Recently, the North Carolina Biotech Center hosted their fourth annual Ag Biotech Entrepreneurial Showcase event. Paul Ulanch, head of the Biotechnology Crop Commercialization Center explains:
“The program was primarily composed of 12 ag biotech companies, some of them, four, from North Carolina, the rest from somewhere else, one from Portugal. And they talked about a variety of technologies to include plant production, as well as to improve animal health.”
Some of the region’s successful businesses and entrepreneurs also spoke at the event:
“In addition to that, we had some keynote presentation from some seasoned entrepreneurs, to kind of give their take on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, as well as Jim Bloom who is the head of Bayer CropScience here in RTP, he gave a keynote presentation on the necessity for innovation for all of agribusiness. He gave some great examples of how innovation that was being discussed at that particular conference was going to be beneficial to Bayer.”
Ulanch outlines some the interests of the attendees to the Symposium:
“A number of the attendees in the audience were actual investors. Some of them were investors that are here in North Carolina, both in RTP and charlotte. We had some other folks from Atlanta, The Netherlands, Chicago area, Boston, and I think a lot of them were interested in the diversity of the technology we were focused on. All the technologies were life science focused, due to the strengths of the state’s biotechnology economy, and this is totally on the top of their minds, as leading opportunities for the future of the innovation of agriculture.”
Ulanch gives some of the history of the event, and how its evolved:
“The very first year we held this, 2013, it was a North Carolina centric event. All the presenting companies were all from North Carolina, there were still a number of people from out of the state who attended to see who these companies were, and learn about their technologies.
And then, we have slowly broadened this event to include a broader region; the second year was the greater southeast, the third year was the greater east coast, and this is the year that we really opened the doors to allow much broader international participation as far as companies that are presenting. And we did that purposely, what we really want to do is identify new companies, perhaps, that the investors haven’t heard of, to make them want to come to North Carolina, to see new innovation, new companies, new entrepreneurs,
And it’s been very helpful to areas of the country that aren’t not necessarily ‘hot beds’ for agricultural development. Land grant universities, typically have a focus on agriculture, but a lot of other universities may be developing innovation for agriculture, and therefore they don’t necessarily get the attention from investors just because of that unawareness.
So, our event, because of the way it’s structured it created an opportunity for these companies to get up on stage and be realized that they do exist, and many of them had really cool innovations.”
North Carolina Biotech Center’s Paul Ulanch.