UW-Whitewater: Ben Hobbins a featured entrepreneur at Ideas to Profits Conference

WHITEWATER ­ If you are a basement workshop inventor or you wish to create your own business, this could be the best $99 you’ve ever spent.

The annual Ideas to Profits Conference, sponsored by the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, brings together more than 30 experts on licensing, government funding, contract engineering, marketing, patent application and angel financing. The event is scheduled for Oct. 1-2 at Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

This year’s theme is “Innovation Across Generations” and inventors of all ages are encouraged to attend.

Featured will be Waunakee entrepreneur Ben Hobbins, who, four years ago, wondered whether it might be possible to create a better fishing lure, one that wouldn’t tear off the hook while he went ice fishing on Lake Mendota. The resulting invention, IronClad Lures, was just named one of Popular Science magazine’s “Top Ten Inventions of the Year” and is featured in the June issue.

In addition to meeting Hobbins and learning from him ways to develop and market a new product, participants will hear from Roger Ganser, managing director of Venture Investors of Wisconsin; Craig Schiefelbein, chief executive officer of Paragon Development Systems; and Jason Weaver, founder and chief executive officer of Sway Inc.

New product scouts and representatives from the Wisconsin Procurement Institute will also be available to answer questions about what they look for in new products.

The Wisconsin Innovation Service Center conducts preliminary new product assessments and market research for manufacturers, technology businesses and independent inventors.

Hobbins used the center’s services, along with the UW-Madison Polymer Engineering Center and a variety of other state resources, to develop and market IronClad Lures. The issue of Popular Science featuring his product will be seen by an estimated seven million readers.

Deanne Casey, market research manager for the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, says the conference is a “wonderful opportunity for inventors and entrepreneurs to network with one another and to learn from some of the top leaders of new product development in the state.”

All for $99, or $149 if you enter your invention in the juried competition.

Additional sponsors include WTN Media, von Briesen and Roper attorneys, Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Network, Today’s Wisconsin Woman, 50 Plus Magazine, Milwaukee Family, Eggert Creative, We Energies, the Business Excellence Consortium, MSOE Rader School of Business, Ho-Chunk Gaming, Wisconsin Manufacturers Extension Partnership, Paragon Development Systems, and the UW-Stout Technology Transfer Institute.

For more information on the Ideas to Profits conference and the Juried Inventors’ Showcase and Competition, visit: http://wisc.uww.edu/ideas-conference.html