Encouraging collaboration between scientists and business has always been a prime mission at the MARBIONC Center. We were pleased to recently host an event aimed specifically at small start-ups in the seafood and aquaculture industries, which of course ties in directly with our marine science research.
The Fish 2.0 organization’s first regional workshop in the southeastern United States was held here, on our CREST Research Park campus, March 15 through 17. Nearly two dozen fledgling enterprises from a 12-state region attended, making connections and gaining skills needed to attract investors and grow their businesses.
Fish 2.0 operates globally to connect promising new businesses with investors. Its workshop here marked the start of its regional “track” focused on shellfish and crustaceans along the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Bringing this event to Wilmington was something of a coup for us and our partners. This was a collaboration between UNC Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and the Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation (MBCOI), which is based on our marine-science campus. (I wrote about MBCOI in a March 2016 article.)
A crucial catalyst was Diane Durance, who became the CIE director last year. She brought to the university some excellent contacts with Fish 2.0, having participated in the group’s programs several years ago.