I was first introduced to Karen Sorber, CEO of Micronics Technologies, when I facilitated the USDA CATP workshop in DC in March of 2015. Karen was an eager, passionate, expressive participant, frequently interrupting the presenters to make sure she could extract nuggets that were practical and applicable to her company. Then we selected her to present at the Ag Showcase in 2015, at which she was quite a hit, both stylistically and substantively.
Since then, I have been an advocate and a mentor, engaging with her in strategy sessions, making introductions, giving her sometimes unsolicited advice, and seeing her push, against one set of odds and another. Typical of the most driven entrepreneurs, Karen and her team at Micronics are convinced and convincing: their MicroDesal technology is able to remove from waste water total dissolved solids, suspended solids, bacteria and heavy metals in one pass, without chemicals, filters or membranes and turn it into potable water. She has been on a tear ever since, and has level of focus and discipline that marks the best entrepreneurs. Virginia Business recognized this in her, and did a well-received profile on the company.
So we at Larta are not in the least surprised that Karen’s company was one of four companies (out of a hundred from 23 countries) selected in an Open Innovation Challenge led by General Electric and Statoil of Norway. “With over one hundred applicants, we are one of four companies proud to have the opportunity to further our relationship with these industry giants. This puts the Company on a new map to commercialization,” she told us.
The four winners were selected based on the degree of innovation, technically feasibility and commercial viability of their proposals. Each winner will be awarded an initial cash prize of $25,000 USD.
Karen tells me that I have been her “best mentor” and that I inspire confidence and provide “great advice.” I’m flattered, of course, but my satisfaction comes from witnessing great outcomes. This is one entrepreneur who is going to invent and reinvent herself and her company for a long time!