Monday, August 29, 2011

Legal Insights for Entrepreneurs: Non-Compete Agreements

This is the second in a multipart series of legal tips for entrepreneurs.  A non-compete agreement is designed to prevent an employee from working for a competitor for a period of time after his/her employment ends with the current employer.  Many emerging companies require their key employees to sign non‑compete agreements.  This seems to  make perfect sense as the best way to protect your business.   However, as a public policy, courts generally disfavor non-compete agreements because they effectively limit the capability of the employee to find another job.  Therefore, special attention should be given to the drafting of any non-compete agreement to promote its enforceabilityRead more on non-compete agreements

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Noise-D-Fence Silences Sound

Noise pollution, is often viewed as a nuisance than a true problem. Yet evidence suggests that overexposure to loud noise can impact human and wildlife health. Noise has been cited as a causal factor in certain ailments from sleep disturbance to hypertension. In the U.S. , laws regulate the levels of permissible highway noise. If noise levels exceed certain thresholds, noise abatement measures must be taken.

Paragon Noise Barriers, Inc. has designed, developed and currently manufactures a revolutionary noise barrier product called Noise D-Fence™. Although concrete walls can be utilized as sound barriers along highways, they do nothing to absorb sound. Sound reflects off the concrete and continues to bounce off of all other non-absorbing material. Noise D-Fence™ reduces sound by 75%. Noise D Fence with 40% of the product made from recycled materials also has a light weight construction, resulting in lower transportation costs. Both these factors, not only result in less noise pollution but a lower
environmental impact. More about noise barriers at at

Learn more about Noise D-Fence at the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce Tech Briefing on September 15 at 8:00 a.m .  For more details about the Tech Briefing:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bridging the digital divide; Winston-Salem church to open WinstonNet computer lab

Janis Walker is ready to become more digitally savvy. At Whole Man Ministries, a church on Old Lexington Road in southeastern Winston-Salem, Walker recently put herself on the list for an eight-week basic computer course. "My grandsons have a touch-screen phone and they've showed it to me. I have some computer skills, but I haven't been around them for 10 years, and I want to refresh myself," said Walker, 63. That's the idea, said Kenneth Holly, a minister at the church.

The church's Bridging the Gap Community Center is accepting up to 25 people such as Walker for the basic computer course. The start date has not been set, but the course will begin next month, Holly said. Participants who complete the course will be eligible to buy a computer for as little as $25. Read more.

The program is part of an initiative by WinstonNet Inc. and other nonprofit organizations to bridge the digital divide. For information, click here. To enroll in a class, call 336-703-4138.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chamber Announces Presenters for Its 10th Annual Technology Briefing

The Technology Council of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the companies who will present at 10th Annual Technology Briefing on September 15, 8:00 a.m. at the Benton Convention Center. The 2011 presenters are: Cook Medical; NanoMedica; OnceLogix; Paragon Noise Barriers; SkinDeep FX; Small Footprint/Treks in the City; Stantec; Verbal Victor; and Virginia Tech/WFU School of Biomedical Engineering.

The Technology Briefing is free to attend and open to the public, though registration is required at

For the first time ever, this year’s Technology Briefing will open the Chamber’s Triad Business and Innovation Expo, an annual tradeshow that features almost 200 local business exhibitors and attracts over 2,000 visitors.

Presented by Cook Medical, the Technology Briefing is sponsored by Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, Targacept, and Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s Office of Technology Asset Management. Video production will be provided by Spotlight Media. Read More.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

