The Value of Growing Companies with Economic and Social Impact
Ecovative Co-Founder & Chief Scientist Gavin McIntyre Speaks at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit
Green Island, NY—There are benefits for entrepreneurs yearning to grow companies to have both an economic andsocial impact, and for investors—including the Federal government—willing to take the risk. That was the message from Ecovative Design’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Gavin McIntyre, speaking on a panel at the 2016 Global Innovation Summit. GES2016 was hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama, June 23-24, at Stanford University, in Silicon Valley, California.
“Ecovative was created to make both an economic and social impact. Producing quality, cost-competitive products is essential, but there also is value in adding a third critical factor—environmentally sustainable—to grow a viable company,” McIntyre says.
A leading biomaterials company, Ecovative grows high performance, cost-competitive, award-winning products—including MycoBoard™ panels for furniture and construction, MycoFoam™ packaging materials, and other consumer goods—that are healthy, environmentally friendly, and certified sustainable. Ecovative products enable customers—including Fortune 500 companies, international mills and furniture makers—to meet design, production, and delivery needs while achieving sustainability goals.
McIntyre spoke on a panel titled “Technology for Entrepreneurship with Social Impact,” moderated by U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Deputy Administrator Doug Kramer.
In an open letter of thanks to U.S. taxpayers, penned in conjunction with his participation in GES2016, McIntyre wrote of the value of the Federal government “Investing in the Growth of Our Collective Future.” The federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program has been “fundamental” to the growth of Ecovative, according to McIntyre.
Noting the added challenges of financing a manufacturing and biomaterials start-up, McIntyre wrote, “We were too early stage and potentially too capital intensive to garner the interest of traditional private VC’s in good economic times, and 2007-2008 were not good economic times. We were proposing to create an entire new industry, based on an entire class of new materials science. Let’s face it, we were a high risk bet. What we needed was an angel investor, and we found our angel in Washington, D.C.at the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.”
“Initial Federal investments in our early high risk research led to commercialization of MycoFoam™, our sustainable packaging that is an environmental friendly replacement for products like Styrofoam™. Essential Federal support for the underlying research also helped us bring MycoBoard™ to market, and it is now being used by manufacturers to create healthy furniture, free of formaldehyde and other toxic resins,” according to McIntyre
Through the SBIR program, Ecovative has received Federal funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF)($2.3 million), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)($780,000), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)($740,000). Ecovative was founded in 2007, and received its first SBIR program related grant in 2008. Ecovative also has received government support from New York State.
In 2013 Ecovative received the SBA’s prestigious Tibbetts Award honoring high-tech small businesses “for the critical role they play in research and development for the government and for their success in driving innovation and creating new jobs.” SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet cited Ecovative as one of its investment success stories, in a February 2016 speech on the State of Entrepreneurship in the United States. Administrator Contreras-Sweet is the voice of entrepreneurs in President Obama’s Cabinet.
The GES2016, the 7th annual GES conference organized by the Obama Administration, convened more than 700 entrepreneurs and investors from 170 countries. The panel on “Technology for Entrepreneurship with Social Impact” also included: Adam Atkinson-Lewis, VP, International Business Development, Natal Energy, Inc.; Gyanda Sachdeva, Director, Product Management, LinkedIn; and Jim Fruchterman, Founder and CEO, Benetech.
For more information on GES2016 go to: http://www.ges2016.org/
To read McIntyre’s GES2016 blog go to: Investing in the Growth of Our Collective Future
For information on the Federal SBIR program go to: https://www.sbir.gov/