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Economic Development Office

Tri-Cities Tech Business Update

This monthly e-mailed update contains news, opportunities, upcoming events, and other information about Mid-Columbia tech businesses and the organizations that support them.

August 2015 Issue


Fuse Raising Funds through Crowdfunding Site

Fuse SPC has rolled out a crowdfunding site to raise funds for continuing to assist Fuse members with resources, the capability to build connections through a shared work environment, and inspiring the community. Launched in December 2014, Fuse SPC is the Tri-Cities’ first social purpose corporation that provides a shared work environment, community, and resources for the entrepreneurial, startup, artistic, and tech communities.  To learn more and make a donation….

SCORE Scores for Businesses

The Mid-Columbia Tri-Cities SCORE was notified by its national office that the Tri-Cities chapter has effectively launched 33 businesses in the last 24 months that have employed 141 people and brought an estimated $4 million in growth value to the areas Tri-Cities, WA area.  SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed nationwide.  Read about SCORE’s accomplishment, or learn more about how SCORE can help you.

Tech Opportunities and Resources

Growing Your Business with Tri-Cities Economic Gardening Program

Would your company like to receive free, customized, valuable strategic information aimed at growing your business? Apply for the Economic Gardening program, which is offered by the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce and funded by Battelle and Gesa. Five businesses will be selected; they must be for-profit, privately held companies headquartered and operating in Benton or Franklin Counties; have between $1 million and $50 million in annual revenue or working capital from investors or grants; and employ 10 to 99 full-time equivalent W-2 employees, including the owner. Preference will be given to technology-based businesses.  To view eligibility criteria and complete an application, see the website.

Department of Agriculture Offers Funds for Biorefinery, Biobased Manufacturing

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing loan guarantees of up to $250 million to construct and retrofit commercial-scale biorefineries and to develop renewable chemicals and biobased product manufacturing facilities. The funding is made available through the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program.  Two funding cycles are being held:  Applications for the first round are due October 1, 2015, and applications for the second round are due April 1, 2016.  Learn more.....

Small Business Vouchers Pilot to Help Small Green Businesses

The Department of Energy has introduced a new Small Business Vouchers Pilot that will help small clean energy firms (fewer than 500 employees) receive up to $300,000 in vouchers for technology assistance from world-class scientists, engineers, and facilities within the national laboratory system.  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, one of five national laboratories selected for this pilot, received $2.7 million to help these small firms in three clean energy sectors:  Bioenergy, water power, and buildings.   Learn more about how the DOE labs can help your small clean energy firm.   Sign up to receive more information.

Fund Local Helps Washington Businesses Raise Capital

Fund Local is a program that enables small businesses in Washington State’s 39 counties to obtain 0% interest loans sourced directly from members of their communities.  Businesses that can use $5,000 to $50,000 for a growth project; have historical revenue traction and can repay a loan within three years; and can connect with their community through email, social media, or in-person engagements are eligible for this program.  Cost is $250 to launch a campaign plus a $50 ongoing monthly membership fee.  Learn more.  Contact or for more information.

Topics for Funding Opportunity Announcement Released by SBIR/STTR Program

The Department of Energy’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program has released the Phase 1, Release 1 topics for a Fiscal Year 2016 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).  Participating DOE offices in this solicitation include Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Basic Energy Sciences, Biological and Environmental Research, and Nuclear Physics.  The FOA will be issued August 17, with letters of intent due September 8 and applications due October 19.  See the list of Phase 1, Release 1 topics.  Learn more.

STEM Survey to Inform Global “What Women Can Do” Initiative

A global survey has been launched to determine which skills women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) fields need to develop and commercialize STEM innovations.  The data will be used to inform and launch a global initiative, “What Women Can Do,” that will feature webinars, roundtables, and training to help women in STEM achieve these goals.  The information gleaned will also serve as key background information for an American Chemical Society seminar series, “Women in Innovation,” scheduled for the next three national meetings beginning in August 2015.  To take the survey….

