We all have ideas for new businesses or products. Intrepid scientists and entrepreneurs often have the best ones.
Sometimes, however, it’s hard for these bright ideas to hit the market because obstacles emerge along the way. Budding entrepreneurs may lack the scientific expertise, equipment or money to fully research, prove, develop or test their ideas.
Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory offers up-and-coming scientists and entrepreneurs everything they need to address these challenges. As part of a culmination of programs that match budding entrepreneurs with technical experts at the DOE national laboratories, founders of seven start-up companies recently celebrated a milestone event in their journeys to commercialize their new technologies.
Half-trade show, half-Shark Tank, this event – called Demo Day – gave these researchers an opportunity to prove the value of their products, technologies and burgeoning companies to an audience of potential investors and fellow technologists.
The teams that presented at Demo Day, held September 12 at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago, have spent the past two years in embedded programs at DOE’s Argonne and Oak Ridge national laboratories
Designed to accelerate scientific discovery for real-world applications, these programs are intended to give promising entrepreneurs a significant advantage in the fight to establish successful energy-related businesses.
The four teams that were part of Argonne’s program, Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI), have received start-up capital, access to state-of-the-art equipment, business mentoring and other benefits as they have worked to grow their businesses and develop their technologies. In the year and a half since they began work at Argonne, all of these companies have taken significant strides toward commercializing their technologies.
“When you provide these bright, driven entrepreneurs with a sufficient tailwind of initial investment and the ability to make use of the facilities and expertise that’s found at a national laboratory, you’re really helping to seed the future of a strong and innovative economy,” said CRI Director John Carlisle.