Workshops around the country give entrepreneurs a head start on applying for the global business competition; participants build a local investor and partner network, make crucial connections
Fish 2.0, the global network for sustainable seafood businesses, is launching a track dedicated to U.S. aquaculture ventures in its 2018–19 business competition cycle. The track kicks off with an East Coast workshop and networking event in Baltimore Nov. 7–8, followed by a Gulf Coast workshop near Biloxi, Mississippi, in February and a West Coast workshop in Seattle in April.
Supported by NOAA Fisheries, the track is open to all kinds of growing aquaculture businesses—production, finfish, feed, technology, algae, aquaponics, land-based, marine-based, and others—in all 50 states. The University System of Maryland’s Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) is hosting the upcoming East Coast program. The two-day event will help ventures improve their business strategies and presentations to investors, as well as give entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts a chance to meet. Participation is free but space is limited: entrepreneurs, experts or investors who want to attend must apply online by Sept. 28.
“The Fish 2.0 process alone is helpful to any entrepreneur looking to be part of the sustainable seafood space—the feedback from workshops, other participants, and reviewers really focused our message and drive,” says Sara Rademaker, founder of Maine-based American Unagi and a finalist in the 2017 competition. “On top of that, it’s connections, connections, connections. We were able to directly connect to investors in the seafood space and continue to see value from those connections.”
At least 75 percent of Fish 2.0 finalists gain new investment, partners, or customers
Fish 2.0, now in its fourth competition cycle, builds connections among entrepreneurs, investors, and industry leaders to spur growth and innovation in the sustainable seafood sector worldwide.
“Expanding marine aquaculture is vital for supporting our nation’s seafood production, year-round jobs, and enhancing coastal resilience,” says Paul Doremus, chief operating officer at NOAA Fisheries. “By supporting sustainable aquaculture innovation, we can increase and diversify U.S. seafood production to deliver economic, environmental, and human health benefits.”
At least 75 percent of finalists in Fish 2.0 2017 made connections during the program that resulted in investment, new partners, or new customers. The competition takes place online over several months. Throughout the process, participants get feedback from investors on their plans and presentations as well as opportunities to learn from a range of expert advisors and leaders in the field. Investors gain access to up-and-coming seafood innovators and an early look at trends in the sector.
Participants in the 2018-19 Fish 2.0 competition cycle will have opportunities to meet with investors at various points as they progress through the competition. The top ventures will be invited to pitch at the Fish 2.0 Global Innovation Forum, taking place in fall 2019 in Silicon Valley.
Workshop provides a head start on success in the Fish 2.0 competition
The three U.S. aquaculture workshops give participants a head start in the Fish 2.0 competition. They prepare entrepreneurs to compete by providing expert advice on communicating about the business in a way that attracts interest, practice pitching to investors and buyers, and guidance on integrating social and environmental sustainability into their business strategy. Each workshop’s second day closes with a three-hour networking reception that brings entrepreneurs together with investors and experts from industry and government. In Baltimore, reception attendees will have a chance to tour the University of Maryland’s Aquaculture Research Center and see innovative aquaculture technologies in development.
Ventures may apply and investors and experts may register on the U.S. Aquaculture track page. Entrepreneurs unable to attend the workshop will still be able to participate in the online competition, which will open immediately following the Baltimore workshop.
“People were clamoring for more aquaculture opportunities in the last competition, and now we’ve got them,” says Fish 2.0 Executive Director Monica Jain. “In addition to the U.S. Aquaculture track, we’ve just opened up a global aquaculture track. The time is right for aquaculture to take off. In addition to a huge, underserved national market that wants product, there’s growing global demand for sustainably farmed seafood.”
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.