In the early 1990s there was no serious international organisation devoted to the commercial exploitation of micro-nanotechnologies which were at the time relatively new.

After a conference on Commercialisation of Microsystems held in Banff, Canada in 1994, a small group of international players decided to initiate a series of follow up conferences that later became known as COMS.

A second well-attended conference sponsored by The US Engineering Foundation (EF) and the Semiconductor Equipment and Material International (SEMI) was held in Hawaii in 1996.  After the conference a decision was made to form the Micro and Nanotechnology Commercialisation Education Foundation (MANCEF) to manage COMS conferences and promote the commercialisation of small technologies. MANCEF was officially incorporated on 26 December 2000 in Florida USA as a not-for-profit foundation with a President and Board of Directors.

Before MANCEF, the commercialization of MNTs was hindered because the community did not fully understand how to leverage small technologies. MANCEF was the first international organization to bring together the various players to expedite commercialisation through its COMS conferences. They provide a meeting place and a platform for researchers, practitioners, manufacturers, suppliers, funders, investors, educationalists and government representatives to come together to share knowledge on the latest developments in emergent technologies with the aim of accelerating commercialisation and exploring paths to the global market. Above all else, MANCEF and COMS facilitate networks that help to create awareness, economic development, new business and employment opportunities.