Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) January 05, 2015
The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) is the recipient of a two-year, $250,000 grant that will support the development of an online business-to-business product called The Open Nomenclature Process for Organizing Interpersonal Networks and Technology (ON_POINT B2B).
ON_POINT will enhance the existing Manufactured in North Carolina (MNC) program, which was launched in 2011. MNC provides more than 1,000 small, rural manufacturers with tools and resources including a free web presence and expert content creation using SEO best practices for increased exposure. ON_POINT will introduce active network elements, including a chat feature and a “Concierge” service, which will help clients identify and characterize the markets, trends, value chains and competitors of interest to them. The enhanced program will allow small and mid-sized manufacturers to scout for real-time business opportunities, identify prospective buyers for their products, and develop and localize their supply chains.
“ON_POINT will help level the playing field for North Carolina’s small and mid-sized manufacturers,” says Dr. Terri Helmlinger Ratcliff, Executive Director of the NC State University Industrial Extension Service (IES), which administers the NCMEP. “This tool will allow business to be conducted with the speed, agility and tech savvy necessary for success in today’s marketplace.”
The grant was awarded by the US Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It was one of ten grants given to Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers across the country. All of the grants will support pilot projects that build or enhance business-to-business networks.
“The infrastructure created by ON_POINT will help promote technology transfer, but it will go far beyond that,” says Fiona Baxter, IES Associate Executive Director of Knowledge Management. “It will also help commercialize environmentally focused materials, increase energy efficiency, and even train new employees.”
NCMEP is the NIST-MEP center for North Carolina. NCMEP provides manufacturing extension services that enhance productivity, innovative capacity and technological performance, and strengthen the global competitiveness of North Carolina’s small and mid-sized manufacturers. NCMEP links IES and its manufacturing partners to a network of national expertise and suppliers, creating a hub of innovation and knowledge for the state.
Since 2008, NCMEP has delivered services resulting in $1.6 billion in reported economic impact, making a significant difference in the continuing economic recovery of North Carolina. Clients reported that NCMEP services led to a 28 percent increase in sales—valued at nearly $69 million—and to the creation of nearly 1300 jobs in 2013 alone.
Development of ON_POINT is slated to begin in January of 2015.