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Ideas for Sea Change: An Introduction to The Blue Economy with OceanExchange & Marine Research Hub



OceanExchange, Marine Research Hub, and Seaworthy Collective were excited to collaborate to provide an informative forum for insights into the Blue Economy! Whether this term is new to you or not, the challenges and opportunities for ocean business are continually growing and OceanExchange and The Marine Research Hub lended our community their thought leadership and expertise in identifying and empowering sustainable solutions in the ocean sphere in South Florida and beyond.

About our panel: Millicent Wallace Pitts CEO/Executive Director of OceanExchange Millicent Wallace Pitts is the CEO/Executive Director of OceanExchange.org, a non-profit in its tenth year with the sole mission to help the advancement of innovative solutions that support healthy and sustainable oceans and coastal systems. Ocean Exchange awards two $100,000 non-dilutive grants to start ups with globally scalable solutions that are at least at the working prototype stage. Additionally, Ocean Exchange awards a $10,000 award to a collegiate innovator, a process that has yielded five former finalists in five years that were later named to Forbes 30 Under 30 in their fields. Millicent was an operating executive for thirty years in the chemical/materials industry with Atlantic Richfield, Rohm & Haas, Engelhard/BASF and with a university-based start-up. She holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. While at Ocean Exchange she has helped grow a start-up ecosystem with roles as innovation judge at Penn Innovation Day, as a mentor at Clean Tech Open Northeast, as a member of the NOAA sub-committee on the Blue Economy, as a steering committee member of OceanVisions.org, and as a judge at the DOE/NREL Marine Energy Collegiate Competition. Kelly Skidmore Executive Director of the Marine Research Hub of South Florida Public Relations Specialist, Marine Industries Association of South Florida  Former Florida House State Representative Kelly Skidmore serves as the acting executive director of the Marine Research Hub of South Florida while directing the public relations efforts of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. Kelly has lived in South Florida since 1972 and earned her degree in Communications from Palm Beach State College. Kelly previously served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2006 to 2010 and is currently a candidate for the Florida House in Palm Beach County. Daniel Kleinman Founder & CEO, Seaworthy Collective Daniel Kleinman is Seaworthy Collective's Founder and CEO. Daniel received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, focusing on ocean technology while following a passion for exploring and understanding the oceans. As an undergraduate, Daniel interned with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and became a University Innovation Fellow. After graduating in 2015, Daniel spent two years as a Pilot & Test Engineer for Bluefin Robotics' Bluefin-21 unmanned underwater vehicles in Boston. Daniel spent the following three years in San Diego as a Contractor for the Navy contributing to mechanical engineering R & D for maritime systems. Daniel recently started his Masters studies in Exploration Science at The University of Miami RSMAS. Daniel created Seaworthy Collective in early 2020, channeling his passion, network, and wealth of industry knowledge to help empower a community of current and aspiring ocean innovators and entrepreneurs. About OceanExchange: OceanExchange.org is a 501c3 with the sole mission to help advance the adoption of solutions in the field of sustainability. We seek solutions with working prototypes that reduce waste and the use of nature’s resources while increasing productivity and respecting cultures around the world. The Ocean Exchange mission is executed in two parts. In our eight-year history, we have aggregated solutions via a competitive process whereby $1.5 million has been given in non-dilutive grants to startups as seed funding, typically at the pre-revenue stage. We are agnostic about geography and form of solution, where we see devices, materials, processes, and systems. Finalists and winners in those eight years now have significant accomplishments on their road to commercialization: exit strategy completed for initial investors via acquisition by Boeing, IPO on Swedish NASDAQ, large equity-based crowd-funding in the cleantech space, award of significant contract by HUD for post-Sandy remediation in Raritan Bay/Staten Island as examples of success stories. We also have a collegiate award, the Broward College Innovation Award, now in year five. Our year one collegiate award winner was named as a Forbes 30 Under 30 in Energy. In addition to cash awards, we open our large ecosystem to all who compete to help connect them to business, government, or financial market resources that can move them along the path to commercialization. Ocean Exchange is largely sponsor funded by Gulfstream (General Dynamics), Wallenius Wilhelmsen, the Marine Research Hub, Oceaneering, and others. Ocean Exchange hosts an annual event each fall where at least ten finalists pitch, competing for one of two $100,000 cash awards. Presentations are done in front of 100-150 hand-selected delegates from business, government, and academia who vote who receives the awards. At this same event, eight collegiate finalists pitch for the $10,000 Broward College Innovation Award. Learn more at: https://www.oceanexchange.org/ About Marine Research Hub: Say South Florida and you may think sunshine and vacation. But the new Marine Research Hub wants people to think deeper than its beautiful beaches – hundreds of feet deeper.

 Big Breakthroughs  “What we own in education research is the ocean,” says Howard Greenberg, Chairman of the Marine Research Hub of South Florida. “We lead the nation, even the world, in the research done right here in our own back yard by four world-class institutions. Ocean engineering. Coral reef research. Medicines from the seas. Sea level impact. Sharing our story on a national and world stage drives talent, funding, resources and jobs to our region.”

 Big Business  The number of businesses directly benefitting from marine research is substantial. Bio-medicine, Biotechnology, Energy, Marine Engineering, Defense, Aquaculture, Marine Recreation, Environmental, to name a few.

 Big Wins  The impact extends beyond specific industries. Research, talent, funding and companies that flowed into areas like North Carolina’s Research Triangle and Telecom Corridor in Dallas created enormous economic change for those regions. Much the same is happening in South Florida around marine and oceanographic research.  

Big Minds  The Marine Research Hub consortium includes respected leaders from economic development, universities, research firms, marine industries, business sectors and philanthropic foundations to brand the area as a world-class marine research corridor and collaborator, enhancing ocean health and delivering critical benefits to the global population. South Florida now derives $11.5 billion in economic impact and 136,000 jobs from our reefs and marine industry. “We’ve just splashed the surface of what’s possible,” said Bob Swindell, President/CEO Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. “Our region has the expertise and track record to earn global respect – but it’s up to us to make sure everyone knows it.”  

Big Ideas  The founding members of the Marine Research Hub are Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, University of Miami, Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Miami-Dade Beacon Council and Marine Industries Association of South Florida. “What we own in education research is the ocean. We lead the nation, even the world, in the research that is being done right here in our own backyard by four world-class institutions.”-Howard Greenberg, Chairman of the Marine Research Hub of South Florida These organizations are leading the way for the global collaboration that will bring talent and businesses to South Florida and help our oceans sustain themselves and produce the food, energy and clean water our world will need for future generations.

Learn more at: https://marineresearchhub.org/

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