A Silica Success Story – How a Business Plan Competition Helped Make a Green Dream Come True
SioTeX is transforming the specialty silica industry. The Texas-based company manufactures a specialty silica product called Eco-Sil™, a green alternative to fumed silica that is safer and more sustainable. It is manufactured using rice hulls, a renewable resource and uses less energy to produce (how cool is that?!). Eco-Sil can be used in many industrial and household products, such as paints, plastics and tires.
SioTeX was founded in 2013 on the idea of commercializing a technology developed by Dr. Haoran Chen in the Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization PhD Program at Texas State University. Dr. Chen formed the team which includes Marcus Goss, COO, Ash Kotwal, VP of Manufacturing, Lisa Taylor, VP of Sales & Marketing and George Steinke, CEO. The team started by entering multiple business plan competitions to scale up and make their green dream come alive. The key competition for them was the annual ACS Green Chemistry Institute’s Business Plan Competition held at the annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference (GCandE), where they received the grand prize of $10,000. The competition is the only one devoted to green chemistry and engineering which aligns with SioTeX’s energy-efficient production and objective of transforming the specialty silica industry through the use of sustainable manufacturing.
Winning the GCandE business plan competition enabled them to establish meaningful relationships with industry, academic, and green chemistry and engineering representatives, as well as gain funding for their budding business. The SioTeX team said “other than receiving the Grand Prize, their favorite part of the business plan competition was helping the Green Chemistry Institute raise awareness about green chemistry and engineering through the crowd funding aspect of the competition.” SioTeX has lots of plans for the rest of 2015 including producing more samples of Eco-Sil and increasing sales.
Do you have a green idea to enter the 2015 ACS Green Chemistry Institute Business Plan Competition?
Enter by March 31, 2015 for a chance to win tens of thousands of dollars and expert advice to start your green business at http://www.gcande.org/program/business-plan-competition/
By Cheryl Brown, ACS Green Chemistry Institute