2014 High Tech Meets Soil Science at Entrepreneur Bootcamp™
May 14, 2014 (Moscow, Idaho; Pullman, Washington) — What if catastrophes like the landslide that occurred in Oso, Wash., in April could be prevented? What if those lives could be saved, that land stabilized? That’s the idea behind BioCement™, a dry chemical solution that can help stabilize soil, reduce dust mitigation and stop slide slope migration, like the devastating landslide at Oso.
BioCement™ Technologies, Inc., a five-man business with strong ties to the University of Idaho, wants to see where their product can go. And a first step in that, says soon-to-be UI alumnus Marshall Piatt, is attending the Palouse Knowledge Corridor’s Be the Entrepreneur Bootcamp.
The product is the brainchild of a microbiologist, but BioCement™ Technologies, Inc. actually started in a classroom. Piatt, a business major, was taking an entrepreneurship class at the UI and needed a product for a business plan competition.
“At the time, I didn’t want to be an entrepreneur, but I wanted to win the competition,” Piatt said. He went to the Office of Technology Transfer at the UI looking for an idea. They gave him a list of patents. “I found this fascinating,” Piatt said of the BioCement™ product. “I met with the inventor and asked for some of the data to write the business plan, and he said sure. The rest is history.” Piatt’s team won the competition.
“It started as a school project, then turned into a weekend job and very quickly became a business,” he said. Inventor Dr. Malcolm Burbank, a microbiologist, joined Piatt, 2013 UI graduate Michael Hungerford, soon-to-be alumnus Nick Lodato and economist John Maxwell on the BioCement™ Technologies, Inc. team.
The five men plan to make BioCement™ Technologies, Inc., their full-time business soon — but have some work to do to get there. They hope the Bootcamp can help. “For the most part, we’re all business students or just out of college, and we don’t have a lot of real-world experience. We’re looking for people and help with management, and maybe even mentors,” Piatt said. He’ll also be seeking advice on manufacturing, he said.
BioCement™ Technologies, Inc. recently came in second at an Inland Northwest Business Plan Competition held at Whitworth University. They also received a grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce to test the product in the field.
Piatt and his team presented BioCement™ Technologies, Inc. to the Palouse Knowledge Corridor at a previous business showcase, and are eager to work with them again. “We love this region and we’re pretty involved here,” he said. “We’re really excited to learn from locals and others in the industry field.”
The Palouse Knowledge Corridor’s Be the Entrepreneur Bootcamp is a five-day event aimed at entrepreneurs in value-added agriculture, animal health and technology. The three topics were selected based on area expertise and regional demand, and bootcamp instructors represent the best in research, agriculture, animal health, technology and business in a two-university, technology-rich region. Daily sessions will include lectures, practical experience, assignments and takeaways, as well as networking opportunities.
More information at Palouse Knowledge Corridor™, Be The Entrepreneur Bootcamp™ or to register. The Palouse Knowledge Corridor’s Be the Entrepreneur Bootcamp is June 21-25 in Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman, Washington.
The Palouse Knowledge Corridor is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to match innovation with opportunity, promote assets of the Palouse and foster collaborative efforts with universities, private sector, economic development agencies and government.