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WTC supports companies' research needs

WTC awarded funding to the following projects:

MicroEnergy Technologies, Inc., Vancouver
Researcher: Dr. Fred Forster, UW Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
There is a need, both immediate and long-term, for extremely high heat, high temperature, high reliability, and low-cost cooling systems that currently are not available for conventional semiconductor device cooling. Wide Band-Gap semiconductor devices have significant advantages in high temperature and high power applications such as power converters, hybrid electric vehicles, power plants, and radar systems.

MicroEnergy Technologies, Inc. (MicroET) was launched in 2000 to develop new technologies and products in the areas of thermal engineering and aerosol handling. The company currently is devising an ultra-high heat flux, active cooling module for distributed cooling. Using a piezoelectric micro-pump developed by Dr. Fred Forster of the University of Washington's Department of Mechanical Engineering, MicroET's developing a new fluid transport subsystem that uses microchannels and nanoparticle suspensions as the fluid to maximize the efficiency of coolants.

The company's cooling modules offer key benefits such as greater heat removal capacity, easy alteration with minimum impact on the system, uniform surface temperatures, and an inexpensive manufacturing process in mass quantities.

MicroGREEN Polymers, Inc., Stanwood
Researcher: Dr. Vipin Kumar, University of Washington Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Disposable food packaging made from plastics and paper is an $11 billion market. While paper food packaging costs considerably more than conventional plastic foam, it is favored due to environmental and health concerns regarding traditional polystyrene foam.

MicroGREEN Polymers, Inc., formed in 2002, is a startup company commercializing microcellular plastics technology developed with Dr. Kumar at the University of Washington's Microcellular Plastics Lab. The company plans to manufacture environmentally friendly plastic disposable food packaging. Their patented microcellular plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foams use standard production equipment in a novel way to make a new class of food packaging products that are less expensive, functionally better, and positively impact the environment

This WTC-funded project is supporting research on a new energy efficient process for producing thermoformed articles such as foam cups and plates. MicroGREEN will study process conditions for producing the PET foam, the effects of CO2 concentration on thermofoaming, and the effects of moisture content on foam quality. MicroGREEN's manufacturing process for disposable food packaging products is energy efficient as well as environmentally friendly.

Related WTC links:

  • RTD Grant Program

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  • WTC hosted SBIR program managers

    WTC hosted nine federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program managers on September 25, 2003 as part of their SBIR outreach program. Representatives made presentations to the 109 participants about the different agencies and funding programs. They also shared proposal tips and tricks about how to access the almost $1.6 billion in SBIR/STTR funding. Attendees had an opportunity to meet with program managers one-on-one.

    Related WTC links:

  • SBIR Program

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  • Access university talent

    Did you know that Washington's universities have a program that can directly benefit your company?

    Many engineering students across the state are required to complete a senior design project, which allows engineering and computer science students to work with industry on "real life" problems -- benefiting both students by educating them on professional practice and companies by gaining fresh ideas and solutions to real problems.

    Additional benefits to a company sponsoring a project include:

    -- Low cost, low risk investigation of new ideas.
    -- Getting multiple, fresh views on a problem.
    -- Accessing state-of-the-art advances in the field.
    -- Supporting a future supply of well-trained engineers.
    -- Exposure to potential new hires.

    The senior design program varies from school to school in project time frames, requirements, and costs. Companies may expect to contribute a minimum of $2,500.

    Projects begin in the fall quarter or semester (August–September), so act now!

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    Join WTC at Entrepreneur University 2003

    Starting and growing a small business can be complicated and challenging. Entrepreneur University can help new entrepreneurs find that competitive edge. The two-day workshop is bringing together the region's top venture capitalists, angel investors, CEOs, CFOs, COOs, and sales and marketing experts to teach the essentials of developing your business.

    More than 20 presentations from venture capitalists, angel investors, successful entrepreneurs, and other business experts are scheduled for the two-day November 2003workshop in Seattle. Topics include securing funding, writing a business plan, developing customer-driven products, forming a board, and creating credible financial models.

    WTC is one of the event's sponsors. Lee Cheatham, WTC executive director, is moderating a session on the government's role in encouraging entrepreneurship. David Giuliani, former chairman of Washington Technology Center's board of directors, will be giving a keynote presentation on "The Secrets of Entrepreneurial Success."

