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Kimberly-Clark Announces Program to Fund Business Ideas from Entrepreneurial Moms

May 27, 2010 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Business, Inventor & Entrepreneur Updates 

Huggies, a Kimberly-Clark Company, launched its new site called last month.  This site was created to inspire business minded moms to submit new business ideas for the opportunity to receive up to $250,000 in capital and resources to bring their ideas to market.  While gathering new business ideas is the key focus of this outreach, strengthening relationships with its customers is also a projected result. 

Women entrepreneurs are increasingly populating the market with innovative business ideas.  According to research the National Association of Women Business Owners, 10.1 million firms are owned by women (50% or more), employing more than 13 million people, and generating $1.9 trillion in sales as of 2008.  Only a small percentage of these firms were funded with venture capital.  With the venture capital funding program that Kimberly-Clark is offering, entrepreneurial moms will be given opportunity to properly fund their business startups and legally protect their innovative ideas.  This may be the solution that many are looking for.It’s a win-win for both Kimberly-Clark and Momtrepreneurs.  So moms, get your ideas and submit them for your chance to turn your idea into a successful reality without tapping into your children’s college fund.  For more information on this opportunity, visit the Kimberly Clark website. 

First Five Steps for Inventor Entrepreneurs (Inventrapreneurs)

February 28, 2010 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Business, Inventor & Entrepreneur Updates, Patent Articles 

The term “inventrapreneur” (for purposes of this blog) means an inventor entrepreneur.  While one might think that an inventor implies an entrepreneur or vice versa, they are not the same.  An inventrapreneur is an inventor who actively screens ideas and does his/her homework on business feasibility.  Below are what I refer to as the “First Five Steps for Inventrapreneurs,” and these are, in part, derived from “The PDMA Handbook of New Product Development” edited by Kenneth B. Kahn (2006 Second Edition).  Note steps 2 through 5 do not necessarily address legal questions, rather they are targeted at the potential for commericialization.  This article is not meant to provide legal advice.  It is meant to educate the inventrapreneur that there are many steps in bringing a product to market and obtaning patent protection (and/or other intellectual property protection) are only part of the process.

1.  Idea Screening — ask whether this is a new idea, is it useful, and is it something with a Wow! Factor or something that is cheap (i.e., significantly reduces price paid by consumer).   This stage is often referred to as “the reason to believe”.  This step typically involves consultation with a patent attorney or patent agent to conduct a search to identify and understand your technology with your competitors’ technology.  There are two things that that inventrapreneur needs to know — is it something that can be protected with a patent and how crowded is the market with competing patents or other publicly disclosed technology.

2.  Initial Market Assessment — conduct a quick business feasibility and market study.  Planet Eureka’s Merwyn Report is one quick assessment, and Department of Commerce has previously provided grants for independent inventors.

3.  Preliminary Technical Assistance — conduct a technical appraisal that seeks to ask how much does it cost to manufacture, can it be done, and can it meet quality standards?

4.  Detailed Market Study, Market Research & Consumer Research — conduct some market research to identify your ideal consumer and conduct market research to get feedback on your invention before you go into production.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and it is better to get this data before spending more money.

5.  Business & Financial Analysis  — conduct a business model prior to development.  This is an area where SCORE volunteers can be very helpful (as well as some of the earlier points).

Try having some fun and think about the First Five Steps like entering and competing in a Science Fair.   One of the biggest differences in real life is that it costs money.  And, now for one of the biggest similarities, copycat inventions in real life are like getting caught with your big brother or big sister’s project that was presented several years earlier.

So, now all you inventrapreneurs, it’s time to go get started on your homework.   Happy Inventing & Incubating!

2010 Astrology Forecast for Inventors and Entrepreneurs

December 27, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Business, Inventor & Entrepreneur Updates 

For the fun of it . . . from Guest Columnist Spirit Hand (not an attorney)

What can inventors and entrepreneurs expect in 2010? The numerals that make up 2010 add up to 3 — 3 being the number of new growth, rebirth, and personal recreation, as well as an energy that promotes massive political, financial, military and societal changes with new paradigms of thought and social conduct.  Accordingly, 2010 should be an exciting year for innovation, start-up businesses and rejuvenation of existing businesses.  2010 hot innovative forecasts focus on “sustainable” machinery including green technology, energy, transportation, housing and construction, and oceanography.  

Pisces (Feb 19 – March 19) In mid January 2010, your sign moves into position to be the celestial favorite with many changes on the horizon.  For inventors and entrepreneurs the first half of 2010 is busy with creative opportunities and growth.  However, sometime during the middle of 2010, a partner or other close business colleague seeks to take control, and having the foresight to protect your creative contributions is extremely important.  By the end of 2010, there is additional stress in your business and it would be wise to take a proactive role or seek help to manage these stressful situations.  Famous Pisces: Michael Jackson (Entertainer), Kurt Cobain (Sun, Mercury, and Venus in Pisces), Albert Einstein (Physicist), George Harrison (Musician), Michelangelo (Artist, Scientist), Aidan Quinn (Actor), Dr. Seuss (Writer), Sharon Stone (Actress), and Elizabeth Taylor (Sun, Mercury, and Mars in Pisces).

