TAEBC welcomes newest board member Trish Starkey

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council would like to welcome Schneider Electric North America’s Trish Starkey to the board.

Trish serves as Business Development Manager for New Energy Landscape Strategic Alliances at Schneider Electric North America. In this position, she develops and supports commercial engagements across the Electric Utility and MicroGrid team. She also serves as the ambassador to Schneider Electric’s most strategic partners including Dynamic Energy Networks and The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager with $174 billion in assets.

She leads strategic marketing and sales enablement initiatives that foster clear thought leadership and a strong position within the market.

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Trish has a Bachelors in Business Administration and Marketing.

You’ll have a chance to meet Trish at TAEBC’s upcoming Annual Meeting, where she will participate in a panel presentation with our other newest board members.

TAEBC joins Launch Tennessee for inaugural ‘Innovation Week on the Hill’

Launch Tennessee executives were at Tennessee’s Capitol Hill early February connecting entrepreneurs and innovators with legislators to discuss key challenges that small businesses face today.

“Innovation Week on the Hill” on February 5-8 was packed with special events, meetings and meaningful connections between policymakers and job creators.

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council, Life Science Tennessee, Nashville Tech Council, and EO Nashville collaborated with Launch Tennessee on this first-of-its-kind event to bring entrepreneurship and innovation to the forefront of Tennessee’s legislative process.

This shared effort resulted in:

  • 390 entrepreneur & innovator exchanges with legislators
  • 106 meetings held with legislators
  • 250+ legislative reception attendees

(L to R): Lindsey Cox, Dir. of Operations and Government Affairs at Launch Tennessee; Anna Douglas, Founder of SkyNano Technologies; State Rep. John Ragan, District 33; Cortney Piper, Vice President of TAEBC

During “Innovation Week on the Hill,” Launch Tennessee shared its success with lawmakers in helping increase the number of Tennessee angels since the State Legislature’s passage of the Tennessee Angel Tax Credit in 2016. If you remember, the ATC was designed to increase the pool of early-stage capital, get new investors engaged in the ecosystem and give entrepreneurs in Tennessee an additional selling point when pitching their companies for investment.

For 2017, Launch Tennessee issued $1.84M worth of credits, tied to $6.3M of capital invested in Tennessee companies. 29 companies attracted investment from angels benefitting from the program, receiving an average check size of $73,055 from 68 unique angel investors.

These 68 investors could receive up to $50,000 in tax credits and many invested in multiple companies. This is significant because, as awareness of ATC grew, angels wanted to maximize their amount of eligible credits for 2017 and looked for other pre-qualified companies to invest in. This created a multiplier effect, increasing the number of Tennessee investments that otherwise might not have been made.

“Innovation on the Hill” also included Launch Tennessee speaking about its invitation to join Kauffman’s first-ever Entrepreneurs’ Policy Network. The network will serve as an alliance of organizations that will bring the voices of entrepreneurs to policy debates at the state level.

(L to R): Cortney Piper, Vice President of TAEBC; Charlie Brock, CEO & President of Launch Tennessee; Lindsey Cox, Dir. of Operations and Government Affairs of Launch Tennessee.

Launch Tennessee was selected as a grant recipient and is one of six entrepreneurial support organizations chosen from an invitation-only nationwide RFP process. The Entrepreneurs’ Policy Network seeks to remove barriers to new business creation and entrepreneurial success by improving public policy at the state level.

Among other actions, grant recipients will:

  • Identify state policies that inhibit entrepreneurship,
  • Educate policymakers about the impact of those policies in erecting barriers to entrepreneurship,
  • Build support for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship generally, and
  • Facilitate informational interactions between policymakers and entrepreneurs.

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council has partnered with Launch Tennessee to form the Energy Mentor Network. The network showcases the state’s lucrative advanced energy industry and recent achievements in the field.

The Energy Mentor Network’s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and industry specific expertise.

Since 2016, the network has doubled the number of mentors in the program to 25 with expertise ranging from energy systems, clean tech, intellectual property, business and finance strategy. Six companies are currently enrolled in the Energy Mentor Network.

Last year the network recognized its first graduate, Solar Site Design, which achieved significant traction while enrolled in the Energy Mentor Network.

Energy Mentor Network Company: SkyNano Technologies

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is featuring the companies benefiting from the Energy Mentor Network program, which offers industry specific expertise from experienced mentors.