Tech Dates and Deadlines

Community Science and Technology Seminar Series to Highlight Economic Impact

August 6.   Mid-Columbia Libraries and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are hosting “Economic Impact of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Battelle on the Tri-Cities Area,” presented by Gary Spanner, PNNL’s Economic Development Office.  The presentation, scheduled for 7 – 8 pm at the Mid-Columbia Library in Kennewick, WA, is part of PNNL’s Community Science and Technology Seminar Series.  Spanner will describe the Lab’s impacts at the intersection of business technology, jobs, education, culture, and society.  There is no cost to attend.  For more information….

SBIR Road Tour

August 19.    The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Road Tour will be held from 8 am – 3 pm at Startup Hall on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, WA.  This event is a national effort to convey the non-dilutive technology funding opportunity provided through the SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.  Program managers from 11 participating agencies, including the Small Business Administration, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Science Foundation, will be on hand to meet one-on-one with innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers and small technology firms.  Cost is $30 until August 17.  To learn more about the SBIR Road Tour and to register for the Seattle event….

Save the Date for Energy Day@PNNL

September 1.    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is hosting Energy Day@PNNL, an informative day filled with presentations, panel sessions and demonstrations of PNNL’s groundbreaking grid and energy technologies.  Information and tips will also be provided for working with PNNL to access, license or commercialize technologies.  The event, to be held on the PNNL campus in Richland, WA, will be held in conjunction with the 4th Workshop on Next-Generation Analytics for the Future Power Grid, designed for those who are interested in developing or using shared-source software for the grid, on September 2 – 3.  To learn more about Energy Day@PNNL or the workshop…..

Innovation College

September 14-18.    Innovation College, an intensive and unique opportunity to learn innovative skills, processes and systems, will be held September 14 – 18, 2015 at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.  Participants will learn the principles of Innovation Engineering—a curriculum, tool set, and mindset that enables innovation by everyone, everywhere, every day, resulting in increased innovation speed and decreased risk.  Cost ranges from $3,000 to $15,000 per individual, depending on size of the individual’s organization.  Learn more about Innovation College, or to register.

Green Technologies Suppliers Meetings

November 17-19.   The Green Technologies Suppliers Meetings is a one-of-a-kind business forum that gives U.S.-based manufacturers in the green technology industry a chance to meet with utilities, the Department of Energy, and large conglomerates in an effort to increase their sales abroad.  The meetings will be held November 17-19 in Seattle, WA.  Cost is $250 per delegate.  A free webinar has been recorded for those who would like the opportunity to learn the benefits of participating in the Green Technologies Suppliers Meetings and will be available for viewing through October 26.  To learn more and register, or to access the free webinar recording.

PNNL This Month

Smart Stuff: IQ of Northwest Power Grid Raised, Energy Saved

According to the five-year Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, smart meters, automated control of power distribution, and other intelligent energy technologies can improve energy efficiency and possibly reduce power costs—but more research and development is needed to support utility-led smart grid deployment throughout the U.S.  “The knowledge gained through this project will help prepare the region and nation for a bright energy future that strengthens our economy, protects our environment, and enhances our quality of life,” said Battelle’s Ron Melton, project director.  Read more about what the project revealed….

Aluminum Clusters Shut Down Molecular Fuel Factory

The exact chemical transformations occurring with zeolites, a common material used in conversion of oil to gasoline, has historically been poorly understood.  Now a team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, petroleum-refining technology company UOP LLC, and Utrecht University have found a way to locate—with atomic precision—spots within the material where chemical reactions take place, and how these spots shut down.  This knowledge has implications in improving catalysts that help produce fuel, biofuel, and other chemicals.  Learn more about this research….

Got News?

We invite your contributions! We will consider items that fit the mission of this publication, including your tech-related news, awards, and notices of upcoming events. Please send text and photos to or call (509) 371-6017.

Tri-Cities Tech Business Update is published by the Economic Development Office at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Each month, we send you an e-mail message, giving you the link of news, tips, awards, upcoming events, and other information about local technology-based businesses and organizations that support them. With business and community partners, our goal is to build and diversify the Tri-Cities economy—adding skilled jobs in primary-sector industries that bring in outside dollars. Currently, more than 1,100 tech-related businesses, investors, and economic development stakeholders subscribe to the newsletter, mostly in the Mid-Columbia area and the rest of the Pacific Northwest. This newsletter (RL-P00-009) supports DOE-Richland's vision for the future of the Hanford Site and surrounding area through the creation of research opportunities, new industries, and new business clusters