May 2011 Inventor resources
The May meeting of the TIA featured a discussion on resources available for inventors. Those resources include on-line resources and local organizations that offer support and advice to inventors. There was also a round-table type discussion of issues facing the TIA, including member participation, collaboration with the Entrepreneurs of Knoxville, and future meeting topics.
Tom Kulaga presented information on resources available to inventors. If an inventor wishes to profit from his ideas, they must do more than invent. The inventor must do many things, such as
- write a business plan,
- perform a market analysis,
- determine who the customer is,
- figure out how to build the invention,
- protect the idea/invention,
Tom handed out a list of Resources for Inventors. For each of the resources, he showed the group the website related to that source. Tom also pointed out highlights on the websites. The list of inventor resources included the following:
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) is a state organization offering free educational assistance to help business owners start, grow, and develop successful, thriving businesses.
Contact Larry Rossini or Bruce Hayes: 865-246-2663 in the Knoxville area, Chip Bailey: 423-578-6235 at the Holston Business Development Center in Kingsport.
The Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE) has a Knoxville office with volunteers available to assist small business owners in developing their business. The SCORE-Knox website has a page listing upcoming seminars and training sessions. It also has a page listing various business related resources, such as business plans and marketing plans. The national website has good resources for start-up companies.
Call 865-692-0716 between 8:30am and 1:30pm weekdays except Wednesday
The Tennessee Technology Development Corporation (TTDC) is a state organization tasked with fostering and developing technology-based companies.
The Tennessee Inventors Association (TIA) website has a News Ticker feature on the home page that identifies upcoming events. The TIA also has an Inventor's Calendar that lists upcoming events. The TIA links page has links for the various pages discussed at the meeting and more.
Entrepreneurs of Knoxville (EoK) is an organization of local businesspersons and entrepreneurs that meets every Wednesday morning at various locations in Knoxville. The EoK has a community website and offers great networking opportunities for those wanting to build a business or looking for assistance.
The Knoxville Public Library, downtown branch, has several research librarians that are available for researching and looking up useful information. Such information includes manufacturers and distributors of various types of products, market data, industry trends, and other business reference information. If you need to find out about something, this is a good place to start.
Reference Department: 865-215-8700
Business Reference: 865-215-8722
Tom told those at the meeting that he had been contacted by someone at the Mississippi Small Business Development Center (MSBDC), which is Mississippi's group like the Tennessee Small Business Developement Center. Tom showed everyone the MSBDC video resource page. He also handed out CD copies of a MSBDC video for inventors: Idea to Market.
There are many other resources available on-line if one were to look. For example, the IPWatchdog is a blog by a patent attorney who often posts information helpful to inventors. For example, a recent post titled $25 Million Available for Inventors told about a new program that every inventor should be aware of. Louis Foreman, the producer of the PBS television show Everyday Edisons, as well as the CEO of the design firm Enventys and publisher of Inventors Digest, recently announced the launching of a $25 million Innovation Fund to be used to bring innovations to market.
Another resource is Inventors Digest. The TIA has a subscription to Inventors Digest and the issues are available to members. The first article on the front page of the Inventors Digest website tell how to submit invention ideas to Inventors Digest. They are always looking for ideas and inventions to feature in the magazine.
That same group sends out periodic e-mails. Tom passed around one that he received recently. The e-mail listed three articles of particular interest. The first was a note about a group looking for the next As Seen on TV product. The second was a note about the History Channel looking for the next big invention. The third was a story about Eddy Goldfarb, Master Toy Inventor.
Tom warned everyone that they must be on-guard at all times. Not everything on the Internet is legitimate. Common sense and skepticism is all that is needed to avoid trouble. The PTO has an informative brochure available on scam prevention.
Igor Alexeff told the group about attending an Entrepreneurs of Knoxville weekly meeting
Tom Kulaga wrapped up the meeting with a roundtable discussion. The first topic discussed was community activities for the TIA. The local Boy Scouts of America contacted Tom recently. The BSA recently created an Inventing Merit Badge. The local scouting council is looking for merit badge counselors willing to work with boy scouts as the earn their Inventing Merit Badge. Tom asked for volunteers and two members stepped up to help the Boy Scouts. Anyone else interested should contact Tom.
The second topic of discussion was a two parter: How to keep people coming back to TIA meetings and How to get new TIA members. Tom noted that we have a constant stream of visitors and members that show up for a few meetings only to disappear. Dale Burress offered some suggestions, but time was running short and we could not thoroughly explore them. We will revisit this issue at another meeting.