NWKEICI Helping Northwest Kansas Entrepreneur’s Dreams Come True
Written by: Press release issued by David Elliott
Publication date: 07/22/2021
When it comes to developing an idea, professional insight and experience make the difference in launching a new product.
That’s why the Northwest Kansas Economic Innovation Center, Inc. doesn’t just provide funding to eligible entrepreneurs through its Business Concept Development Program. NWKEICI also helps connect potential business owners with those who have expertise in navigating the intricacies of bringing a product to market.
“Northwestern Kansans is known for its innovative spirit and independence,” said Lucas Goddard, NWKEICI program director. “While there is an abundance of these qualities among entrepreneurs in our region, there is not always traditional financial support available to build these businesses. NWKEICI has launched its program to ensure that these businesses are not not just dreams, but that they come true. “
NWKEICI contacted the Technology Development Institute at Kansas State University to help one of these inventors move their product forward. Barry Reinert had obtained a patent for his Bac-Pac technology for use with hydraulic bale beds. The attachment allows ranchers to quickly attach and release the device which can be used for transporting livestock and equipment as well as dumping feed or gravel with the ability to be loaded at ground level.
It was a solid idea and Reinert had produced a prototype. But Bret Lanz, director of marketing at the Technology Development Institute, said this is where new products can stagnate, as manufacturers need to know the results of production.
“We work with inventors at all stages of the process and we can help them understand patents, timelines and market research,” he said. “Barry did a great job developing his product, he just needed to have it all on hand when approaching manufacturers.”
The Institute for Technological Development has rural and innovation funds from the Ministry of Commerce that they were able to pair with the support Reinert had from NWKEICI to take the design, put it into a virtual model and build a second and final prototype. .
“Ultimately, he had a full set of designs for each part, a BOM – which is basically an ingredient list of everything that makes it up, and the redesigned version,” Lanz noted. “We also worked with him to create a list of potential licensees or manufacturers for him. He now takes this information when speaking to potential manufacturers.”
Manufacturers have limited engineering resources, so compiling the details of a product is crucial.
“Having this information to give a manufacturer the ability to put it into production with minimal time and cost – that’s what we’re trying to help the entrepreneur do,” Lanz said. “We’re trying to see how far we can help them get this ball out there and give them everything they need to put it into production.”
Goddard notes that the reality of business is not just important to an entrepreneur – but to the region itself.
“When an entrepreneur is successful, we all share that success,” he said. “Setting up a new business or marketing a product means more money in their pockets and more money in our communities.
The Business Concept Development Program makes funds available to entrepreneurs to determine whether a particular business idea, product or service is commercially viable, especially when conventional sources of finance are not an option. For more information, contact NWKEICI.
The Northwest Kansas Economic Innovation Center, Inc. provides economic and entrepreneurial assistance to businesses in rural northwest Kansas. The private operating foundation serves 26 counties in the region with a variety of programs. By working with existing businesses or entrepreneurs throughout the coverage area with targeted programs, NWKEICI strives to reverse the exodus of people and businesses from Northwestern Kansas. Through its current and future initiatives that extend resources to these businesses and entrepreneurs, NWKEICI hopes to increase population and foster economic innovation in Northwestern Kansas.
(Information courtesy of NWKEICI.)