Some of the winners of competitive dancing and singing television shows go on to have amazing careers. What about the winners we seldom hear from again?
If you are a winner of the B.I.G.* or Business Ideas Gone Wild Competition, the “winning” is only the start of the help available to you to ‘make it’ in the innovations’ market. Jason Gabler, of St. Marys, has been on the ‘fast track’ since he was announced as the grand prize winner of the second annual Competition at the banquet held Nov. 9, 2010. His innovation surfaced as the best of the 50 ideas submitted, as determined by a group of independent judges selected from regional companies, businesses, and social service agencies.
You have the prize money and the access to partner services as the winner of the Competition, but what does that mean. “The money is great” said Jason, “but the opportunities made available through the partner services are the difference between having a winning idea and having an idea that is going to advance through all of the steps needed to make it a viable consumer product.”
Sally Moran, Technology Transfer Coordinator at Penn State DuBois and John Weible, Business Development Coordinator for North Central PA Regional Planning and Development, met with Jason shortly after the Competition ended to determine which partner services would be the ‘best fit’ for him and his innovation – a ground-based chimney cleaner. “A meeting with Corry Riley, Clarion SBDC, led to consultation with the Bucknell Small Business Development Center and possible patent support and engineering assistance. A contact was made with a patent attorney, Jonathan D’Silva of MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton LLP, to explore patents, copyrights, and trademarks.” indicated Moran. “Additional Penn State resources were brought into play and Jason will participate in a Smeal College of Business honors finance course in spring. During the semester, the class will design a strategic business plan for Jason’s invention.”
“The Learning Factory at Penn State will also offer engineering advice to ensure that the idea is refined and developed to be maximally suitable for use with a wide range of chimney sizes and styles.” according to Moran. “Depending upon the outcomes of the Learning Factory evaluation and the report from the students in the Smeal College of Business, North Central Regional Planning and Development and/or the Innovation Lab at Penn State DuBois could be involved in the next round of endeavors with the chimney cleaner idea.”
“The flurry of activity doesn’t stop there!” according to Weible. “Vision Creative Group, from Punxsutawney, has already developed a points’ list to be addressed as the results of current activities become available. The major points involve logo development, selection of a catchy, consumer-oriented name for the product, packaging design – including the development of a bi-lingual instruction sheet – and website formation.”
“The NWIRC (Northwest Industrial Resource Center) will employ the Quick Hit product profiles to collect marketing data and determine an appropriate business model for the product along with the formation of a launch strategy.” adds Weible.
Gabler, Moran and Weible agree that the “best is yet to come” as they move forward on the chimney cleaner innovation. As Gabler states, “The resources available in the area are tremendous. You do not have to win B.I.G. to get help in advancing your invention.”
If you have an innovation/invention that could have consumer appeal, but need some help to move it from idea to product, contact Sally Moran at 814-375-4803 or John Weible at 814-371-1506 to review assistance available to you.