Moms have been creating solutions to everyday problems for centuries -- from eliminating the monster under the bed to creating the perfect dish that highlights all five food groups to inventions like the disposable diaper. To celebrate moms' ingenuity this Mother's Day, Whirlpool brand is kicking off the fourth annual Mother of Invention Grant competition.
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Much like Mary Dixon Kies, a mom who received the first patent awarded to a woman in 1809, women are often the thought leaders behind innovative businesses. In fact, more than half of all privately-held businesses in the United States are owned by women. Yet invention does not just stop with a brilliant idea but requires seed money, product development and business acumen.
Beginning on May 11, the 100th anniversary of Mother's Day, and running through July 31, moms may submit their unique business, service or product ideas for consideration at www.whirlpool.com/moms . In addition, Whirlpool brand recognizes that consumers are becoming more eco-conscious and are looking for easy, cost-effective solutions for their homes. To recognize moms who develop an environmentally-friendly product/service or use natural/recycled materials to create their invention, the company has added a green category for the first time. Five winners will be announced in September and will receive grant money (up to $20,000), home appliance prizes and an invitation to a business boot camp at Whirlpool headquarters.
Moms are inspired by many things, including a desire to get more done each day. "It has been reported that working moms spend 44 hours at their 'work job' and 49.8 at their 'mom job' for a total of 93.8 hours each week," said Pamela Sarvela, a business development specialist with the University of Minnesota's Natural Resources Research Institute. "And while many continue to balance work and home, this trend is inspiring women to devise new solutions -- from working at home to designing products that can help. The Whirlpool brand Mother of Invention grant program can help educate and provide real business resources to these entrepreneurial thinkers."
Whirlpool brand developed the judging criteria for the Mother of Invention competition based on the company's own innovation process. Judging the 2008 contest are entrepreneurial moms who understand the challenge of juggling a family and a new business. Guest judges include Julie Aigner-Clark, creator of Baby Einstein and co-founder of The Safe Side, a provider of programs to help children stay safe; and Lori Pope, the creator of an innovative green toy rental program, BabyPlays. Rounding out the judging panel will be Mary Anne Amato, the 2006 Mother of Invention Grand Prize Winner and creator of the "Quick Change Crib" which provides parents with easy access to the crib's mattress.
"This program sparks the hope of thousands every year and recognizes one of the most overlooked treasures there is, a mother's ingenuity," said Mary Anne Amato. "This is one of a very few, perhaps the only, program that understands, inspires and rewards it."
Moms interested in applying for the 2008 Whirlpool Brand Mother of Invention Grant are encouraged to visit www.whirlpool.com/moms starting May 11, 2008.
The program closes on July 31, 2008. Whirlpool Brand Mother of Invention Grant
While the 2008 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.
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SOURCE: Whirlpool Corporation
CONTACT: Audrey Reed-Granger of Whirlpool, +1-269-923-7557,
Web site: http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/