Eau Claire Area EDC: Finalists announced in the Idea Challenge 2013! $5,500 awarded in first 2 rounds


Brian Doudna, Executive Director

Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation

[email protected]

Office: 715.834.0070

The Idea Challenge: Think New, Different, Better

November 12, 2013 (Eau Claire, WI) – The Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is pleased to announce the five finalists in The Idea Challenge 2013. All five have received a $500 cash award for their product ideas, with three also receiving $1,000 in technical assistance.


Thomas Johnson ($500) – A product designed for the construction industry that solves a significant issue experienced by many small carpenters. (Patent pending)

Jim Gordon ($500) – A product for the recreational fishing industry that will lessen the strain on your eyes, time and pocket book. (Patent pending)

Zach Miller ($500, $1,000) – A product for use in the construction industry that will increase safety for contractors and employees. (Patent pending)

Pat Thoney ($500, $1,000) – A product to enhance property security, providing a safeguard against burglary and intrusion. (Patent pending)

Pat Thoney ($500, $1,000) – A product to enhance property security, providing a safeguard against burglary and intrusion. (Patent pending)

John Gustafson ($500, $1,000) – As announced in July, 2013 – The THOR Mini Quick-TachTM is a universal quick-attach system for sub-compact utility tractors that allows the operator to switch from one attachment to another safely and securely in a matter of seconds.The THOR Mini Quick-TachTM product line includes several attachments such as a fork, snow blade, ballast box, tree spade, ripper, scoop, leveler, utility box, boom-lift, and a carry-all. Receiver plates are available allowing individuals to build their own attachments. In addition, the tractor’s original loader bucket can be retrofitted and used with the THOR system.

These five finalists will compete on December 4, 2013 for the grand prize of $5,000 reimbursable towards business expenses.

A record number of 126 applications were submitted to The Idea Challenge this year. Of these, 25 applicants were selected to present their ideas to The Idea Challenge Partners. The five finalists were selected from this group. The EDC and its partners are working with applicants, in addition to the finalists, whose ideas are feasible product concepts.

A special thank you to The Idea Challenge Partners for their ongoing commitment of time and knowledge, which makes this program a success.

Thank you to all who submitted applications to The Idea Challenge 2013. Applications are already being accepted for The Idea Challenge 2014 and can be submitted at theideachallenge.com .


The Idea Challenge is a contest open to any individual or company with an idea for a new product or service. The ideas submitted to The Idea Challenge by individuals and companies are reviewed by a group of technical assistance providers, called The Idea Challenge Partners, to help determine if it is a feasible concept. Any idea that has potential will be given individual attention to help take the idea to the marketplace.

Up to five ideas are eligible to win money and additional business support. These awards are made possible through a generous sponsorship by Northwestern Bank. All ideas remain property of the applicant, unless otherwise agreed upon by all parties.

The EDC accepts applications for The Idea Challenge year-round. Apply online at theideachallenge.com or pick up an application at the EDC office at 101 N. Farwell, Suite 101 in downtown Eau Claire.


The Eau Claire Area EDC, a nonprofit organization, is a public/private sector partnership that works to advance economic prosperity through business and job growth. The EDC does this by working with individuals, businesses, and communities seeking to create, retain, and expand business in the Eau Claire area. For more information contact the EDC at 715-834-0070 or visit http://www.eauclaire-wi.com