A Market-Centric Approach to Clean Tech Innovation

Article by Director of Client Services John Dmohowski featured in MicroCap Review Summer/Fall 2014 Issue

"PortTech is a commercialization center and incubation program dedicated to creating sustainable technologies that enable ports and maritime-related businesses to meet their environmental, energy, security and transportation goals. Our non-profit organization brings together entrepreneurs, strategic partners and investors to accelerate innovation, advance clean technologies and create economic opportunities.

PortTech provides standard incubation services including management guidance, technical assistance and consulting tailored to emerging-growth companies. PortTech also gives clients access to appropriate rental space and flexible leases, shared basic business services and equipment, technology support services and assistance in obtaining the financing necessary for company growth.

After five years, businesses that were nurtured in a business incubator have a survival rate of 87% compared to a 44% survival rate for start-ups without incubator support. Furthermore, 84% of companies that graduate from an incubator stay in the communities where they were incubated. — National Business Incubator Association estimates

However, PortTech goes beyond traditional incubator services to address the Valley of Death clean technology entrepreneurs face, which starts with connecting entrepreneurs to the marketplace and potential customers during early stages of development. Instead of going through ideation and research in isolation, PortTech clients have access to port representatives, maritime executives, industry experts, academics and government leaders through trainings, events and one-on-one meetings.

PortTech hosts workshops on Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) grants that feature government representatives who share insider knowledge on how to navigate the federal application process. Bi-monthly forums bring entrepreneurs in direct contact and conversation with service providers, port representatives and investors to discuss technology advancements, business opportunities and needs in the maritime markets.

Entrepreneurs showcase their clean technologies each year during the PortTechEXPO, an event that draws more than 600 people to explore emerging technologies and network with business prospects at Southern California’s ports. In conjunction with the EXPO, PortTech holds an Entrepreneur Pitch Competition. Participants receive free coaching from a panel of judges that includes investors, business consultants and representatives from both the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach. Past finalists have received greater exposure for their products, won California Energy Commission grants and developed business relationships that led to new opportunities..." Read more (see p. 70)

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