The Enterprise Center Reinvents Y-12 Innovation Competition

Friday, November 8, 2013

At the third-annual Y-12 Innovation Competition on Dec. 6, The Enterprise Center is making available technology developed at Y-12 National Security Complex to regional teams to create beta products and develop business plans in competition for cash and prizes, including startup business assistance.

To encourage Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial growth, The Enterprise Center has partnered with Y-12 National Security Complex for the past three years to host a business plan competition. This year, The Enterprise Center is upping the stakes. Not only will the intellectual property under development at Y-12 be revealed, as in years past, but regional competitors will be able to actually use the software from the Department of Energy’s technology portfolio as they flesh out their new business concepts.

“Giving participants the workable software developed at Y-12 further grounds this competition in reality instead of hypotheticals,” said Chris Daly, director of The Enterprise Center’s Office of Technology Development and Transfer.

Available to all entrepreneurs, web designers and software developers throughout the region, the competition is for those interested in developing a beta of a commercially-viable product or business concept. Participants take existing software from Y-12's portfolio and develop a business plan around them, creating entirely new enterprises. The full technology portfolio up for grabs to competition entrants can be viewed at http://techportal.eere.energy.gov/lab/Y12/browse. While competitors may develop a business plan around any Y-12 technology, the competition will be focused around two pieces of logistics software – IR3AM and EVALUATE.

Extreme Value Analytical Logic Utilized for Advanced Trend Examination, or EVALUATE for short, analytically evaluates a group’s characteristics to determine the group’s behavior. The intended use of EVALUATE is to predict when a change in behavior is beginning to occur so that the software users, be they policy makers, marketers, security personnel, etc., can respond to the anticipated new trend in a timely manner.

The Integrated Route, Risk, Resource, Analysis and Allocation Model, otherwise known as IR3AM, is a decision support and probability-based analysis tool that will evaluate transportation over a selected time interval and determine the allocation of resource and manpower assets to best alleviate risk. The logistics software has the ability to show where resources are needed and where those resources should be directed for more efficient response time.

“Seeing the software we’ve developed demonstrated for commercial use is a great step forward in our quest to realize our technologies’ full potential as viable, market-ready consumer products,” said Jeremy Benton, Y-12 National Security Complex’s commercialization and partnerships manager.

The newly-revamped competition will come to a head at the finale pitch event held at the Business Development Center on Friday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. At the event, competition participants will receive feedback on their business models from The Enterprise Center and a panel of experts. The ultimate winning team will receive $2,500 in cash and additional business assistance for the development of a potential startup company. The Enterprise Center will work closely with the winners to facilitate the technology licensing process with Y-12 and provide favorable option terms. In addition, the Business Development Center will offer free access to the Gig Lab conference room and tele-presence capability to the winning team, while they prepare to launch their new business.

Dr. Greg Laudeman, who has a startup in development, saw last year’s competition as an opportunity to talk through his business concept, getting feedback on his idea and meeting key contacts along the way. At the moment, he is in the final stages of building relationships with charter customers and developing an interactive web application before his startup’s launch.

“The Enterprise Center has been a great help in connecting me with resources, acting as a sounding board and providing moral support and encouragement, all of which are critical when you’re trying to get a startup off the ground,” said Dr. Laudeman.

This year’s Y-12 Innovation Competition is open to the public free-of-charge, but seating is limited, so attendees must reserve a seat in advance. For those interested in participating on a competition team or attending the event, contact Christi Doll at The Enterprise Center’s Office of Technology Development and Transfer at 423 425-3772 or doll_c@theenterprisectr.org.


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