Whirlpool Brand Business Grant Recognizes Innovative Moms
From Temperature-Controlled Medicine Pack to Tools for Parents and Pet Owners, Moms Thought of It And Winners Benefit with Grant, Prizes and Education

Passion, dedication and creativity are just some of the qualities that moms and inventors share. The 2008 Whirlpool brand Mother of Invention program is awarding more than $40,000 to five mompreneurs to help jump-start their businesses.

Developed four years ago, the Mother of Invention Grant program helps moms bring their innovative ideas to fruition with not only monetary resources but key business lessons. While this program was designed to help moms grow and recognize their potential, executives at Whirlpool have watched the program grow as well. With a commitment to eco-efficiency, the brand added a green category in 2008 to recognize moms who created an environmentally-friendly product/service or used natural/recycled materials to create their invention.

"This year, the number of submissions increased by more than 20 percent," said Audrey Reed-Granger, director of public relations for Whirlpool brand. "We are very proud of the caliber of entries received and noticed an increase in the progress these inventors have achieved, with business models, prototypes and patents."

This year's grand prize winner is Estelle Keeter, an ordained pastor from Matteson, Ill. who developed MEDPACK, a temperature-controlled case for medicines. MEDPACK's insulated case contains a cooling mechanism that keeps oral medications, such an insulin and antibiotics, refrigerated for up to 12 hours.

"Moms can make a difference," said Keeter, who will receive a $20,000 business grant to help her execute plans for her invention. "With the MEDPACK, I hope to improve the lives of those who depend on medication everyday."

As a diabetic, Keeter uses insulin to control her diabetes and often had to use bulky lunch packs to keep her medication cold. Keeter, who also is an elementary school teacher, watched as her students would struggle to put their medication in the school cafeteria refrigerator as well as putting her own medication in the teacher's lounge refrigerator. Often, she wished she was able to have a little more privacy. As a result, Keeter created MEDPACK, which keeps her medication cold from the comfort of her briefcase or purse.

In addition to the grant, Keeter will receive choice of a Whirlpool® Duet® Steam washer and dryer pair or Whirlpool® Cabrio® washer and steam dryer, a Whirlpool® dishwasher and a $3,000 stipend for a new home office. Keeter and four additional winners will have the opportunity to attend a Whirlpool business boot camp at Whirlpool headquarters in Benton Harbor, Mich., since the program was based off Whirlpool Corporation's innovation process. The bootcamp will include a tour of Whirlpool facilities and product labs, and a roundtable discussion with Whirlpool innovation experts and this year's guest judges.

This year, entrepreneurial moms Julie Aigner-Clark, creator of Baby Einstein and co-founder of The Safe Side, and Lori Pope, creator of BabyPlays.com, served as guest judges for the program. Whirlpool brand also worked with its past grand prize winner of the 2006 Mother of Invention program, Mary Anne Amato, inventor of the Quick Change Crib, to serve as a judge.

"In my first year participating with this program, I was truly impressed with the progress and creativity these moms have made with their inventions," said Pope. "This program serves as a reminder that moms are truly some of the best inventors."

  Additional awards and winners include:

  Traditional Category

First Prize: $7,000 grant, Whirlpool brand dishwasher and Duet Sport® laundry pair

-- Cameo McGraw-Horton of Bothell, Wash. created improvements to a pet leash which offers flexibility for owners and added safety for animals when walking a pet.

Second Prize: $5,000 grant, a Whirlpool brand dishwasher and Duet Sport® laundry pair

-- Veletta Rouse of Riviera Beach, Fla. created a product to help those with a cleft lip and palate.

Green Category

First Prize: $7,000 grant, Whirlpool brand refrigerator with water filtration

-- Catherine Kay of Silver Spring, Md. created a product to help with potty training.

Second Prize: $5,000 grant and a Whirlpool brand refrigerator with water filtration

-- Erika Berry of Ada, Mich. created the CleanyBeany. The product will be made of recyclable materials and is a container to fit on a dog's leash and to hold money, refuse bags and wipes, in addition to a flashlight for safety.

Information about the 2008 Whirlpool Brand Mother of Invention Grant Program, this year's recipients and top 30 finalists is available at www.whirlpool.com/moms.

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.

About Whirlpool Brand

Whirlpool Corporation is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances with annual sales of approximately $19 billion and more than 73,000 employees. The brand recognizes that consumers lead busy, active lives and continues to create solutions that help consumers optimize productivity in the home. In addition to designing appliance solutions based on consumer insight, Whirlpool brand is dedicated to creating ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances like the Duet® Steam washer, which uses up to 73 percent less water and 77 percent less energy than conventional washers - helping consumers save money and natural resources. Whirlpool is one of Habitat for Humanity's largest corporate partners, donating a refrigerator and range to every new Habitat for Humanity home built in North America. Additional information about the company can be found at http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/.

First Call Analyst:
FCMN Contact: angela_m_hersil@whirlpool.com

SOURCE: Whirlpool Corporation

CONTACT: Audrey Reed-Granger, Director of Public Relations of Whirlpool,
+1-269-923-7557, Audrey_Reed-Granger@Whirlpool.com; or Laura Zanzal of
Peppercom for Whirlpool, +1-212-931-6124, or lzanzal@peppercom.com