Going National Greenovation and Green Product Ideas

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What began in a small segment of Pennsylvania has now grown to national proportions. In 2008 IMC, Inc. coordinated The Greenovation Competition of Central Pennsylvania, a regional competition among local innovators in an effort to encourage and create green products meant to conserve natural resources and the environment. This initiative focuses on providing a grand prize package of services to turn the winning innovations into a reality.

We were excited to be able to take advantage of a proven program and its successes, and offer it in our region.

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What began in a small segment of Pennsylvania has now grown to national proportions. In 2008 IMC, Inc. coordinated The Greenovation Competition of Central Pennsylvania, a regional competition among local innovators in an effort to encourage and create green products meant to conserve natural resources and the environment. This initiative focuses on providing a grand prize package of services to turn the winning innovations into a reality. With prizes to help develop the “Greenovation” such as design services, prototyping and provisional patent applications, IMC then coaches the winners through the product development process, and provides support on the way to market launch. Now three years later this initiative has been launched nationally, with both Alabama and Texas becoming inaugural Greenovation Partners.

IMC’s mission is to help regional Pennsylvania manufacturers grow and flourish. IMC is part of the Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center Network and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’sManufacturing Extension Partnership(NIST MEP) program. These programs help small and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money. They provide a variety of services, from innovation strategies to process improvements to green manufacturing.
IMC has hosted Greenovation Contests over the past few years. During that time the prize packages have grown during that time period, and many green product ideas have emerged from innovators and companies in the region. In 2009, IMC realized the concept they created could be easily replicated, and could provide other organizations with a successful system and framework to host similar contests across the U.S. to encourage green product development.

In 2010 Katie Bell, the coordinator of the Greenovation Competition, introduced the concept of Greenovation at the NIST MEP National Conference. She was asked to present on the subject again at their 2011 Manufacturing Innovations Conference. By then IMC turned the concept into a “toolbox” of resources to help organizations host their own statewide or regional Greenovation Contest. The toolbox includes a national portal website, http://www.greenovationcontest.com, and a Greenovation Partner Starter Kit which includes materials, applications, checklists, and even online training to ensure that a Greenovation Partner will have the framework to host a successful contest.

After the Conference Alabama Technology Network(ATN), Texas Manufacturing Assistance Program(TMAC) and North Texas Small Business Development Center(NTSBDC) came onboard as the first Greenovation Partners.

Greenovation Contests have successfully yielded “Greenovations” (green innovations). Equinox Ltd. , a manufacturer of outdoor and environmental gear in Williamsport, PA, created fruit, veggie and nut bags (produce bags) made from proprietary, chemical-free nano and beehive mesh. Progressive Green Industries, a startup company in Central PA, developed the Aversa energy saving shower valve that restricts water by introducing air to the water stream, and provides the user with a full-feeling shower. And finally, PowerCents is still under development by Rankinen Engineering. This energy saving device shuts off standby power, saving about 10% of electricity normally used.

Greenovation began as a motivator for local manufacturers and innovators to develop green products that would be safe and helpful in the conservation of natural resources. It has now become a national initiative encouraging green product development. Offering a package of donated services to assist with developing and launching a “Greenovation” product encourages innovative thinking in companies and communities. Participation in a regional contest generates exposure for finalists, winners, the coordinating organization, and sponsors and service providers.

Greenovation partner, Tom Pryor, TMAC Growth Coach & Director of UTA's SBDC stated, "We were excited to be able to take advantage of a proven program and its successes, and offer it in our region. The tools and materials are saving us a lot of time, and their team has been helpful in the launch of our Greenovation Contest this fall." TMAC and SBDCEE are very excited to see people’s ideas come to fruition to help preserve the planet’s resources.
Becoming a Greenovation Partner is easy, and will provide you with tools to support your success. A variety of organizations can become Greenovation Partners, such as but not limited to MEPs, Small Business Development Centers and Universities. Good Partners have established relationships, or want to build connections, to service providers supporting innovation and product development activities for business.
For information in becoming a Partner of the Greenovation Contest initiative, please contact Katie Bell at 570-329-3200 ext. 8083 or katieb(at)imcpa(dot)com . For success stories and more information please visit http://www.greenovationcontest.com .

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Katie Bell
IMC, Inc.
570-329-3200 8083
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