Small businesses looking to find a hot idea — or trying to sell a hot idea to a big company — are about to get some help.
Next week, Eureka Ranch Technology Ltd. of Cincinnati plans to unveil the USA National Innovation Marketplace — an online registry where researchers and inventors can post ideas they’ve developed. Businesses can then browse through those ideas by category, much like searching through résumés at a job-hunting site. If the companies see something they like, they can contact the inventor to buy the idea or collaborate on it.
Companies of any size can use the registry. But small companies will be able to view new innovations first. They also can list ideas or products that they’ve developed and want to pitch to big businesses.
The goal, says Eureka founder Doug Hall, is to have small businesses incubate ideas from researchers and then sell them to large companies. The time is right for the idea, he says, since big businesses are coming under greater pressure to innovate quickly — but often lack the internal resources to do the job.
“Small businesses are best at taking an idea and taking it to first sale,” he says.
To be sure, putting ideas online for anyone to see raises the specter of intellectual piracy. Hall says he advises people to post only ideas for which they have patent protection. If they don’t, he recommends describing only what the product promises — not how it is created.
On the other hand, there’s the danger that people will post ideas that they don’t actually own and try to sell them. Hall says his company is looking into “validation systems” that would help establish ownership and the accuracy of claims made.
The registry’s site, planeteureka.com, launched on April 28, is accepting ideas from inventors and allowing businesses to view those ideas, both on a limited basis.
Photo by Eureka Ranch Technology Ltd..
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