Oct 21, 2017 Off Comments in Manufacturing by
Cleveland Ohio Manufacturing: Northeast Ohio startups to share nearly $100,000 in grants, services aimed at product developers

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A year after India Gill got the idea that everyone should be able to see themselves reflected in toys in the marketplace, a recent contest win from MAGNET is giving the future doll producer hope that she will be able to turn a dream into a reality.

With help from the Cleveland Ohio Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, Gill can see turning her handmade cloth doll prototype into a business by the end of the year, targeting multicultural girls. A three-month incubator space and guidance from an advisor is helping her to move forward in creating a line of dolls and activity books aimed at helping young girls understand and adapt to diverse, non-traditional family arrangements. Dolls are expected to eventually reflect  kids of single-parents, blended, and foster families to multi-generational, military, same-sex, and adopted.

“I rely a lot on advisors and mentors, and I’m finally pushing myself,” said Gill, a Case Western Reserve University employee who has a masters in public health. “I’m at the stage where I’m trying to launch.”
Gill is one of six recent award recipients who participated in an online pitch competition, when MAGNET put out a call for product ideas to inventors, entrepreneurs, tinkerers or anyone with a solid idea. In the last two years, the competition has awarded about $150,000 in grants, and just as important, resources and connections to help take products and ideas to another level.

With more than 270,000 people employed in manufacturing in Northeast Ohio, and another 49,000 anticipated openings in the next 10 years, the competition is just one of the manufacturing organization’s missions to encourage people to create products.

While most pitch competitions involve focusing on pitching skills and product viability, this competition is aimed at helping companies or individuals develop products, by offering resources and funding. Eleven finalists were selected to meet in person with an expert panel of judges that included entrepreneurs, engineers and marketing experts.

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