Apply for a Microgrant and Let Launch TN Advance Your Business

Launch TN, the state’s public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies, recently announced the Microgrants program – ideal for TAEBC members.

Tennessee-based early-stage companies currently or in the near-term that will be applying for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I, Phase II or Fast-Track award can use the Microgrants program to increase the quality of their application. Microgrants can provide financial support for quality SBIR/STTR grant-writing assistance.Launch-Tennessee-logo-stacked

TAEBC member Renewable Algal Energy (RAE) is an example of how a program like this can help jump start a business model.

As RAE CEO and TAEBC board member Jeff Kanel explained in a Teknovation column, RAE has created what it describes as “novel breakthrough technology to produce sustainable, economically viable products from microalgae.” Those offerings range from algal oil as a feedstock for renewable diesel fuel to protein, carotenoids, and omega-3 fatty acids for animal and human nutrition.

Three of the four SBIRs that Kanel submitted were directly related to evolving RAE’s technology. The fourth, focusing on algae, was submitted by Kanel before RAE was founded. For many start-ups, an early funding source is an SBIR award.

RAE started down the SBIR trail in 2007 in a purposeful way. Kanel said success starts with understanding the federal agency’s need. In his case, it was the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The initial Phase I for RAE was submitted in 2007, and the award was made in 2008.

His recommended approach – focusing on the defined DOE need – characterized RAE’s responses that won the Phase II and III awards. Kanel identified several keys for success. They included utilization of solid project management tools, inclusion of well-defined milestones and deliverables, and a clear understanding of the critical success factors.

Over a roughly six-year period, RAE successfully won Phase I, II and III awards that have proven the viability of the technology, helped fund work to validate the financial model and scalability of the technology, and deploy a semi-works facility.

Today, RAE has strategic relationships, customers, and a technology proving ground in Arizona as well as a North-American developer with a site that is permitted for the deployment of RAE Technology.

Phase II, again funded by DOE, ran from 2009 to 2012, with RAE collecting considerable amounts of data to show financial viability and technology scalability.

Phase III, which ran from 2012 into 2014, was an accelerator period when RAE deployed the technology in a semi-works scale effort designed to reduce the technology risk. This final phase helped RAE to secure contracts with interested partners.

In mid-2014, the company announced two strategic partnerships. One was an off-take agreement with Neste Oil Corporation, the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel fuel. Under the arrangement, Neste can purchase RAE’s crude algae oil on a commercial scale for use as a feedstock for producing renewable fuel.

And, all of this success was made possible through SBIR grants.

TAEBC encourages members to consider applying for the Microgrants program to help navigate the SBIR/STTR process.

For information about how to apply for the Launch TN Microgrants program, visit here.

For more about RAE’s success, visit here and here.

Schneider Electric to Create Jobs, Open Regional Office in Franklin, TN

TAEBC member, Schneider Electric recently announced that the company will consolidate its existing Middle Tennessee operations in Davidson and Rutherford Counties to Williamson County, opening a major Southeast regional office in Franklin.

The consolidation will relocate approximately 900 current employees and create 250 new jobs. Schneider Electric’s regional office will be located at Two Franklin Park in a newly constructed 150,000 square foot space, which is slated to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2017. The workforce will be comprised of engineering, sales, R&D and corporate functions for several national and global business units.schneider-electric-logo

Schneider Electric is a global company that specializes in energy management and automation by developing connected technologies and solutions to manage energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable.

“The state of Tennessee has long been a hub of innovation for Schneider Electric, and we are happy to maintain our strong commitment to the communities where we live and work,” said Annette Clayton, CEO and president of Schneider Electric North America. “Our new facility in Franklin will be our largest office in the country, creating an environment that encourages collaboration with customers and employees. The facility will be designed with the Schneider Electric vision of workplace collaboration and energy efficiency and will create a center of leadership and excellence.”

“We thank Schneider Electric for choosing Franklin for its regional office and creating 250 new jobs in Tennessee,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said. “Many companies have selected Tennessee as a base for their operations, and we are proud they call our state home. (This) announcement is great news not only for Williamson County, but for the entire state as it supports our goal to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~$30 billion in FY2015, 160,000+ employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, our technology, software and services improve the way our customers manage and automate their operations. Schneider’s connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. Learn more at

To read the official announcement, visit here.

TAEBC Wants to Hear from You! Send Us Your News.

It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through 2016. With the year at the midpoint, it’s a good time for TAEBC to take inventory to find out what our members have been up to.

What is your biggest accomplishment this year? What good news do you want to share? Send us any updates, pictures, awards and honors or upcoming events and we’ll share with our membership in the next E-news.

You can send promotions, new business, event highlights or anything else you would like to share with your fellow TAEBC members. Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.00.40 PM

And, if you’d like to have an opportunity to announce or share an achievement with a targeted audience, consider sponsoring a TAEBC Energy Connect event. Energy Connect events are sponsored by members, for members. You provide the attendee list and TAEBC will handle the promotion, securing attendance.

For information about how to sponsor an Energy Connect event, contact Cortney Piper at

Send your updates, photos, events and good news to Allie Rapkowicz at

Download Today: Federal Financing Programs for Clean Energy

The Department of Energy has released a free resource guide to U.S. programs that support clean energy projects. The Federal Financing Programs for Clean Energy features ten agencies, including summaries and case studies, that can benefit private sector partners in finding capital for energy efficiency and clean energy projects.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.37.23 PMFor every program listed, the guide identifies additional contact information to answer questions and provide additional direction.

Now in its third edition, the guide includes financing programs for both domestic and international projects. The guide includes programs from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, State, Transportation and Treasury, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Small Business Administration.

The programs listed within the guide are resources that can support clean energy deployment, and in turn lead to new investment, job creation, and additional benefits that can invigorate communities.

Business owners, homeowners, investors, policymakers, and others can use this guide as a “Yellow Pages” to federal programs. In some situations, the financing programs listed are specifically designed to support energy-related projects. In other cases, however, energy efficiency and clean energy are among many qualifying purposes for the particular financing program.

This guide is a companion to the Database for State Incentives for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (DSIRE), which provides state-specific information on incentives and policies to support clean energy and energy efficiency in the United States. More information on DSIRE is available at

Additional information is available through the U.S. Department of Energy and its Clean Energy Investment Center (CEIC). More information on the DOE financing programs and the CEIC is available at

To download the guide, click here.