Aries (March 20 – April 18) Finances should be improving by the middle of the year; however, your career and earnings continue to be on the sidelines for most of this year.  Opportunities present themselves for travel, with an old friend, or old partner.  2010 is an emotionally intense year for you.  Look to invest in your dreams and involve only those you trust to prepare for 2011.

Taurus (April 19 – May 19) Finances continue to be challenging, and it will be important for you to do something creative.  This creativity could be outside your career – as your family, home life and relationships are most important in 2010.  Stay true to yourself and follow through on your responsibilities.  You will want to work this year and next to strategically position yourself for 2012 which should be full of change, prosperity and personal accomplishment.  Famous Taurus: Charlotte Bronte (Writer), John Muir (Naturalist), Queen Elizabeth II (British Royalty), Immanuel Kant (Philosopher), Robert Oppenheimer (Physicist), Jack Nicholson (Actor), Leonardo da Vinci (Artist), Sergei Prokofiev (Composer), Barbara Steisand (Singer), Guglielmo Marconi (Scientist), Jack Schwartz (Psychic Healer), Ulysses S. Grant (President), Samuel Morse (Inventor), Hirohito (Japanese Royalty), Mehta Zubin (Conductor), Dr. Benj. Spock (Child Specialist), Bing Crosby (Singer), Sugar Ray Robinson (Sports Figure), Karl Marx (Revolutionary), Sigmund Freud (Psychologist), Orson Wells (Producer), Eva Perone (Dictator), Harry S. Truman (President), Karl Kraft (German Astrologer).

Gemini (May 20 – June 20) This is going to be a “fast forward” year with very little time for “re-play”.  It is important that you pay attention to details and follow up on responsibilities as there is very little time for you to correct mistakes if an opportunity presents itself.  Family, career, relationships, education, and partnerships all need you to reflect on values and ideals that have mattered most over the years.  While change is on the horizon, it is difficult to know how this will manifest.  Be careful of too much change.  Your finances tend to be strongest at the end of 2010, but require your attention.  Famous Gemini: Queen Victoria (British Royalty), George Washington Carver (Botanist, Inventor), Claudio Monteverdi, (Composer), Ralph Waldo Emerson (Writer), Gene Tunney (Pugilist), Bennet Cerf (Writer), Queen Mary (England Royalty), Henry Kissinger (Statesman), Bob Hope (Entertainer), John F. Kennedy (American President), Norman Vincent Peale (Clergyman), Clint Eastwood (Actor), Joe Namath (Sports Figure), George Bush (President), Anne Frank (Writer), I. Velikovsky (Writer), Judy Garland (Actress/Singer), Maurice Sendak (Children’s Author), F. Lee Bailey (Attorney), Jacques-Yves Costeau (Ocean Explorer), Gene Wilder (Actor), Joe Montana (Sports Figure).

Cancer (June 21 – July 21) Your artistic side is red hot in 2010 and you’ll want to protect your work as your family and friends could seek to take advantage of you.  Continuing to invest in and to grow an existing business should be worthwhile and provide much personal reward.  Famous Cancer: George Orwell (Writer), Ross Perot (Entrepreneur), Gilda Radner (Comedienne), Thurgood Marshall (Supreme Court Justice), Henry Thoreau (Writer), Nikola Tesla (Scientist), Arthur Ashe (Athlete), Georgio Armani (Designer), Sylvester Stallone (Actor), Robin Williams (Actor).

Leo (July 22 – August 21) The end of the first quarter of 2010 is your time to make yourself known at work and in the world.  Your creativity is wonderful in 2010, and you will find yourself doing a lot of behind the scenes work.  The middle of the year is a time of change and growth.  While finances are solid throughout 2010, new financial opportunities will come your way and you’ll want to build strategic agreements.  Famous Leo: James Gibbons (Ecclesiatic), Amelia Earhart (Pilot), Zelda Fitzgerald (Jazz Age Figure), David Belasco (Producer), Florence Entwhistle (Photographer), George B. Shaw (Writer), Karl G. Jung (Psychiatrist), Andre Maurois (Writer), Aldous Huxley (Writer), Estes Kefauver (Politician), Mick Jagger (Musician), Dorothy Hamill (Sports Figure), William Hamilton (Scientist), Ernie Pile (Journalist), Dolores del Rio (Actress), Napoleon (Emperor), Sri Aurobindo (Religious Leader), Menachem Begin (Prime Minister), Princess Anne (Royalty). Rose Marie Guy (Comedienne), T.E. Lawrence (Adventurer), G. Demaupassant (Writer), Sydney Omarr (Astrologer), Andy Warhol (Artist), Neil Armstrong (Astronaut), Patrick Swayze (Actor).  Cocoa Channel (Designer).