    Entrepreneur University is organized by the Northwest Entrepreneur Network, a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurial and venture activity in the Pacific Northwest.

    Entrepreneur University 2003 will be held November 6–7, 2003 at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Northwest Entrepreneur Network

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  • WTC's Seed Capital Network reaches out

    Through a new program supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, WTC will work with local community development officials outside the Puget Sound region to create and connect area investor groups, thus maximizing and enhancing a deal flow across the state. To prepare companies for securing investment, WTC will provide business services, such as assistance with developing business plans and preparing investor presentations.

    Over the past two months, WTC has been busy "planting the seeds" for angel investment networks across the state. WTC has already been in contact with groups in Wenatchee, Spokane, Vancouver, the Tri-Cities, Bellingham, Yakima, and communities on the Peninsula.

    The reception from business leaders, investors, entrepreneurs and economic development professionals has been very positive. The consensus is that the need for investments in early stage companies is vital to their growth. And, in many areas, the expansion of new companies or industries may be critical to the long-term economic health of entire communities or regions. Constituents from these areas are optimistic, because investors are willing to help fund exciting companies, if they can find quality deals and share the effort and risk of such investments with others.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Angel Network

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  • The year in review: Highlights of WTC's 2003 annual report

    This year, 2003, marks Washington Technology Center's 20th anniversary. The impact of WTC's work with companies over the last two decades is significant. Since 1995, more than 200 Washington companies working with WTC have secured $312 million in outside financing or federal contracts. Thus, every dollar of state investment has been leveraged almost 11 times.

    This year's annual report illustrates WTC's continued commitment to expanding Washington's economic future. Our well-known programs have continued their successes. Our new efforts address some of the state's most pressing economic challenges.

    Noteworthy achievements:
    -- Led the way to positioning the Pacific Northwest as an international leader in energy technologies by establishing the Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative in partnership with seven other regional energy leaders.
    -- Serviced 24 percent more of our region's companies and researchers through our Microfabrication Laboratory, thus keeping Washington at the forefront of this important enabling technology.
    -- Enhanced access to seed capital and technical assistance for companies seeking to grow by attracting federal funding to build capacity within communities all across the state.

    As we enter our third decade of service to the citizens of Washington, we continue to support our quality of life, good jobs and prosperous economic future. Our focus on IDEAS. CONNECTIONS. JOBS. has never been more relevant.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC 2003 Annual Report [PDF]

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  • Microfabrication Laboratory exceeds $750K in revenue

    In fiscal year 2003, WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory revenue grew by almost 25 percent over the previous year. This surge was derived from user fees and contract processing, income that covers the lab's operating costs.

    It is becoming clear that the unique capabilities of the Microfab Lab are in demand. The lab is accessible for those in need of use of process equipment, training and development, and who seek access to university research groups who want to have hands-on participation in MEMS research/processing, but cannot afford the specialized equipment and infrastructure necessary to perform their work. The lab's visibility has increased to the point where WTC regularly sees inquiries from across the United States and Canada.

    Search for second facility site underway
    Building on the success of the Seattle-based Lab, WTC has been investigating other locations outside the Puget Sound region where a similar facility could serve users more effectively. Preliminary research shows that Vancouver, Wash. or Portland, Ore. may have an optimum combination of university researchers and technology-based companies to warrant further study. Research is underway to gauge the size of the potential market and the process capabilities that would be of highest value to prospective clients in the Vancouver/Portland area.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • WTC hosts national state science and technology conference

    WTC is the local host for the State Science & Technology Institute's (SSTI) seventh annual conference, "Building Tech-based Economies: From Policy to Practice." The conference will provide state and local organizations an excellent way to showcase nationally and internationally what Washington communities are doing to build a tech-based economy.

    Scheduled for October 21–22, 2003 at Seattle's Bell Harbor Conference Center, the event, called "the nation's premier technology-based economic development conference," will bring together leaders working to improve national, state, and local economies throughout the U.S. This conference offers the best opportunity for practitioners and policymakers to assess where they've been, where they want to be, and the best strategies to get there.

    SSTI is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving government-industry programs that encourage economic growth through the application of science & technology. For those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • SSTI

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  • WTC welcomes new staff

    In recent months, WTC has both added and repositioned staff:

    -- Chris Coleman, manager of finance and eperations.
    -- Sue Hollis, assistant to the executive director.
    -- Russell Paez, project coordinator.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC current staff list

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