NanoMedica to Present at Tech Briefing on September 15th

Doing more with less is frequently associated with corporate downsizing, budget cuts and many ramifications of the ailing economy.  How refreshing to find a company that is growing and innovating while doing more with less.  Winston-Salem based NanoMedica is an early stage biotechnology company focused on a reduction that everyone can appreciate… reducing the cost of drug discovery. Their mission is to help biopharmaceutical customers “discover more with less” – more useful compounds with less material, time and money. Useful compounds include new chemical probes of cellular function, ultrasensitive diagnostic reagents and target-directed molecules for studying and treating disease processes. Of particular interest are ligands (substance binding molecules) designed to specifically recognize and modulate cellular targets and pathways involved in the onset and progression of cancer. Their trademarked  “Lab-on-Bead™” technology allows nanoscale detection and characterization at the single-molecule level using thousands to millions of times less material than conventional methods – in short, discovering more with less™.
NanoMedica will present at the Chamber of Commerce Tech Briefing on September 15th.  The event will begin at 8 a.m at the Benton Convention Center.  Other technology companies presenting their latest ideas and innovations include:  Cook Medical; OnceLogix; Paragon Noise Barriers; SkinDeep FX; Small Footprint/Treks in the City; Stantec; Verbal Victor; and Virginia Tech/Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering.  For more information about the Tech Briefing:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Biotech Center Delivers $595,325 in Research Grants

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has issued $595,325 in Biotechnology Research Grants to eight scientists at seven North Carolina institutions. The grants, providing a maximum of $75,000, support novel research projects at academic and non-profit research institutions. Among the grants awarded was $73,074 to William Wagner, Ph.D. of Wake Forest University Health Sciences to develop a new material that can be absorbed by the body while closing cleft palates. Read more.

Lab-Grown Anal Sphincters

Researchers have built the first functional anal sphincters in the lab, suggesting a potential future treatment for both fecal and urinary incontinence. Made from muscle and nerve cells, the sphincters developed a blood supply and maintained function when implanted in mice. The results are reported in the medical journal Gastroenterology.

“In essence, we have built a replacement sphincter that we hope can one day benefit human patients. This is the first bioengineered sphincter made with both muscle and nerve cells, making it ‘pre-wired’ for placement in the body,” said senior author Khalil N. Bitar, Ph.D., a professor of regenerative medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Read more.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Number 10 Most Fun Affordable City in America, Winston-Salem!

Better Homes and Gardens Research Lifestyle Search conducted a study of  6100 plus zipcodes to identify 25 of the Most Fun and Affordable Cities in America.  They looked at places where the median house price fell within 20% of the state average and then looked at those zip codes with the most entertainment places such as bars and restaurants.  Our fair and technically savvy city ranked #10-- ahead of (can you believe it )Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Orlando, Florida.

Friday, August 12, 2011 FIRST - Science is Rock and Roll

An ABC special will be airing on SUNDAY, AUGUST 14 at 7 pm: FIRST - Science is Rock and Roll

Join in for a very cool look at FIRST Robotics with and The Black Eyed Peas. Learn what FIRST Robotics is doing to get kids excited about math and science.

Read more here....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Funding Competition for Entrepreneurs

PTP NEXT is a unique entrepreneurial development initiative led by a region-wide volunteer-driven organization of talented young leaders who are committed to the Piedmont Triad’s future economic vitality.

Through a highly competitive annual business competition, PTP NEXT, working in partnership with the Piedmont Triad Partnership and NC IDEA, identifies promising Piedmont Triad companies and provides access to grants and support.

Gina Stewart, co-founder of  Arctic Inc a company that develops environmentally friendly weed control using non-toxic frost, says this about the grant:  " NC IDEA’s crucial ‘first money in’ gives a vote of confidence to later investors, whether they are other granting agencies, angels, VCs or corporate partners. Creating an NC IDEA program for the Triad will stimulate entrepreneurial economic development." 
The online application launches on Monday August 15th and will close on September 9th.   Detailed info about eligibility and the review process is on the PTP NEXT website

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Register Now for COMS Micro-Nano Conference in Greensboro

Less than 3 weeks remain until the International Commercialization of Micro-Nano Systems (COMS) Conference -- August 28–31 at Grandover Resort in Greensboro, NC. Meet industry leaders from all over the world at this powerful event focused on accelerating commercialization activity among micro and nano businesses. Click here for details and registration.

