EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE | Tue Sep 10 12:41:00 EDT 2013

American Chemical Society presidential symposium: Innovation and entrepreneurship

Note to journalists: Please report that this research was presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

A press conference on this topic will be held Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 12:45 p.m. in the ACS Press Center, Room 211 in the Indiana Convention Center. Reporters can attend in person or access live audio and video of the event and ask questions at www.ustream.tv/channel/acslive.

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 10, 2013 — An historic shift is occurring in traditional innovation in chemistry —  which touches more than 96 percent of all the world’s manufactured goods — away from large companies and toward smaller entrepreneurs and startups. Amid that new landscape for transforming ideas and inventions into goods and services, the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, today hosts a special symposium on innovation and entrepreneurship.

The event is part of the ACS’ 246th National Meeting & Exposition, which continues through Thursday in the Indiana Convention Center and downtown hotels. Thousands of scientists and others are expected for the meeting, which features almost 7,000 reports on new discoveries in science and other topics.

“We have entered an era unlike any previous time in the history of chemistry innovation,” said Marinda Li Wu, Ph.D., ACS president. The symposium is one of Wu’s special presidential events at the meeting. “Small businesses and entrepreneurs may now hold the key to new discoveries needed to help chemistry solve the great global challenges facing society in the 21st century. They also may be the key to generating new job opportunities for chemists and scientists in related fields in the United States.”

Wu pointed out that development of a new idea is just the first step for prospective entrepreneurs. Commercializing that product or process, however, requires a whole new set of skills and knowledge that include navigating patent and intellectual property laws, leveraging venture capital, deciphering export trade and tax laws and managing a business.

To address these challenges, ACS launched the ACS Entrepreneurial Initiative, a support network for entrepreneurs starting new businesses, in March 2012. The initiative was formed in response to a 2011 ACS Presidential Task Force, which investigated ways the chemical enterprise could stimulate economic growth in the United States. The report, “Innovation, Chemistry and Jobs,” can be found at www.acs.org/CreatingJobs.

The ACS Entrepreneurial Initiative includes the Entrepreneurial Training Program, which offers a 30-hour course on turning an innovative idea into a business. It also includes the Entrepreneurial Resources Center, which provides help to select entrepreneurs in the chemical sciences to foster the creation of small companies and startups. Wu discussed the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in fostering progress and prosperity in an article, “Partners for Progress and Prosperity,” in Chemical & Engineering News, ACS’ weekly news magazine.

Speakers at today’s symposium will discuss the initiative, lessons learned from personal experiences as innovators and entrepreneurs, and other topics. Abstracts of their presentations appear below.

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The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.