Fish 2.0 will hold a free three-day business development workshop for South Atlantic and Gulf Coast shellfish entrepreneurs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) March 15–17, 2017. Participants will learn how to communicate about their business in a way that attracts interest, practice pitching to investors and buyers, and get advice on integrating social and environmental sustainability into their business strategy. The simple one-page workshop application, available at www.fish20.org/atlanticgulfworkshop, is due by Feb. 13.
The workshop is open to start-ups and established businesses from a 12-state region (see www.fish20.org/atlanticgulftrack) that focus on any aspect of the shellfish industry, including aquaculture, feed, wild harvest, food processing, transport, packaging, and regulation. Transparency and traceability ventures and supply chain innovators also may apply. Attendees are not required to participate in the Fish 2.0 2017 competition, but they will get a head start on the application and learn what investors want.
Local Fish 2.0 alumni spearheaded effort to bring Fish 2.0 to the region
The momentum behind this Fish 2.0 track comes from a 2013 Fish 2.0 participant who gained so much from the experience that she wanted others to reap the same benefits. That desire led her to bring Fish 2.0 to Wilmington to help grow South Atlantic and Gulf Coast shellfish businesses. “As a semifinalist in 2013 with Harvest Food & Fisheries, I experienced first-hand how important it is to get your venture in front of investors who are knowledgeable and interested in your field. Fish 2.0 is the organization making that possible for entrepreneurs in aquaculture and sustainable fisheries,” said Diane Durance, now director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UNCW, a sponsor of the regional workshop and track.
The other lead sponsor, Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation (MBCOI), was motivated by seeing one of its members, TRUfish, learn from the Fish 2.0 2015 competition and make it to the final event. In the 2017 competition, the top three businesses from the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast shellfish track will be invited to pitch to investors at the Nov. 7-8 final event at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, along with the top scorers from five other regional tracks and two global themed tracks.
Over 60 percent of Fish 2.0 finalists gain new investment, partners, or customers
The Fish 2.0 business competition connects seafood businesses from around the world with investors, giving entrepreneurs an opportunity to win cash prizes, gain international visibility, find strategic partners, and attract new investments. Over 60 percent of the finalists in the Fish 2.0 2015 competition gained investment, new partners, or new customers from connections they made during the program.
Deborah Mosca, CEO of MBCOI, believes that South Atlantic and Gulf Coast shellfish businesses can achieve similar success. “There are a lot of very small-scale businesses in the shellfish sector, and we need to show them that they can grow,” she said.
In addition to lead sponsors UNCW and MBCOI, South Atlantic and Gulf Coast shellfish track sponsors include NC IDEA, Innovate SENC, MARBIONC, CREST Research Park, and the Center for Marine Science.
About Fish 2.0
Fish 2.0 connects seafood businesses and investors to grow the sustainable seafood sector. Working through our unique global network, competition platform, and events, Fish 2.0 participants collaborate to drive innovation, business growth, and positive impact. Entrepreneurs meet potential investors, partners, and advisors that help them accelerate impact and growth. Investors and experts get early access to investment opportunities and learn about emerging technologies and trends. And industry leaders gain direct access to sustainable seafood suppliers and partners.
Sandra Stewart, Thinkshift Communications