Denise Kay had never been an entrepreneur. But that didn't prevent her or her work colleague and friend Meng Wang from combining their joint expertise in the clean-tech industry to start a new company.
Their goal was not small. The Michigan State University Ph.D. alums wanted to create a business committed to tackling one of the most pressing environmental issues worldwide. The result was Enspired Solutions LLC, launched in 2021. The firm is housed in the Spartan Innovations small business incubator located on MSU's campus in East Lansing, Mich.
Led by environmental toxicologists Kay and Wang, Enspired Solutions is narrowly focused on providing equipment and technology to help destroy PFAS — perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — in water.
So far, Enspired Solutions has raised $3 million in seed funding, and Key hopes to grow its staff from five to nearly 15 employees by the end of 2023.
As part of Spartan Innovations, Enspired Solutions is supported by the MSU Innovation Center, which also backs an array of business and community partnerships with the potential for commercial success. Since 2018, Spartan Innovations has invested in 47 startups like Enspired Solutions with more than $4.3 million in combined funding, according to Spartan Innovations Project Coordinator Nichole Maguire. Other companies include Portera Technologies and Cogrounded.