Last week we held an innovation showcase to highlight the entrepreneurs who have been working within our inaugural maritime accelerator program over the past three months. It was a great event, ironically even more special since over 300 people attended virtually via Zoom.
For our participating companies the showcase was a chance to show their stuff. Our cohort of entrepreneurs have been working their tails off since January — aiming to improve and further advance the companies they have started. We Work Labs hosted the companies at their Seattle facilities and Head of Labs, Elizabeth Scallon, put the participants through a challenging accelerator program. “We brought together a flight of maritime experts, financial advisors and business coaches to share expertise and help our cohort develop their business plans. It was a stimulating program made even more difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
At the showcase each emerging company had ten minutes to pitch the audience on their enterprise. I was impressed with every company’s presentation — it was inspiring to see how much progress the firms had made over the past three months. From recycling fishing nets, to providing health care at sea, to developing an electric outboard motor, we heard great stories about emerging maritime companies that are gaining traction in the marketplace.
Watch the video of the 2020 Maritime Blue Showcase
Quite a few Zoom showcase attendees were investment managers, financial advisors and individual investors. It was gratifying to see this community take interest in maritime startups.
According to Craig Muska with Tilt Investment Management:
“Introducing a pipeline of promising companies is an important next step towards accelerating investment in the maritime sector. This showcase highlighted a unique mix of enterprises and social entrepreneurs with innovative business models.”
For the participating companies the event was a major milestone. According to Nicole Baker with Net Your Problem:
“I entered this Accelerator program as a marine biologist trying to do something good for the environment and muddling along as a businesswoman trying to make that happen. As a result of this Accelerator program, I now have goals, a growth strategy, know what my value proposition is and how to digitally market that to highlight my competitive advantage. You have all helped me transform my thinking and shape this business into something I am really proud of.”
Alexander Oki with Pure Watercraft was also grateful to participate in the Pacific Northwest’s first maritime accelerator:
“We've been inspired by our fellow entrepreneurs and their solutions to improve our industry, and are looking forward to working with them, Maritime Blue, the Port of Seattle, and other local leaders to build a cleaner, more accessible maritime sector for everyone."
Our hats are off to our inaugural class of Maritime Blue entrepreneurs. They reached new heights despite COVID-19 challenges and have a bright future. Stay tuned as we profile participating companies in this year’s Maritime Blue innovation accelerator.
- Read about the participants in the Maritime Blue Innovation Accelerator
- Learn more about Washington Maritime Blue
- Advancing a Sustainable Blue Economy by Port Commissioner Fred Felleman