Chris Ritchie of the Austin Inventors and Entrepreneur Association Talks about His Group
Where are you from originally?
What university did you go to?
St. Edwards University, Austin, Texas
What brought you to Austin?
I had family working at IBM and the lure of the lakes, music and high tech was just too much.
What is the idea behind your group?
The most common question I get is “hey, I have this great idea … now what?” Austin Inventors and Entrepreneurs Association (AIEA - http://austininventors.org) is a non-profit focused on helping the individual inventor and/or entrepreneur answer that question.
What need does it fulfill?
AIEA is focused on helping the individual inventor and/or entrepreneur take the next step in the process. No matter where they are in their venture.
What exactly does your group do?
AIEA provides both online and in person opportunities for individuals in the Austin area to get access to resources that will help them in their efforts to get from idea to product. Additionally, local subject matter experts volunteer their time to provide invaluable insight to topics such as patents, finance, organization, marketing and more. As a side benefit meetings are often a positive conduit to networking. AIEA is a pay-it-forward organization that believes in the spirit of giving back to the community.
Who is it for?
We are primarily focused on providing resources to the individual inventor and/or entrepreneur. Typically the majority of members are in the early stage of idea development in much need for answers to the many questions that plague a start up venture.
What was the most challenging aspect of starting up the group?
Idea folks are protective of their ideas and understandably so. There are more scams that legitimate help in the idea industry. Getting an idea sufficiently in to the light to get it to the next step is a significant challenge.
What is the next step for you and your group?
We are looking for better ways to bring idea developers together with product developers shopping for ideas.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
The demand for new and innovative ideas is stronger than ever. Don’t be discouraged by economic rhetoric. Be determined to get your idea to the next step and be bold in seeking out those who might play a critical role in your success.