The traction gained by ChemGreen in the three months at the CTA@Boston was something that we could not achieve in over two years in Canada.Nauman Farooqi, Co-founder and President of ChemGreen Innovation Inc
From October to December 2014, ChemGreen Innovation Inc. was provided a unique opportunity to be a part of the Canadian Technology Accelerator Program at Boston (CTA). ChemGreen Innovation has developed and patented a diversified portfolio of clean-tech novel polymers and nano-materials focusing initially on antimicrobial, conductive, and magnetic properties. In the following paragraphs I would like to share with you some of my experiences in attending the program as the President and Co-Founder of ChemGreen.
I went into the CTA after having had the opportunity to be a part of the “48 Hours in the Hub Program” organized by the Trade Commissioner’s office in Boston. This allowed me to get some ideas of the opportunities available upon joining the CTA program. This two day event also allowed for meeting some of the residents of the program who were very generous to share their experiences and ways to best benefit from the program. One of the challenges faced by Canadian companies, and more so companies from Atlantic Canada, is the lack of visibility for our ideas and innovations in the bigger US and global marketplace. The CTA program allows companies such as ChemGreen, who have leading edge technologies to showcase this on a bigger and more visible platform via the CTA.
To begin, I would to highlight the support and connections provided by our assigned Trade Commissioner as well as the other members of the office. Their valuable input and generous offer to make warm introductions as well as value added feedback was significant for ChemGreen to gain some traction in the US marketplace. To give you an example; Early one morning in my residency, I connected with my Trade Commissioner for some assistance to connect with one of the companies on my list of potential partners. Although she did not know anyone directly, she promised to look into finding some connections. Later that afternoon, I received an email from the Director of Business Development of my potential partner company inviting us to share our technology with the company. As I looked at the trial of emails, I could see how she was able to make use of her connections to connect to someone who knew someone in the partner company. All of this happened in a matter of hours was remarkable given the usual long process with connecting with global companies. Since that initial contact, we have had several meetings, signed an NDA and are in the process of signing an MTA and shipping samples off for testing at their laboratory. The Trade Commissioner’s In Boston office was also instrumental in keeping us abreast of various interesting events happening in the Boston area for startups as well as offered free-of-cost opportunities to attend some of these events. Examples include the MIT Mentorship Program as well as events at MIT and Harvard University’s iLabs.
The other salient feature of the CTA Program is the mentorship provided by the Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England (CENE) team to residents. The Trade Commissioner’s Office matched us with four top notch mentors in business development, regulatory affairs, financing and polymer technology areas. The combined experience, insights and advice that these mentors provided ChemGreen was exceptional. We continue to engage with our mentor team who has very generously continued to offer their valuable advice and mentorship.
The physical location of the CTA in the Cambridge Innovation Center was also very valuable due to the richness of connections that the space provided. The CIC houses over 1600 startups in the space which is also occupied by venture capitalists, lawyers and representative offices of global multinationals. The CIC provided the ideal eco system for ChemGreen to gain the momentum that it needed to make the connections necessary to make it to the next level. Apart from this, the CIC also hosted a number of events each week which provided opportunities to hear world class speakers and entrepreneurs share their experiences and answer questions from founders.
The traction gained by ChemGreen in the three months at the CTA@Boston was something that we could not achieve in over two years in Canada. ChemGreen continues to develop the relationships and partnerships developed during the CTA and looks forward to the successful commercialization of their innovative clean-tech polymer technology.