Home Back Issues 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
Archives - May 2007
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

Managing family assets: The importance of planning ahead

News
Friday, August 22, 2014
Unknown-1BY CLIFF HOCKLEY |  OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

When business intersects with family, a host of  situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

The Scott Kveton affair

News
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
ScottKvetonBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.


Read more...

Private liberal arts education: superior outcomes, competitive price

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
0826 thumb collegemoneyBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?


Read more...

Green Endeavor cleans up

News
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
080614 ULnew greenendeavorBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.


Read more...

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

Interview: Dr. Mark Goulston

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 10, 2014
JustListenBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.


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