Moms are continually on the move, particularly when it comes to business -- approximately half a million women across the country run their own ventures, and over one third of them have children under the age of 18 living at home(1). To celebrate Moms' ingenuity, Whirlpool brand is announcing its third annual Mother of Invention Grant Program, a competition that recognizes the entrepreneurial spirit of moms by awarding them the tools they need to turn an idea into a viable business.
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This Mother's Day, May 13, 2007, Moms are invited to submit their ideas for an invention, business or service -- no matter where they are in the creation process. The grant program's judging criteria is based on Whirlpool brand's own product/innovation guidelines. Submissions will be weighted with scores in the following categories: creating a solution to an unmet need; uniqueness in the current marketplace; offering a practical business solution; and the story behind the creation. And for the third year, Julie Aigner- Clark, creator of Baby Einstein and co-founder of The Safe Side, a provider of programs to help children stay safe, will be a guest judge and program collaborator.
"Mothers around the country apply ingenuity and creativity to their daily lives, helping to make parenting and caring for the home easier. With the many roles that moms play, it can be difficult to find the time and resources needed to channel that entrepreneurial spirit into a full-fledged business," said Aigner-Clark. "Each year, the Mother of Invention Grant program provides the necessary tools to women who have ingenious ideas that come from their experience as mothers."
Joining Aigner-Clark as guest judges and entrepreneurial advisors are the co-founders of the first meal assembly franchise, Dream Dinners. Working mothers Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna established their business with a mission to bring families around the dinner table by creating a timesaving method of healthy meal preparation. In less than five years, Dream Dinners evolved from making fix-and-freeze meals for one family into a multimillion dollar national franchise.
The Grant will provide five winning moms with the resources -- such as seed money and expert advice -- that are necessary to get a business up and running. The winners, one Grand Prize, two First Prize and two Second Prize winners, will receive:
-- Grand Prize: $20,000 grant, Whirlpool® Duet® or Cabrio™ washer and dryer pair, a Whirlpool® Fabric Freshener and a $3,000 stipend for a new home office. -- First Prize: (2) $7,000 grant, a Whirlpool Gold® PowerScour™ dishwasher and a Whirlpool® Duet Sport™ washer and dryer pair. -- Second Prize: (2) $5,000 grant and a Whirlpool® Duet Sport™ washer and dryer pair.
In addition to receiving grant money and Whirlpool brand product prizes, all winners will attend a business boot camp led by Whirlpool brand experts in the areas of product development, business strategy, innovation and technology, legal issues, accounting and marketing. The boot camp will address important topics such as selecting and launching an idea, work/life balance, sales challenges, engaging investors, etc. These small roundtable discussions will allow the moms to ask questions of the experts and share advice with one another.
From windshield wipers to white out, diapers to automatic dishwashers, Scotch Guard to Kevlar, the evidence is clear: Women inventors have changed the way Americans live. And last year's grand prize-winning idea -- The Quick Change Crib -- is no different. The crib gives parents direct access to the baby's mattress so that sheets can be changed simply by sliding the mattress out and back into the crib.
"Moms everywhere dream of solutions to help with our everyday tasks, but turning them into actual products and businesses is another story," explained 2006 grand prize-winning mom and entrepreneur Mary Anne Amato. "Aside from the $20,000 grant that I received, the business boot camp was a great learning experience which gave me access to product and marketing experts who answered questions and provided usable real world suggestions."
Moms interested in applying for the 2007 Whirlpool Brand Mother of Invention Grant are encouraged to visit www.whirlpool.com/moms starting May 13, 2007.
The program closes on July 30, 2007. Whirlpool Brand Mother of Invention Grant
While the 2007 Whirlpool Brand Mother of Invention Grant provides the means to jump start a business, moms will still have complete autonomy over their business venture. The ideas submitted in this contest remain the sole property of the contestant. The judges and the sponsors do not claim ownership of any ideas submitted. Whirlpool will maintain a cloak of confidentiality around submissions, allowing winners time to seek patent protection. Appliance and appliance component submissions will not be accepted and will be disqualified.
About Whirlpool Corporation
Whirlpool Corporation is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $18 billion, more than 73,000 employees, and more than 70 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world. Additional information about the company can be found at http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/.
About Dream Dinners
Named "the grandmother" of fix-and-freeze businesses by TIME magazine, Dream Dinners is recognized as the originator of innovative and convenient dinner assembly stores. Franchise Times recently ranked Dream Dinners among the 2007 "Fast 55" fastest-growing new U.S. franchises. Since working mothers Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna founded Dream Dinners in 2002, about 200 different meal-prep businesses have emerged to capitalize on their business model. Today, there are more than 260 Dream Dinners franchises in 37 states with a projected gross revenue of $57 million. For additional information visit www.dreamdinners.com or contact Lara Bain (Porter Novelli for Dream Dinners) at 206.770.7056 or via email at
(1) Center for Women's Business Research 2006 survey, "Capital Choices: Volume 1, What Matters and What Works"
Contact: Karina Stabile Trish Taylor Peppercom for Whirlpool Peppercom for Whirlpool 212.931.6164 269.923.3351
First Call Analyst:
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SOURCE: Whirlpool Corporation
CONTACT: Karina Stabile, +1-212-931-6164,
Trish Taylor, +1-269-923-3351,
Web site: http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/