In the rapidly growing energy sector, the need to grow, scale, adapt, and sustain is vital– before a company’s next step, it is best to plan, and ensure growth is happening in the right direction.
Compact Membrane Systems, or CMS, has always had a clear mission: to develop solutions that make it feasible and affordable to remove gigatons of cumulative CO2 from the atmosphere. Their approach is practical, immediate, and cost-effective, ensuring a low-risk path toward decarbonization. Using advanced membrane technology, CMS initially introduced bolt-on applications in petrochemical plants. This technology, developed and perfected in their 10,000 sq ft lab in Wilmington, Delaware, significantly reduces energy usage and offers a smaller environmental footprint than existing separation technologies.
What sets CMS apart is its commitment to addressing the environmental challenges in a way that aligns with economic viability - its solutions extend to various point source carbon capture applications, including industries like steel, cement, and chemicals, making it possible to create essential materials while preserving the planet. Even with a strong business foundation, CEO Erica Nemser saw opportunities to grow and succeed right here in Delaware – she sought out an SBDC expert in growing commercializing businesses and facilitating success. With the proper funding, connections, relationships, and secured lab space, Compact Membrane Systems could – quite literally – change the world.
"The Delaware SBDC has assisted our business with fundraising, learning about opportunities in the Delaware ecosystem, and finding lab space when moving facilities. The SBDC has been instrumental in helping us with fundraising and navigating the Delaware ecosystem."
When Nemser reached out to the Delaware Small Business Development Center for support, she was matched with Delaware Technology Park President and SBDC Director Mike Bowman, who established a home base for Nemser and her company to forge pivotal relationships, establish and transition to a lab at Delaware Technology Park, and begin to raise funds to carry forward.
Compact Membrane Systems leaned on SBDC Advising to ensure they could raise capital – and raise capital, they did. Preparing to speak with or present to investors, positioning the company as an ndustry leader, and establishing working relationships with pivotal partners paid off with an (almost) unbelievable Series A funding round that secured $16.5 Million for the company.
Bowman and Nemser worked closely through Advising sessions and connections to integral resources to scale up the business and make connections - helping CMS navigate the local business ecosystem; the SBDC opened doors to valuable opportunities that might have otherwise remained unknown to CMS.
In Erica Nemser's own words, "The SBDC has been instrumental in helping us with fundraising and navigating the Delaware ecosystem." This quote beautifully encapsulates the profound impact that the SBDC has had on CMS's success story.
In the early stages of Droneversity, Ashlee Cooper, MLS(ASCP) faced the challenge of bridging the gap between educational innovation and workforce development. Transitioning from her microbiology career, she envisioned using aerial drones as an academic and engagement strategy for communities across Delaware. Recognizing the potential of drones across diverse industries, the challenge lay in introducing children to aviation while preparing youth and adults for the Federal Aviation Exam. A critical hurdle was the shortage of certified uncrewed aircraft pilots, particularly in Delaware.
Cooper began to dive into business development – with a great idea, and an acute awareness of the inequities in aviation and technology sectors, she began to build. As she progressed in business, her team needed to scale along with her brand, and Droneversity was on the hunt for opportunities to grow.
"[The] SBDC and my counselor Audrey Scott, in particular, have been invaluable. The assistance has resulted in a clear mission, business plan and increased networking that has furthered Droneversity's outreach. Droneversity would not be where it is today without the SBDC!"
The Delaware Small Business Development Center (SBDC), through advisor Audrey Scott-Hynson, jumped in to help understand Cooper’s plan for growth. Advising sessions provided invaluable assistance with grant applications, identifying funding opportunities, and establishing connections with key resource partners throughout the state. The strategic guidance from the SBDC not only brought business acumen to the table but complimented Droneversity's mission. With Cooper’s hard work, dedication, and some SBDC guidance, this business could jump into action at pitch competitions, apply to significant grant opportunities, and build the network necessary to align educational entertainment with the practical demands of over 20 industries utilizing drones.
We run your beach gear. You enjoy your beach vacation. What an incredible vision – to ease the burden of lugging beach gear and elevate beach trips, making them more enjoyable for every visitor to Bethany. As locals, Shannon and Julie knew that the challenge lay in transforming this vision into a thriving business, providing hassle-free beach gear transportation, setup, and cleanup services. This was the birth of Beach Runners, a venture aimed at enhancing the beach experience for everyone in Bethany. Establishing a new business, especially down by the beaches, was not easy, though – with competitors aplenty, entrepreneurs benefit from having a plan, an excellent understanding of their target audience, and a team to lean on when the business is growing.
"The SBDC has helped me with every step of the way from opening my business, to which type of insurance is best for my company. They can find the answer to just about any question you have. Lissette has been with me from the very beginning, offering guidance and support at every turn. Her knowledge of the industry, connections, and willingness to go the extra mile has been invaluable."
Enter Lisette Cabrera-Galloza, an advisor from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). She played a pivotal role in the genesis of Beach Runners, providing Shannon with crucial start-up assistance. With Lisette's expert guidance, advising sessions ranged from business planning to insurance recommendations, offering a comprehensive foundation for Beach Runners to jump into action. Shannon highlights Lisette's unwavering support and describes her as a constant source of guidance, expressing thanks for the SBDC and all it has to offer new entrepreneurs.
Today, Beach Runners is a testament to the successful fusion of entrepreneurship and well-executed vision. The business seamlessly handles the logistics of beach gear, from pickup to setup and cleanup, allowing visitors to focus on enjoying their time in Bethany. The convenience offered by Beach Runners has not only made beach vacations less stressful but has also contributed to reducing seaside parking congestion. Shannon and Julie hoped to encourage visitors to fall in love with Bethany Beach, and their business does just that.