Monday, August 8, 2011

CDI Receives Grant to Create a National Network of Diverse Expertise to Support Innovation

The Center for Design Innovation (CDI) has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a national Network of Excellence for Science, Engineering, Arts and Design.

CDI will receive $43,493 to work with Texas A&M University and the Maryland Institute College of Art over the next few months to bring together researchers and research practices that bridge computer science, engineering and creativity. The effort follows prior meetings funded by NSF in which researchers considered methods for interdisciplinary work and its potential for innovation and education. Read more.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Is Your Password Protected?

How many different passwords do you have for all those websites, online accesses and other internet places that require not just a user name but also a password?  Would it surprise you to learn that the most common password is 123456?  Probably not but how does Qwerty make the top 20 list? 

Deadline Nears for Cook Medical Innovation Award!

Just over a week left to submit your nominations for the Cook Medical Innovation Award. Send us your ideas now! Deadline is August 15.

Details and submission information here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Becoming an Investor Ready Entrepreneur

About twenty-five eager current and would be entrepreneurs gathered at the Worrell Center at WFU to learn from a panel of experts and a team of dynamic lecturers. The topic: “Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur” was presented by the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, The SBTDC (Small Business Technology Development Center), NC Bionet, IMAF(Inception Microangel Fund) and North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

The group was welcomed by Bill Parrish from the SBTDC presenting an animated short of a toy airplane attempting its first maiden flight. He compared that experience to starting up a new venture. Attendees were taken through a fourteen module session covering such important topics as the funding landscape, what is the big idea and will it attract investors, how to present to investors and how to value your company. Each module consisted of a fifteen minute discussion with visual aids , an opportunity to ask the panel of entrepreneurial experts questions and a host of links on where to go for more information on the subject.
Tim Janke from IMAF told participants their chances for getting funding. Aabout 1 in 100 ideas actually receive funds. The audience learned what industry sector has the most deals: Healthcare leads the funding, accounting for 30% of the deals down to retail and IT at 5% each. Attendees spanned a broad spectrum of industries and ideas from medical devices to medical services; from retail related services to green technology. Some attendees already had patents on their idea or product and one entrepreneur even had a prototype of his idea ready to share with the group.
Panelists shared their words of wit and wisdom with the audience. Patrick Kammer of C Change Surgical compared being unprepared for a pitch to a potential investor like a bad first date. “It’s unlikely you’ll be walking down the aisle in marriage after a bad first date” he said, implying that funding too would be unlikely after a poor first presentation. Jon Wilson of SpringMed said, “Make your competitor your friend” pointing out the benefits of competition (demonstrates market potential, provides a possible buyer/acquirer for your startup). Kip Johnson of Womble Carlyle indicated that he sees far too many “hockey sticks” for growth charts and would rather fund ventures that show upward but realistic growth curves. In that same vein, Lisa Ruckdeschel from SBTDC advised the audience to focus on bottom up sales projections versus top down. She indicated that it’s easy to assume one half one percent of the total market as a revenue projection but harder to come up with the number of sales calls, the number of products made, the number of customers needed to come up with that revenue.
Participants received a two inch thick binder with handouts of all the presentation materials, a glossary of investor and entrepreneur necessary terms and many places to jot notes and answer questions. The luncheon break featured guest entrepreneur Andy Chan,  former president and CEO of two entrepreneurial ventures--eProNet and MindSteps. The session concluded with a networking reception and opportunity to meet other SBTDC staff and panelists.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wake Forest Baptist and WFU Part of Nationwide Initiative to Hasten Development of Ultra High Speed Computer Networks

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Wake Forest University have joined research institutions from across the country in an effort to accelerate the deployment of ultra-high-speed computer networks in their communities.

The initiative – Gig.U, the University Community Next Generation Innovation Project – was launched today by 29 universities acting in partnerships with their local communities. Its goal is to promote the development of “next generation” networks in these communities in order to improve campus-community connectivity, drive economic growth and spur a new generation of innovations. Read more.