leader specializing in the production of Advance Life Support Equipment in the defense, medical and industrial markets. This company currently has three fully functional manufacturing plants in St. Louis, MO.
- Inceptima Management Solutions: Founded by panelist and CEO Asmaa Idrisu, Inceptima Management Solutions is currently working to develop a 100% green energy Self-Reliant Fuel-Less Power Generator that has the ability to store, generate, recycle, and multiply power to supply electricity for 24hrs, non-stop.
- Bio-Green Synergy: Founded by panelist and President Kenneth Benton, Bio-Green Synergy is an algae-based startup/manufacturing company focused on the development of algae products in various industries such as pharmaceuticals, food supplements, clean water and green energy solutions.
- PHASIQ: Represented by panelist and lead Research Technician, Lisa Eiden, PHASIQ, PHASIQ enables efficient, accurate, and inexpensive measurement of multiple health-indicator proteins via phase-separated droplets and is one of the prime industry leaders in the next generation of diagnostic blood tests.
During the Welcome Remarks, Demetria Gallagher, MBDA’s Senior Advisor for Policy and Inclusive Innovation, emphasized the importance of collaboration to support federal commercialization efforts when addressing the audience: “I want you to view MBDA as your business champion and relationship partner,” said Gallagher. “We are confident that our convening power amongst our diverse business network partnered with the vast number of resources in the federal labs will continue to prove that technology transfer is a vital to the U.S economy.”
Gallagher also recognized Dr. Willie May, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology/NIST Director and Paul Zielinski, FLC Executive Board Chair, for their leadership and support of MBDA’s new partnership with the FLC community.
It was clear that for both the attendees and the panelists, this session proved to be a highlight and chance to access federal experts in R&D: “I’ve been in business for 40 years and although I’ve done quite well for myself, but I never once considered the federal labs as a partner. This conference opened my eyes to the great opportunities available to grow and support my business,” said Barry Corona, President Production Products.
“The audience was very impressed with the cross-section of companies and their innovative technologies,” said Richard Paul, FLC’s Vice Chair. “After the session, many of the federal labs approached the panel in hopes of continuing conversations about partnerships and resources to support their technology needs. MBDA’s engagement was truly a win-win for everyone.”
An additional highlight of the conference was the FLC Awards Ceremony where May was honored as Federal Laboratory Director of the Year.
Given the great response from panelists/ attendees alike and the crucial role engaging MBE’s in the technology transfer space will play in ensuring that our nation remains globally and economically competitive, MBDA looks forward to further championing this call to action and further building on the success of this panel at next year’s meeting in Colorado.
For more information about MBDA, visit www.mbda.gov.