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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.

July 2015 Issue


Genifuel Recognized in Biofuels Digest

Genifuel Corporation has engaged Merrick & Company to provide the design and commissioning of a hydrothermal processing pilot system for Reliance Industries, according to Biofuels Digest.  This hydrothermal processing technology converts whole algae into biocrude, fuel gas, and usable byproducts—doubling the yield of biofuel from algae and cutting the cost of production by 86 percent.  The technology originated at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and PNNL and Genifuel received a prestigious 2015 Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for their partnership in transferring the technology to Genifuel.   Learn more about the technology….

Intel Capital Establishes Diversity Fund

Intel Capital is establishing a new $125 million Diversity Fund designed to bankroll technology startups led by women and underrepresented minorities.  According to a Babson College report, only 15 percent of venture capital-funded companies in the U.S. have a woman on the executive team, and companies with a female CEO receive only 3 percent of venture capital dollars.  To learn more….

Tri-Cities, Washington Listed in Top 10 for STEM Graduates

Tri-Cities, WA is the sixth best place in the U.S. for graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to find employment.  The report cites the area as a major research center, which includes large employers such as Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Energy Northwest and ConAgra Foods that hire large numbers of workers in the STEM fields.  The Seattle area was named fifth on the list.  Read more….

Washington State Named Top State for Energy Storage

GTM Research named Washington one of the top five states where energy storage could thrive thanks to smart grid pilot projects funded in part by the Clean Energy Fund.  Washington-based CleanTech Alliance members active in energy storage include Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, UniEnergy Technologies, 1Energy Systems, Demand Energy Networks, EnerG2, Snohomish PUD, Puget Sound Energy, Avista, Washington State University, and University of Washington.  Learn more….

Richland, Washington Named in Top 25 Best Places to Retire

Money has named Richland, WA among the top 25 best places to retire.  Richland was named second after St. George, Utah, in the Great Outdoors category, and was cited for its rivers, hiking and biking trails, lack of state income tax, and median home prices.  For more information…..

Tech Opportunities and Resources

Grants Available from Regional Chamber

The Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Washington River Protection Solutions to offer $30,000 in grants to businesses through the “Small Business Incentive Program.”  To be eligible, the company must be an established small business that is a member of the Regional Chamber.  Non-members who have been in business at least 18 months may still qualify upon joining the Regional Chamber before the application deadline of July 10.  To apply and for full details…

Apply for 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. To view eligibility criteria and complete an application, see the website.

Energy Companies: Apply to Present

Energy-related businesses are invited to apply for the opportunity to present at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Industry Growth Forum, which is November 3-4 in Denver, CO. The forum will feature 30 innovative, emerging startup companies in renewable energy and energy efficiency worldwide. Attendees will include 100+ investors and strategic partners. Presenters will receive feedback on their business strategies. The application deadline is July 17.  For more information and to apply …

New Business Accelerator Offers Expertise

Northwest businesses now have a new way to find resources and prepare for the next stage of growth. Ignite Northwest is a new technology-focused business accelerator that helps second-stage companies in the Pacific Northwest grow to create sustained economic impact.  The business accelerator, based in Spokane, takes two cohorts of 10 businesses annually, for 12 weeks each time.  Businesses will learn how to refine their business models, products, and investor pitches with the expertise of a professional services network. Cost: $1,000. The first class session is August 25.  More information…  Apply…

Tech Dates and Deadlines

Revenue-Based Financing

July 13. Save the date of July 13 for a seminar entitled “Rethinking Startup Capital: Flexible Models for Success.” The presenter is Michael “Luni” Libes, Founder and Managing Director of Fledge, a company accelerator. He will share his insights on revenue-based financing, an alternative to the traditional forms of equity and debt. Libes is a 20+ year serial entrepreneur who has co-founded six companies. The seminar, part of the Tri-Cities Research District Speaker Series, will be at 4 pm, with a reception following from 5 – 6 pm, at the Port of Benton offices in Richland, WA.  More information about Fledge …

Follow the SIGN to an Open House

July 14. SIGN Fracture Care International is holding an open house at their Richland facility on July 14 from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm and 5:30 – 7:30 pm.  SIGN builds orthopaedic capability in developing countries by providing training and implants to support effective surgery to the poor.  Dr. Lewis Zirkle, SIGN’s founder, will present “Stand Tall for Nepal Trip Update” during both sessions.  Lunch and dinner are provided.  The event is free with an RSVP.  Call 509-371-1107 to RSVP.  For more information….

Succession Planning

July 16. “The Secrets to Generational Transitions” is July 16 from 9-11 am at the Port of Benton, Richland, WA. The featured speaker is Dave Specht, a noted family business consultant and author.  He will present strategies for ownership and management continuity. There is no charge, but attendees must pre-register by July 10 by contacting Veronica Montez at 

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 with innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers and small technology firms.  Cost is $20 if registered by July 19, $30 thereafter until August 17.  To learn more about the SBIR Road Tour and to register for the Seattle event…….

PNNL This Month

How Anthrax Spores Grow in Cultured Human Tissues

Cultured human lung cells infected with a benign version of anthrax spores have yielded insights into how anthrax grows and spreads in exposed people.  A study, published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, will help provide credible data for human health related to anthrax exposure and help officials better understand risks related to a potential anthrax attack.  “There is little data to estimate or predict the average number of spores needed to infect someone. By better understanding exposure thresholds, the ultimate goal is to be able to predict outcomes from terrorist incidents involving Bacillus anthracis,” said Tim Straub, scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.   Read 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