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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.

June 2016 Issue


Kennewick Business Blooms Thanks to Economic Gardening Program

Kennewick, WA-based Carbitex, Inc. raised $3 million in equity during its participation in the Tri-Cities Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Gardening pilot project that was launched two years ago.  In early May, Carbitex founder Junus Khan met with Washington Governor Jay Inslee—who launched Washington’s first Economic Gardening initiative in April—to discuss how the economic development program is faring.  Carbitex, an advanced materials company which joined the pilot last year, employs 17 employees and expects to grow that number to 30 in the coming year.  Learn more. 

Richland's Dade Moeller Purchased by NV5

Dade Moeller, a Richland, WA-based company providing safety-related services, has been purchased by NV5 Global, a Florida engineering and consulting services company.  Dade Moeller, which employs 150 safety professionals, will retain its name and continue to be based in the Tri-Cities.  Learn more.

Washington PTAC Clients Win Record Contracts in 2015

Businesses working with Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) have won a record 3200 government contracts totaling over $592 million last year.  PTAC—including the Tri-City Regional Chamber location—is instrumental in supporting businesses with finding, bidding and winning contracts with federal, state, and local government.  Read more.

LS Networks Expands Fiber-Optic Network in Washington

Portland, OR-based LS Networks, a competitive local exchange and interexchange carrier, has announced that they will expand their dense fiber-optic network in eastern Washington and rural parts of the state.  The expansion will bring purpose-built, data-and-broadband IP services to more businesses and residential customers in Yakima, Tri-Cities, and Spokane.  To support the expansion, LS Networks has established a fiber network construction operation in the Tri-Cities that includes a yard, truck fleet, and skilled field technicians.  A dedicated Washington sales team and office will also be established in Yakima and Tri-Cities in early fall.  Learn more about LS Networks.

Junior Achievement Hosts High-Tech Business Challenge

Junior Achievement hosted its ninth annual High-Tech Business Challenge on May 3 at Tri-Tech Skills Center in Kennewick, WA.  Nine local high schools made up of sixteen teams competed this year, simulating running their own companies, manufacturing and selling a fictional high-tech product, and competing for market share against other players.  Read more.

Equity Crowdfunding Goes Live

After more than four years of “anxious waiting,” equity crowdfunding is now legal across the United States, allowing non-accredited investors to make equity investments in startups through a registered online portal.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will now permit startups to raise up to $1 million over a 12-month period through public solicitation without having to register its securities.  Learn more.

Tech Opportunities and Resources

Economic Gardening Program Applications Available

The Washington State Economic Gardening Program is designed to help second-stage growth companies take their businesses to the next level while enhancing connections to the community.  In this program, participating companies will learn to identify market trends, potential competitors, and unknown resources; map geographic areas for targeted marketing; and raise visibility in search engine results and increase web traffic.  To be eligible, companies must be for-profit, privately held businesses headquartered and operating in Washington state; have between $750,000 and $50 million in annual revenue; employ 6 – 99 full-time equivalent employees, including the owner; and have demonstrated growth in revenue or employees in two of the last five years. Cost for businesses to participate is $750.  Learn more about the Economic Gardening program.  Apply.

Jumping for JUMP

The Department of Energy and five of its national laboratories are partnering to connect innovators to industry through a new innovation crowdsourcing program called JUMP.  JUMP allows these innovators to propose solutions to technology challenges surrounding the building industry, have those solutions evaluated by industry experts and national laboratory researchers, receive feedback from other innovators, and compete for prizes between $2,000 and $5,000.  Learn more about JUMP.  Register.   

DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office Issues Technology-to-Market Call for Proposals

The Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has issued a Laboratory Call for Proposals for projects to increase engagement between bioenergy small businesses with high growth potential and the DOE national laboratories by providing access to laboratory assets.  Each project can receive up to $40,000 to support BETO’s goals, including production of biofuels compatible with today’s transportation infrastructure as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions relative to petroleum-derived fuels.  The national labs must submit the proposals, but small businesses may volunteer to be the business partner. Proposals are due July 31, 2016, with expected date of notification of selection by August 31.  For more information or to express interest in partnership with PNNL or other national laboratories, contact Corinne Drennan (509-372-6330).

