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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.

January 2017 Issue


Energy Northwest Named Employer of the Year

The Association of Washington Business has named Energy Northwest its 2016 Employer of the Year.  The award caps a years-long effort by Energy Northwest to improve employee engagement and work-life balance, re-dedicate efforts to be a military-friendly employer through focused recruitment and hiring programs, and promote STEM education across its community.  Read more.  Learn more about Energy Northwest.

WSU-Tri-Cities Awarded Biofuels Grant

Washington State University-Tri-Cities has been awarded a $50,000 National Science Foundation I-Corps grant to explore market potential of their biojet fuel research.  The research team has spent several years developing a process for transforming lignin, a polymer that makes plants woody and rigid, into hydrocarbon molecules that can one day be certified as jet fuel.  The I-Corps program helps leading researchers develop a business platform for their research and technology that could one day change the world.  Learn more.

New Co-Working Space Opening in Kennewick

Connect Workplace, a new co-working space, is opening in mid-January in Kennewick.  The business is offering a variety of packages and services for customers who seek office space, cubicles, virtual office space, or day passes. Connect Workplace is the second co-working space to open in the Tri-Cities, joining Fuse SPC, which has grown its membership to more than 100.   Learn more. 

Benton-Franklin Trends Newsletter

The newest issue of Benton-Franklin Trends Newsletter is now available.  This issue provides information on the net number of business created, patents issued to people and businesses, and the apartment vacancy rate in Benton and Franklin counties.  There are also short articles on voter turnout and electricity production by facility types in the counties, as well as an interview with Loann Ayers, the new president of the local United Way.  Learn more.

Young Professionals Tri-Cities Becomes Emerging Tri-Cities

Young Professionals Tri-Cities has been renamed Emerging Tri-Cities, with the mission to empower meaningful professional development by attracting professionals across the region to attend events that have passionate, thought-provoking speakers.  The organization is also collaborating with other organizations to streamline professional development events, including annual luncheons and professional development seminars.  Learn more about Emerging Tri-Cities and the new changes.




Tech Opportunities and Resources

Tech-to-Market's Innovative Pathways to Funding Opportunity

The Technology-to-Market Program under the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has announced availability of up to $4.2 million for the Innovative Pathways Funding Opportunity.  This opportunity seeks new ways to alleviate some of the common structural challenges facing promising new energy technologies on the pathway to market.  A 20% non-federal cost share is required for each project. Informational webinars will be held January 4 and February 7, with letters of intent due January 18.  Full application is due February 15.  Learn more and apply.

Clean Energy Fund RD&D Match Grants

The Department of Commerce will be accepting pre-applications for grants under the Research Development and Demonstration Match Program, beginning January 13.  The grants match federal and other non-state funds for the purpose of researching, developing, and demonstrating eligible clean energy technologies.  Phase 1 pre-applications are due January 31.  After January 3, more information will be available on the Department of Commerce website.

Classes Offered at Confluent

Confluent, a makerspace targeted to the arts and tech communities in Tri-Cities, WA, offers a variety of classes for members and non-members.  Located in Richland, Confluent offers memberships starting at $35 per month.  Classes include:

  • January 7 and 29.  3D Printer Tool Training, 1 - 3 pm.
  • January 18.  Soldering 101, 6 - 8 pm.
  • February 8.  Soldering 102.  6 - 8 pm.

Classes are at the Confluent facility.  See the full variety of classes offered.  Learn more about Confluent.


Upcoming Government Contracting Workshops

Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is a statewide organization dedicated to guiding companies through the entire process of applying for and fulfilling government contracts.  Washington PTAC offers no-cost workshops that help inform small business owners and others about aspects of contracting, including:

  • January 18.  Market Research for Government Contracting, 9 - 10:30 am, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce.
  • January 31.  Walla Walla Government Contracting Essentials, 9:30 - 11:30 am, Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce.
  • February 9.  Government Contracting Essentials, 9 - 11 am, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce.
  • February 28.  Meet the BIGS!  Doing Business with the Government, 10 am - 2 pm, Ramada Spokane Airport.
  • March 14.  Marketing to the Federal Government, 9 - 10:30 am, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce.

See the PTAC workshop calendar.

Tech Dates and Deadlines

Intensive SBIR/STTR Workshop

January 5.  Candidates for federal R&D funding through the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer programs are invited to attend the Intensive SBIR/STTR Workshop on January 5, 8 am – 4:30 pm at the Walgreens Auditorium at Washington State University – Spokane.  This session will focus on funding from the National Institutes of Health, including program essentials and how to compete for funding.  No cost to attend.  Learn more and register.

Business Enterprise Startup Training

January 5.  Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is offering the live, instructor-led webinar “Business Enterprise, Startup Training” on January 5 at 9 am.  In this interactive webinar, participants will discuss setting up operations, meeting legal requirements, accurately pricing products or services, creating marketing strategies and plans, and understanding financial statements.  Cost is $395.  Register.

PNNL This Month

Pacific Northwest Researchers to Play Key Role in New Manufacturing USA Institute

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oregon State University are part a new institute under the Manufacturing USA initiative—called Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment, or RAPID. The institute will focus on finding breakthrough technologies to improve efficiency and productivity in manufacturing industrial products such as oil and gas, pulp and paper, and chemicals.  PNNL and OSU will co-lead the institute’s Module and Component Manufacturing Focus Area, leveraging collective expertise in process intensification technology development.  Learn more.

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