Iowa innovators learn about new marketing tool - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa innovators learn about new marketing tool

ROBINS (KWWL) - On Sunday, a group of Iowa innovators learned about a new method for getting their inventions out to market. It's called "Planet Eureka," a federally-funded network that connects inventors of new products to the companies that want to sell them.

Planet Eureka is part of the National Innovation Marketplace. Promoters say it simplifies the process of pitching a new product, and gives the creator a way to find out if it will be successful.

Tom Maring has been working on the "Scentry III" for the past four years. "It's a combustible gas detector," Maring explained, "and when it senses an unsafe level, it goes into alarm, and shuts the fuel off, so the leak can't get any more dangerous."

He's sold a few locally, but most of them have gone to mountainous areas of Colorado and Montana, where more homes rely on propane gas. But he's hoping that putting details of his device on Planet Eureka will help him find new customers in other parts of the country.

"It may just be a niche market, and it will tell us that."

That's why Planet Eureka's executive director Ken Bloemer says this network is so valuable: it helps innovators forego expensive market surveys. "A potential buyer, investor, or distributor wants to know, 'how much can I sell, and how much can I distribute?'"

Companies can use the network to look at the list of inventions, and then work with their creators on getting them out to market. Bloemer says it will open new doors for independent inventors, entrepreneurs and small companies, where most new products originate.

"A lot of people mistakenly think that it's the large corporations and universities, but it's really folks like here in the room."

Moreover, he hopes Planet Eureka will spur innovation, which he says plays a vital role in the nation's economic growth.

"Without innovation, we're toast."

Planet Eureka is free to use, os backed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and is endorsed by Vice President Joe Biden himself.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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