Together in Innovation: Opportunity is knocking – are you ready?

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Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and innovators, join us at our next Together in Innovation event, happening in person June 27, 9:30 a.m. - 1:10 p.m. ET at the Kennesaw State University Center in Kennesaw, Georgia. Get the inside scoop on the numerous resources available to startups and small businesses at every stage of your journey, from developing a product and protecting your intellectual property (IP), to creating a marketing strategy, securing funding, and scaling your company.  

Hear diverse perspectives from successful small businesses leaders who chose a less conventional path, licensing their products to generate new revenue, and grow their companies.  

We’re teaming up with the Small Business Administration (SBA), Department of Energy (DOE), Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Operation HOPE, and more to bring know-how and resources directly to you.  

Join us for a free continental breakfast, available from 9-11 a.m., to talk business with your fellow entrepreneurs! Food is being provided by a third party.

Register today


(Subject to change. All times ET)

9-11 a.m.


9:30-9:32 a.m. Welcome and program overview

Deepak Dashairya, Innovation Outreach Specialist, USPTO

NaThanya Ferguson, Director, Innovation Outreach Division, USPTO

9:32-9:40 a.m.Leadership greetings

Derrick Brent, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO

John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Operation HOPE

Terri Denison, District Director, Georgia Office, Small Business Administration (SBA)

Drew Tonsmeire, Area Director, University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

9:40-9:55 a.m. 

Signing of Memorandum of Understanding between USPTO and Operation HOPE

USPTO-Operation HOPE fireside chat

Derrick Brent, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO

John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Operation HOPE

Brian Betts, President and CFO, Operation HOPE

9:55-10:55 a.m.

Trademark basics: What every small business needs to know now

If you're a small business owner or entrepreneur looking to protect your brand and product identities, this is the session for you. Get an overview of the federal trademark registration process.

Kyle Ingram, Trademarks Customer Outreach Attorney, USPTO
10:55-11 a.m. 


11 a.m. to noon 

Opportunity is knocking: Are you ready?

Experts will share information about licensing opportunities available for small businesses to generate new revenue. Hear a firsthand success story from a company that used licensing to grow their business, including best practices and lessons learned.

Nakia Melecio, Senior Research Faculty, Georgia Tech Innovation Enterprise Institute; Principal, Venture Lab (moderator)

Awais Bajwa, Founder and CEO, Ophthalytics

Connie Casteel, SBIR/STTR Catalyst and Senior Extension Professional Research Faculty, Georgia Tech Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)

Dr. Edgar Garay, CEO and Founder, Falcomm

Dr. Ajay Houde, Co-Founder and CEO, Annoviant, Inc.

Jason Kroh, Chief Technology Officer, Strados Labs

Dr. Nordine Sebkhi, President and CEO, Kinemo

Kenneth Wright, CEO, Novacc, LLC


Noon to 12:05 p.m.


12:05- 1:05 p.m.

Show me the money!

Learn about SBA loan programs to help start, grow or expand your business. Find out about venture capital, crowdsourced funding, and alternative financing solutions.

Jeffrey Patterson, Supervisory Lender Relations Specialist, Small Business Administration (SBA)

Earl Camp, Vice President of Business Development, NOW Corp

Shahzad Chaudary, Atlanta Regional President, Wallis Bank

Marietta Murton, Commercial Lender, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs

Jena Roscoe, Senior Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy, Operation HOPE

Kim T. Tong, Vice President: Small Business Administration (SBA) Senior Business Development Officer, Bank of America

1:05-1:10 p.m. Closing and invitation to join networking sessionDeepak Dashairya, Innovation Outreach Specialist, USPTO
1:10-2:30 p.m.

Resources networking session

Come talk to an expert! We'll have IP, small business, and funding professionals on hand to share valuable resources answer your questions. Connect with funding experts and get access to capital to start or grow your business. 

USPTO staff

Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) staff

Staff from Small Business Administration (SBA) trusted partners:

  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
  • Women's Business Center (WBC)
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC)
  • APEX Accelerators
  • Georgia Tech

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and Department of Energy (DOE) grants and technical assistance staff

SBA lenders, micro-lenders, and commercial bank staff

Operation HOPE financial literacy staff


Speaker biographies

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers inspirational and educational events, open to all, that feature successful innovators from a wide variety of backgrounds. Come learn about intellectual property, innovation, and valuable resources available to independent inventors, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and underrepresented or underserved populations. Visit our Innovator events for everyone page to find out more. 

Together in Innovation is presented by the Office of Public Engagement, Innovation Outreach Division. For more information, please contact

The content and opinions shared by our guest speakers during this program are not those of the USPTO, nor an endorsement of any persons, products, programs, or policies mentioned therein.

Accessibility accommodation


If you are an individual with a disability and would like to request a reasonable accommodation, please submit your request to the contact information listed above.

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This event is part of a series: Advancing Equity, Together in Innovation