Virgo (August 22 – September 21) This year, you will continue to grow in your profession with opportunities for others to nurture or mentor you.  However, work will be intense and stressful throughout most of 2010.  If you feel a bit over your head, take time to meditate and find balance with your home life and career.  Decisions you make now will likely have lasting impacts and are worth careful consideration.

Libra (September 22 – October 22) Keep your financial decisions confidential from extended friends and family as there is potential for arguments or quarreling.  The success of your investments depends upon innovative financial decisions and upon following a budget.  Creativity, artistic pursuits, photography and multimedia work are all potential personal growth areas that could provide opportunities for commercial success.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 20) If you have been planning something in your professional career, this is the year to make your move.  However, political undercurrents might present obstacles, so pay attention and be mindful of potential control issues.  Towards the end of 2010, unfinished business, perhaps real estate, will come back to you and provide a beneficial opportunity.

Sagittarius (November 21 – December 20) Creativity and luck are on your side in 2010.  Finances should be good, but will fluctuate over 2010 so be mindful of a budget.  Towards the end of the year, share your dreams with loved ones.  During this time, you are lucky and anything can happen.  You’ll need the emotional support of loved ones to stay true to yourself.

Capricorn (December 21 – January 19) Finances are going to be volatile at times, but overall, finances should be better than 2009. Direct your energy carefully as family and career will put enormous stresses on you.  In the second quarter of 2010, you may encounter manipulation and control issues. May is a time to tighten the belt. Your career path takes some unexpected turns this year.  The last quarter should be a time of financial growth.  Towards the end of the year, you may need a vacation to recover from the roller coaster that this year brings.  Remember that work will be there for you when you return.  Famous Capricorns: Conrad Hilton (Famous Entrepreneur, founder Hilton Hotels), Henri Matisse (Artist), Elizabeth Arden (Entrepreneur), Denzel Washington (Entertainer), Edgar Allen Poe (Writer), Janis Joplin (Singer), Martin Luther King (Civil Rights), Aristotle Onassis (Entrepreneur, Industrialist), J.D. Salinger (Writer), Isaac Newton (Scientist).

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18) Change is inevitable in 2010, and there may be a need to barter or outsource with others to balance finances in 2010.  Finances will stabilize in July or August, and thereafter, finances should be good over the next several years.  So, if outsourcing with others requires you to do something that you do not want to do, then remember that it is probably in your interest.   In December 2010, your career path changes and is filled with a newly found energy.  Famous Aquarians: Edwin Aldrin (Astronaut), Christian Dior (Designer), Jack Nicklaus (Athlete), Lord Byron (Poet), Virginia Woolf (Writer), Douglas Macarthur (Military Leader),  Paul Newman (Actor), Wolfgang Mozart (Composer), Oprah Winfrey (Entertainer),  Franklin D. Roosevelt (President), Alfred Adler (Psychologist), Charles Dickens (Writer), Ronald Reagan (President), Farrah Fawcett (Actress), James Joyce (Writer), King Farouk (Egyptian Royalty), Abraham Lincoln (President), Jack Hoffa, Charles Darwin (Evolutionist), John Travolta (Actor).

Mercury retrogrades four times in 2010 with the below approximate dates:

  • December 26, 2009 – January 15
  • April 17 – May 11
  • August 20 – September 12
  • December 10 – December 31

The Innovation Agenda and Green Jobs of the Future

December 6, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Business, Inventor & Entrepreneur Updates 

For a fabulous article by Mark Esper on human innovation and American creativity for green technology, see his article on The Innovative Agenda and Green Jobs of the Future on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce site.

According to the article, intellectual property (IP) in the United States is worth over $5 trillion, surpassing more than the nominal gross domestic product of any other country.  Driving 40 percent of our economic growth, IP accounts for more than one-half of all U.S. economic exports, contributing $37 billion to our trade balance.  Over 18 million Americans go to work every day in IP-intensive industries, often in fields that far surpass earning levels of non-IP related jobs.  For these reasons and others, the potential for green technology growth promises substantial windfalls for those who take chances.  As stated by Mr. Esper, “innovation is opportunity”.

JCCTI Open House on May 21

May 17, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Business, Inventor & Entrepreneur Updates 

The James City County Technology Incubator (JCCTI) invites you to come meet the budding entrepreneurs of the Hampton Roads, Virginia region on Thursday, May 21st from 3PM to 5PM.   ADMISSION IS FREE.  JCCTI is located at 5300 Palmer Lane, 2nd Floor, Williamsburg, VA 23188.

The JCCTI is part of the Hampton Roads Technology Incubator System and helps mentor enterpreneurs and sets up networking connections with key business leaders.

Immediately after the Open House, there is a Mix-N-Mingle at the Center Street Grill in Williamsburg.