Confluent Offering Variety of Classes

Confluent, a makerspace targeted to the arts and tech communities in Tri-Cities, WA, offers a variety of classes for members and non-members.  Confluent, located in Richland, offers memberships starting at $25 per month.  See the variety of classes offered through September.  Learn more about Confluent.

Recent Research: Does Feedback on Business Plans Help Entrepreneurs?

A recent working paper authored by Rodrigo Wagner, assistant professor at the University of Chile, indicates that randomly selected companies receiving written feedback on business plans were found to be 50 percent more likely to be active four years later.  In his study, Wagner explored the effectiveness of mentoring by comparing, through a randomized controlled experiment, the longevity of two sets of high-growth entrepreneurial ventures.  Learn more about the study.

Tech Dates and Deadlines

Doing Business with Washington River Protection Solutions

June 7.   Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), and the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce are hosting “Doing Business with Washington River Protection Solutions” on June 7 from 8 – 11 am at the WRPS facility, 2420 Stevens Center, Room 153 in Richland, WA.  Participants will learn about frequent WRPS purchases and how to locate opportunities, as well as learn important information about rules related to invoicing, travel, and audit.  No cost to attend. Learn more and register.

Government Contracting Essentials

June 14 and September 21.  Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is offering "Government Contracting Essentials" on June 14 and September 21 from 9 - 11 am at the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce in Kennewick, WA.  Participants will learn the basics of marketing and selling products and services to federal, state, and local government agencies; how to classify products and services; how to register in the correct databases; and the various types of solicitations.  No cost to attend.  Learn more and register for June 14.  Register for September 21.

Yakima Government Contracting Essentials Workshop

June 16.   Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is offering “Yakima Government Contracting Essentials Workshop” on June 16 from 10 am – noon at the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce in Yakima, WA.  This workshop will provide a comprehensive overview of how to do business with and market to local, state, and federal government agencies and prime contractors.  Participants will learn how to classify their products or services, how to register in the correct databases, the different small business programs and classifications, and types of solicitations and how to respond.  No cost to attend.  Learn more and register.

CleanTech Showcase 2016

June 27.   CleanTech Showcase 2016 is being held June 27, 8 am – 5 pm at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, WA.  Participants will have the opportunity to network with more than 350 industry leaders, investors, media, and policy makers; hear from renowned speakers from research, investing, and industry; and learn about the cleantech industry’s latest innovations. Dr. Steve Ashby, Director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is a featured speaker at the event.  Cost to attend is $245 if registered before June 15 and $265 after.  Learn more.  Register.

Understanding Government Contracting Solicitations

July 20.   Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is offering “Understanding Government Contracting Solicitations” on July 20 from 9 – 10:30 am at the Tri-Cities Business and Convention Center in Kennewick, WA.  Participants will learn the elements of a solicitation, types of solicitations, government purchasing thresholds, and how to respond to a request for proposal.  No cost to attend.  Learn more and register.

Market Research for Government Contracting

August 9.   Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is offering “Market Research for Government Contracting" on August 9 from 9 – 10:30 am at the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce in Kennewick, WA.  Participants will learn about market research—how it can help them decide whether state and federal government contracting is right for their business as well as identifying potential customers and how to uncover data that might be helpful in marketing efforts and proposal preparation.  No cost to attend.  Learn more and register.

PNNL This Month

Technology Test Drive: PNNL Offers Exploratory Licenses

A two-page agreement and $1,000 allows a U.S. company to “test drive” promising technologies through a new commercialization option offered by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. PNNL is the only national laboratory that offers the exploratory license, which gives companies six months to try out a technology before deciding whether or not to pursue a full license.  PNNL has so far executed three exploratory licenses.  Read more.

Energy Storage Experts Gather at PNNL

About 250 of the world’s leading energy storage experts gathered at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory during the week of May 24 to discuss research that could make electric transportation and use of renewable energy more practical.  Since 2009, the focus of the “Energy Storage Symposium: Beyond Lithium Ion” has expanded from better energy storage for electric vehicles to include large-scale battery storage for renewable energy.  Learn more about the event and view the video “How to Make a Battery.”

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