InnovationErie is a collaboration of professional industries in the fields of science, art, engineering, and design (also known as SAM & ED).
Each year, InnovationErie hosts a design competition which aims at encouraging inventors to create a product that is functional yet aesthetic and able to be manufactured in Erie.
Once entered into the contest, contestants must create a prototype display for their product. Four finalists are chosen to give a 30-minute briefing about their product and their basic business plan for marketing purposes.
Contestants investigate their product’s appeal and market potential. This process requires careful analysis and a complete understanding of how to present such findings to the judges, who are looking for an aesthetic design that could promote Erie businesses.
Mercyhurst College students now have a precedent for excelling in this tough competition.
Kathleen Moore, a senior in Mercyhurst’s Department of Intelligence Studies, took part in the contest last year. Her design for a self-contained coffee cup that is disposable, biodegradable with insulating elements and a lid built into one piece won her second place in the competition.
Moore is now in the process of patenting her design and would advise anyone entering the contest to “consider the resources available to implement your ideas.”
She said it is also important to know who is on the board and how to address their individual interests through your design.
The goal of the competition is to create a contest in which people in northwest Pennsylvania can showcase ideas and possibly take them on to the marketplace.
“In today’s society so many things can be outsourced, but if you design something unique, it can be manufactured right here to better the local economy” Lisa Austin, local activist and professor at Edinboro University, said.
A symposium titled “Art, Design, and Entrepreneurship” will take place Saturday, Oct. 10, from 1:30 to 5 p.m., at the Erie Maritime Museum. This idea exchange will feature an impressive panel of speakers including Paul Rowan, the co-founder of the design company Umbra. The company, based in Toronto, is a worldwide leader in original, casual, contemporary, affordable design for the home. The symposium is free and open to the public.
Visit InnovationErie.net for information on this year’s competition.