On May 19-20, 2015, the NanoBusiness Commercialization Association (NanoBCA) held its 2015 DC Roundtable. The National Economic Council (NEC) and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) invited participants to attend a May 20, 2015, White House Forum on Small Business Challenges to Commercializing Nanotechnology. During the forum, participants discussed small business challenges to commercializing nanotechnology, with an emphasis on how private-sector led collaborations and partnerships (including public-private partnerships) can help overcome those challenges. Lynn L. Bergeson attended the Roundtable on behalf of the innovation community. Questions addressed during the forum included how the use of nanotechnology as a component of a much larger value-add system has impacted the thinking of nanotechnology commercialization. According to Bergeson, the nanotech industry would benefit from enhanced technological literacy within the federal family to keep face with the rapid speed of innovation. Bergeson also noted the need for greater sharing of information among the federal regulatory community to help ensure greater awareness of innovation and the application of governance frameworks to products of innovation requiring federal reviews of one form or another.
In recognition of the importance of nanotechnology research and development, representatives from companies, government agencies, colleges and universities, and non-profits announced a series of new and expanded public and private initiatives that complement the Obama Administration’s efforts to accelerate the commercialization of nanotechnology and expand the nanotechnology workforce. NanoBCA announced that it is partnering with Venture for America and working with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote entrepreneurship in nanotechnology. Three companies (PEN, NanoMech, and SouthWest NanoTechnologies) are offering to support the NSF’s Innovation Corps program with mentorship for entrepreneurs-in-training and, along with three other companies (NanoViricides, mPhase Technologies, and Eikos), will partner with Venture for America to hire recent graduates into nanotechnology jobs, thereby strengthening new nanotech businesses while providing needed experience for future entrepreneurs.