UNCW to Co-Host Workshop to Support Entrepreneurs Working to Build Sustainable Shellfish Industry

Thursday, January 26, 2017

UNCW and the Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation will collaborate to host a “Fish 2.0” workshop for entrepreneurs developing technologies and ventures that promote a sustainable shellfish industry. The workshop will be held March 15-17, 2017, at UNCW’s CREST campus in partnership with MARBIONC and the Center for Marine Science.

“This collaboration reflects our mission to invest in research and development to support the innovation economy in southeastern North Carolina,” said UNCW Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “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 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 one-page application is due by Feb. 13.

The goal of the three-day event is to help participants improve their business models and learn how to approach investors. Participants will also receive guidance on how to prepare applications for the Fish 2.0 Competition at Stanford University in November, where they will have the opportunity to win cash prizes, gain visibility and attract investments.

The UNCW/MBCOI partnership with Fish 2.0 was conceptualized by Diane Durance, director of the UNCW 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. 

“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,” said Durance. “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.”

Fish 2.0 works through its unique global network to connect seafood businesses and investors to grow the sustainable seafood sector. 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, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, is also serving as a sponsor of this event through a grant recently made to MBCOI in direct support of this initiative.

-- Tricia Vance