* A second upcoming contest will include West Virginia for the first time in the 2013-14 cycle.
TechConnect is helping to introduce the Shale Gas Innovation Contest to West Virginia businesses, inventors and entrepreneurs involved in the shale gas industry, thanks to support from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, in partnership with the INNOVA Commercialization Group, which works with companies to commercialize new products and technologies, and West Virginia University, which develops major energy research throughout the institution.
Originated by the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center in State College, Pa., the aim of the Shale Gas Innovation Contest is to identify and develop shale gas technologies that enhance responsible stewardship of the environment while creating high-paying jobs.
Contest applications cover the entire gamut of the shale gas play - from exploration and extraction technologies, environmental and safety products and service concepts to water- and wastewater- focused technologies, data management concepts, and multiple downstream gas and natural gas liquids utilization technologies.
This is the third year of the competition, but up to this point it has only been open to Pennsylvania-based entrants.
While the application process will open in November, now is the time to encourage our gas industry and our innovators to begin preparing their concepts.
More than $75,000 in prize money was awarded in this past year's competition during the final round on May 7.
For more information, or to see the twelve finalists from this year's contest, visit www.sgicc.org/index.html.
Both of these prizes offer exciting possibilities for new companies, bold innovations, and added job opportunities. They can be crucial drivers for positive change, providing benefits not only to the competitors, but also to society at large by offering new solutions and forging new partnerships for growth.
If you have an idea, or know someone who does, tell them about these upcoming events.
Let the ideas flow and the healthy competition begin.
Barth is executive director of TechConnect West Virginia - www.techconnectwv.org - a statewide economic development organization dedicated to fostering and promoting innovation-based businesses and entrepreneurial activities across West Virginia.