The Energy Mentor Network‘s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors. This gives Tennessee yet another advantage in grabbing its more than fair share of the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market.

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

In broad strokes, the Energy Mentor Network pairs mentors with promising new companies and entrepreneurs through a structured program involving panel presentations and mentoring sessions.

The purpose of the program is to develop quality startups. After completing the program, startups will have an investable pitch deck, a rock solid business model and a plan to establish more traction. These tools will position Tennessee’s entrepreneurs to raise capital, request other funds like SBIR grants, and scale their company.

This week TAEBC is highlighting SkyNano Technologies. SkyNano Technologies has developed an open system manufacturing technique to produce low cost, high value carbon nanotubes, a material with potential applications in a variety of areas from energy storage to consumer electronics. Compared to traditional manufacturing processes that require high vacuum and high pressure gas flow systems, SkyNano’s patent-pending technology relies on the electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide, resulting in a process that is lower in cost and scalable for commercial applications. Aside from lowering the cost of carbon nanotubes, SkyNano’s technique offers a promising method for converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into useful functional nanomaterials.

TAEBC is currently accepting applications from Tennessee advanced energy companies to apply for the Energy Mentor Network program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please visit the “For Startups” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.

SkyNano Technologies is enrolled in ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads program. TAEBC and Launch Tennessee provide non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovation Crossroads Innovators.

ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia gives testimony to House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee

Dr. Thomas Zacharia, Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy in January.

Alongside DOE Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette, DOE Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes, DOE Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar, DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security Frank Klotz, and others Zacharia presented testimony during a hearing discussing the importance of advancing DOE’s mission for national, economic, and energy security as well as the relationship between DOE and its contractors.

The Energy Subcommittee created the ‘DOE Modernization’ series in which members explored what is necessary to ensure effective execution of DOE’s core security missions. The hearing was the first of several on this topic.

Below is an excerpt from the witness statement in verbatim:

My name is Thomas Zacharia, and I am Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I am also a member of the National Laboratory Directors Council (NLDC), an organization formed by the directors of the 17 DOE labs. In my previous position as ORNL Deputy for Science and Technology, I was a member of the NLDC Chief Research Officers Working Group, which advises DOE senior leadership and the NLDC on scientific, programmatic, and operational issues at the national laboratories.

While I am speaking today on my own behalf, my participation in these groups has provided me with a perspective on the national laboratories that extends beyond ORNL. That perspective informs my views on the topics that you are considering today. I will begin with an overview of ORNL and its programs in science, energy, and national security and provide some examples of how the national laboratories support the execution of DOE’s missions in these vital areas. I will briefly discuss the governance of the national laboratories, and I will describe actions that DOE is taking in partnership with the contractors who manage and operate these laboratories to implement regulatory and policy reforms that are designed to make the national laboratories as efficient and effective as possible.

Click here for the full statement.

Click here to watch a video of the hearing.

Administration to impose 30 percent tariff on solar cell imports

President Donald Trump has approved tariffs on imported solar cells, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced Monday.

The tariffs would initially kick in at a higher rate in the first year, then decrease in subsequent years. For the first year, a 30 percent tariff would be applied to imported solar modules and cells.

Lighthizer’s office said the trade representative made recommendations to the president based on the findings of the independent, bipartisan U.S. International Trade Commission.

The agency had been asked to look into whether foreign imports of solar cells/modules were causing “serious injury to domestic manufacturers.”

Both South Korea and China decried the Trump administration’s new tariffs: Seoul said it would file a complaint about the changes, and Beijing said the U.S. was deteriorating the global trade environment.

Below are the approved safeguard tariffs on solar modules and cells:

  • Year 1: 30%
  • Year 2: 25%
  • Year 3: 20%
  • Year 4: 15%

Only two days after the announcement, the Department of Energy released an article on its website detailing a $3 million prize competition to “reenergize innovation in U.S. solar manufacturing.”

The release goes on to say: “The American Made Solar Prize will incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to develop new processes and products that will reassert American leadership in the solar marketplace. This prize is in additional to total DOE funding of up to $400 million for solar projects and technologies in 2017. It will lower barriers American innovators face in reaching manufacturing scale by accelerating the cycles of learning, while helping to create partnerships that connect entrepreneurs to the private sector and the network of DOE’s national laboratories.”

Read the original CNBC story here.