Archive for the 'Contests & Opportunities' Category


Quick and Quirky Throwdown on April 14th

I’m not sure yet how I feel about Quirky, the new crowdsourcing site for inventors and developers. I just don’t know if I’ll ever want to spend a hundred bucks, sign away all intellectual property rights and wait for… well, possibly nothing. So like I said: the jury’s still out.

That said, however, I did get an interesting email today from Quirky (membership is free) announcing the next “Quick and Quirky” event where the team at Quirky will chose one product to develop start-to-finish within a twenty-four hour period. Submissions for weather and garden-related products will be accepted at 11 am EDT on April 14th and the winning product will launch at 11 am the following morning. And the best part is: submissions are free! So if you’ve been wanting to see what Quirky is all about (but you’re cheap like me) this could be the perfect contest for you.

Besides, you don’t want those poor guys to stay up all night for nothing, do you? So start brainstorming and save the date for April 14th!

Find more details here on the Quirky blog.


Shark Tank is Casting!

Aching to get your reality-star groove on? Have invention, will travel? Then get on over to ABC and apply for Shark Tank. It’s pretty basic–all you do is submit a general overview of your idea by email, no supplemental materials required.

And for heaven’s sake, if you haven’t heard of Shark Tank, go here. Even my parents watch this show.


Inventor’s Spotlight at the National Hardware Show

The National Hardware Show is just around the corner and if you’ve got an innovative home-related product, this could be the show for you! With over 2,800 companies exhibiting, it’s one of the biggest baddest annual trade shows in the world. If you’re planning on heading out this May make sure to check out the Inventor’s Spotlight, sponsored by the United Invention Association (UIA) and Garden Weasel, a special exhibition category (and area?) reserved for new products.

Unique opportunities for Inventor’s Spotlight exhibitors include a chance to earn special recognition from the UIA in one of five categories like “most eco-friendly” and “best for simplicity.” Participants will also get to pitch their product live to the bigwigs at Garden Weasel–which apparently could “get your product licenced, promoted and possibly a TV commercial.”

And did I mention it’s in Las Vegas? So even if you don’t make a single sale, at least you can count on a free drink.

Sure sounds a heck of a lot more exciting than the World of Concrete my husband attends every year.

For Inventor’s Spotlight details, contact John Lederer at or 203-840-5381.


Invent foam finger, win $10000

Hey NCAA fans! If you have a good idea for a “fan” product, you could win $10000 from Coke Zero, plus four tickets to the 2011 Final Four. Ideas must be practical, innovative and should “improve the fan experience.” Submission ends March 12th at midnight Eastern–so if you have a winning idea, hustle on over to Coke’s Department of Fannovation and submit. Looks like all you need is a brief description and either a drawing, photo or short video. Complete rules are here.

Beware though: this is one of those contests where submitting your idea gives the sponsor all rights to the invention. In other words, if you have a real invention that you think might get some traction one day, don’t waste it on this contest.

However, it just might be the perfect place to publicly launch the SNACK GRABBER.


Pepsi Wants to Give You Money

Do you need a reason to go out and buy more Pepsi? If you do, your moment has arrived. Get out there and work yourself into a caffeinated frenzy of innovation as soon as possible… because Pepsi wants to give you cash for all those sugar-fueled ideas!

Pepsi’s new Refresh Project is giving away almost $1.5 million every month to fund ideas that “will have a positive impact.” Grants of all sizes will be awarded to individuals, businesses and non-profits, ranging from $5k up to $250k (based on the size of the idea and the needs/resources of the folks behind it). Grants are available in six categories: health, arts & culture, the planet, neighborhoods, food & shelter and education. Submission starts the first of every month and goes to the 15th or until Pepsi receives 1000 ideas, whichever comes first.

There is a “public vote” that is part of the funding process but I can’t quite figure out how it affects the outcome, except that the top 100 runners-up from each category will automatically be rolled over to the next month’s competition. While I’m not sure that soda’s going to change the world, there are some truly inspiring ideas up for funding this month–everything from special-needs cheerleading to crayon recycling to diaper distribution. And it’s always nice to see one of the big guys finding a way to give back.

So, if you’ve got an idea, get your fanny of the couch and start typing. You might just get the money you need to give your invention legs! I bet you can even type and hold your Pepsi at the same time.

Sarah Gupta, MD

Welcome to the "official" blog of the Buff Cuff, a resource for anyone interested in inventing or inventions. Happy reading!