Home Archives May 2007 Q&A with Kedma Ough of Micro-Inventors Program of Oregon

Q&A with Kedma Ough of Micro-Inventors Program of Oregon

| Print |  Email
Tuesday, May 01, 2007

KedmaOugh.jpg

Kedma Ough, program director of the newly formed Micro-Inventors Program of Oregon, is a straight-talking businesswoman with an affinity for getting new ideas to market. Her consulting business, Avita, provides affordable advisory services to women, minority and disabled entrepreneurs. We caught up with her on the heels of the first annual Oregon Inventor’s Showcase, held in April, to talk about what MIPO has to offer.

 

What is MIPO?
It’s a nonprofit program of East County One-Stop [a workforce development program in east Multnomah County]. My company, Avita, provides the training center as an in-kind donation.

How did you start working with inventors?
My background is economic development. Three years ago someone came to me with an idea they paid to have protected through the U.S. Patent Office. They said, “I’ve got this patented and now I want you to sell it.” Well, it was a piece of garbage, it wasn’t marketable. I began to do some research and realized that there was no support out there for inventors.

And there was your opening.
Yes. I set up a program to support independent inventors throughout the state who are looking at intellectual property as a vehicle for income. The goal is to serve individual inventors with a secondary goal of supporting minority, women, disabled and low-income inventors. And then we linked up with the Lemelson Foundation [which funded MIPO with a $100,000 grant].

Give me an example of how you work with inventors.
One inventor was a paraplegic who came up with an alternative to the leg bag that paraplegics have to use. He invented a device that was contained in the wheelchair. Prior to us spending any money, I went with him to pitch the idea to three medical suppliers.

You asked them if they would sell it ?
Yes. And we got three letters of intent. What special services do inventors need that’s different from your average entrepreneurs?
There’s a whole range of services. Some just need intellectual property services; others need intellectual property and business services. We have a patent researcher who will look at what ideas are out there and we have patent attorneys. And we have an entire design team who will look at the design of the invention. And we look at whether it’s a licensing or a manufacturing deal. Sometimes people come in thinking they want to manufacture their invention and we tell them they’ll need $1 million to start and then they say, “What about licensing?”

Do you help them with a business plan?
That’s my part. I help them figure out if there’s a business there, whether there’s enough of a market. I put all the pieces together. The last part is the finance piece. We have advisers to help with venture capital, angel investing and SBIR grants.

Are these advisers volunteers?
We do not hire volunteers for the crucial parts of our business. Everyone is paid. If you have a volunteer counsel and they make a mistake, you don’t have recourse. One of the benefits of working with us is that these services are provided at a fraction of the cost because we’ve negotiated a below-market price from our providers.

Even discounted, these services have to be expensive. How large is MIPO’s budget?
We have $100,000 to operate for the first year. We’re very creative. Eventually we want to take a small percentage from the income of successful inventors to fund future inventors. And MIPO clients pay annual dues; we want them to have some kind of commitment.

Are you working with inventors groups statewide?
The Portland Inventors Group meets at our office once a month. We’ve been to Coos Bay and Roseburg.

We want to link up with the inventors groups so that we can be a thread to connect them. We’ve still got more road trips to make.

— Christina Williams

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Powerlist: Meeting perspectives

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BY BRANDON SAWYER

A conversation about the event-planning industry with sales directors from McMenamins and the Portland Art Museum. 


Read more...

Are millennials reshaping politics in the Pacific Northwest?

News
Wednesday, April 02, 2014

MillennialsThumbA new report explores the impact of millennials on Oregon's business and political climate.


Read more...

The more they change, the more they stay the same

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
100-best-collageBY BRANDON SAWYER

The 100 Best Companies get more creative with perks and more generous with benefits; employees seek empowering relations with management and coworkers.


Read more...

What I'm reading: Brad Smith & Travis Boersma

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brad Smith, founder of Hot Pepper Studios, and Travis Boersma, president of Dutch Bros. Coffee, share their recent reads.


Read more...

Revolution in print, pixels and passion

News
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
RyanFrankNewsBY MARK BLAINE | OB BLOGGER

The publisher of the Emerald Media Group moves on, leaving a cutting edge media group that depends on business acumen for its survival.


Read more...

Spreading the wealth

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
HiResBY PAIGE PARKER

A money management firm broadens its reach. 


Read more...

Branching out

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
DSC04185BY LINDA BAKER

A blueberry bush is a blueberry bush — except when it’s a blueberry tree.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS