Leeds Inventors Group 28/11/07 Guest speaker Paul White of “Ideas North West”
Paul gave the group an interesting talk on the development of Blackburn Inventors Group – one of the longest-established groups in the country.
The group actually receives funding from Blackburn & Darwen councils – the only group which has managed to achieve this. As a result they are able to assist inventors in the local area with up to 50% of their costs – patenting, prototyping etc
Paul himself has previously worked in design in private industry and has been involved in patenting so he’s familiar with what is involved and the potential pitfalls. In 2001 he got a group of inventors together to form a self-help group. A lot of these inventors already had experience of patenting. Initially there was a suggestion of looking at an inventions promotion company to see if that might be a route to market for their products. They found it impossible to find a decent one and decided to do it themselves.
Since then the group – now known as “Ideas North West” – has formed a separate entity – “Ideas North West Ltd.” (controlled by a committee of members from “Ideas North West”) which can employ outsiders briefly for a fee to help members of the group. The group has developed successful partnerships with business support organisations in both the public and private sector, universities, and specific groups such as IP specialists.
The group has a track record of successful inventions and Paul went on to describe some of these, including a flexible finger splint and an aid for people with arthritis to enable them to put in and remove plugs. Paul said that he is constantly driving the point home to the council that this is economic activity driven by invention.
Paul’s talk certainly showed the potential for development within an inventors group – providing they have contacts at a senior level in the local organisation.