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MBCOI Lands NC IDEA Grant to Boost Shellfish Industry

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The Wilmington-based Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation (MBCOI) will put North Carolina in a regional leadership position to prepare businesses for a global shellfish-industry business competition, thanks to a $75,000 grant from the private NC IDEA foundation.

The Durham-based foundation’s Ecosystem Partner Grant is the 10th in a series that commits more than $1.25 million through 2019 to organizations throughout the state that support entrepreneurs and promote entrepreneurship.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has provided more than $2.5 million in grant funding to establish NBCOI since 2012. That funding also requires matching dollars to be raised by the independent, non-profit corporation, to translate innovative marine-related discoveries into products and services to benefit North Carolina’s economy. By combining a regional focus with a global perspective, MBCOI provides information and promotes collaboration that drives commercialization of marine biotechnologies.

The NC IDEA grant supports MBCOI’s lead role in gearing up for the Fish 2.0 2017 international competition. Fish 2.0 is a global business competition that connects seafood-related businesses with investors to grow the sector in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way.

MBCOI, in partnership with the University of North Carolina Wilmington, will help draw shellfish industry entrepreneurs from across twelve Southeastern states to the Fish 2.0 South Atlantic & Gulf Coast Shellfish Workshop to be held March 15 to 17 in Wilmington.

This regional workshop, open to all types of shellfish ventures (aquaculture, feed, harvest, food processing, transport, packaging, or regulatory), will teach participants how to communicate effectively about their business and give them practice pitching to investors and buyers. It will also prepare them for the Fish 2.0 competition, which culminates at the Global Forum and Competition Finals in November at Stanford University.

“The addition of MBCOI to our growing cohort of grantees further expands the diversity of our program by directly supporting entrepreneurial activity in Coastal North Carolina,” said Thom Ruhe, president and CEO of NC IDEA.

“A number of our recent seed grant recipients and finalists have benefitted from the mentoring, support and expertise of MBCOI. Funding this grant presented an opportunity for our organizations to more formally collaborate in supporting entrepreneurship in the eastern part of the state.”

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