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First-In-Nation Conference Addresses Underrepresented Innovators

 

 

CLEVELAND, OH – The nation’s first Minority Biomedical Entrepreneurship Conference (MBEC) will convene May 21-22 in Cleveland.  MBEC offers a unique platform for minority professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, students and industry leaders to engage, network, collaborate and exchange ideas.  

 

Minorities represent less than 5 percent (1) of the growing biomedical industry workforce, and a fraction of that number engages in entrepreneurial endeavors.  To address the issue of underrepresentation, and to increase minority competitiveness in the biomedical industry, The America21 Project, a minority innovation and competitiveness initiative, and BioEnterprise, a biomedical business accelerator, partnered to create MBEC.  The intent is to hold the conference annually.

 

Keynoting the conference is Dr. Frank Douglas, President of the Austen BioInnovation Institute and former Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Aventis.  A national steering committee of Hispanic and African-American leaders in the biomedical industry – including Guy Fish, Vice President Fletcher Spaght Ventures (Boston); Ron Foy, Managing Director Cambria Capital (San Francisco); and Marisa Trevino, Founder Latina Lista (Dallas) – guide the conference mission and direct the agenda.   A nationally-recognized speaker line-up – including Dr. William L. Daley, Vice President Business Development & Licensing, U.S. Medical Affairs, Sanofi (New Jersey); and Monica Sturgis, HR Business Partner, Boehringer-Ingelheim (Cleveland) – complete an inspired conference agenda.  

 

“Cleveland, with its rapidly growing biomedical industry and nationally recognized research, clinical and educational institutions, is the ideal location for the first-ever Minority Biomedical Entrepreneurship Conference,” said Baiju R. Shah, President and CEO of BioEnterprise and Co-Chair of MBEC.  “The entrepreneurial environment is one that embraces and provides an unparalleled support network to biomedical innovators.”    

 

The Minority Biomedical Entrepreneurship Conference tackles many challenges minorities face in the biomedical industry. Attendees will be offered mentoring opportunities with industry leaders and investors, entrepreneurship education, and practical advice on starting and growing a biomedical company. Entrepreneurs looking for funding are afforded the opportunity to present before a group of seasoned biomedical investors.

 

“The underrepresentation of African Americans and Latinos in the biomedical industry undermines national economic competitiveness,” said Johnathan Holifield, a co-founder of The America21 Project and co-chair of MBEC. “MBEC confronts the problem by bringing minority entrepreneurs together with industry veterans and investors for mentoring, networking and education.”

To view the complete conference agenda and register, visit http://www.minoritybiomedical.org. 

 

About The America21 Project:

 

America21, the first and only national voice for accelerating the growth of African American and Latino American prosperity through increased innovation capacity and economic competitiveness, has partnered with innovation ecosystem leadership organizations to seed Inclusive Competitiveness in Northeast Ohio and is similarly partnering with other regional innovation-based economic development organizations in additional urban regions, including Portland OR and Pittsburgh, PA. To learn more about The America21 Project, visit www.blackinnovation.org.

 

About BioEnterprise:

 

BioEnterprise is a business formation, recruitment, and acceleration effort designed to support the growth of bioscience companies. Located in Cleveland, BioEnterprise provides management counsel and support services to health care companies.  

 

BioEnterprise partners are Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Summa Health System, and the BioInnovation Institute in Akron.  Additional technology partners include the NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland State University, NorTech, and BioOhio.  The initiative comprises the collective activities of BioEnterprise and its partners’ commercialization offices:  the Case Office of Technology Transfer, Cleveland Clinic Innovations, University Hospitals Case Medical Center – Center for Clinical Research and Summa Enterprise Group.  The combined efforts of these groups has created, recruited, and accelerated more than 100 companies in nine years.

For more information see www.bioenterprise.com.   

 

(1) Diversity in Academic Biomedicine: An Evaluation of Education and Career Outcomes with Implications for Policy, Donna K. Ginther, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Kansas, September 22, 2009.

 

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