PACE TEAM “Inventertainers” take TOP 3 honors

Hello!Make48 D.C. was such an innovative event to see and be a part of. When Make48 first began last year, the team and myself never would have thought we would end up at a world renowned location in Washington D.C. When the opportunity presented itself, we couldn’t say no. Without the help of Tricia Edwards and the rest of the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation staff, this event would not have happened. So, thank you to their hardworking team.

The competition started off on Friday, June 10th with speakers and the challenge theme announcement. Elizabeth Dougherty spoke on behalf of the United States Patent Office and Alison Oswald also spoke about being an archivist at the Lemelson Center. Shark Tank All Stars captivated the audience with their exciting stories about the TV show. Aaron Krause, Founder of Scrub Daddy, Judy Edwards, Co-Founder of Squatty Potty, and John DePaola, from The Paint Brush Cover, went over their products and how they got to be where they are today.

After all the speakers, the challenge theme was announced. The theme for this event was Eco-Friendly Household Products. Teams could create products based on water conservation, recycled products, saving power, etc. Saturday came around quickly as the teams were off to work. They went on a hardware and supply run to Lowe’s to get any supplies they might need to create their prototype. Lowe’s was more than happy to open their doors to the teams and the Make48 crew for this frantic tool run.

Once they came up with their product idea and sketched it out, they headed over to our Tool Techs to make their product come to life. They had access to Ultimaker 3D Printers, Epilog Laser Cutters, and ShopBot CNC Tools.

We also had other amazing sponsors come to check out the event from Grovewood Ventures, Media One Products, PACE Systems, Swan Hose, and especially QVC. To have a large brand like QVC not only sponsor Make48, but come to the competition means so much to us. QVC believes in product development and entrepreneurs like we do, and it was a perfect alignment. We are elated to have a global business like QVC be a part of the Make48 experience.

While the teams were hard at work, we had more speakers take the stage outside the Spark Lab in the National Museum of American History. Michael Razavi of the United States Patent Office spoke about how to obtain a patent and the process behind it. We also had the Shark Tank All Stars speak again so the public got a chance to hear about their fascinating stories. We had a surprise when Shark, Lori Greiner, called John DePaola in the middle of their panel and wished all the teams good luck in the competition!  The public was also able to hear from one team member from each competing team. They shared their thoughts about the competition so far, and what they hoped to create.

Once the competition ended on Sunday, the teams had to pitch their innovative products to top representatives from QVC, AnthroTronix, The Handy Camel, and Pivot International. Each judge was a specialist in their own industry and gave insight into how the product could impact the world. It was exciting to see what the teams created! We saw products that had outlets to charge items using solar power to accessible compost bins. The judges ended up making their decision for their top 3:

First Place: Save Flow by Team 801- a water conservation faucet attachmentSecond Place: Lemon Shine by Team Trident- cleaning product using all natural lemon juice

Third Place: Wet’s Up! by Inventertainers- water absorbing product to keep plants hydrated

I want to personally thank everyone involved for taking part in this once in a lifetime event. To the teams… this event would be nothing without your hard work and motivation to compete. To the sponsors, your support means the world, so thank you for believing in us and that “everyone has a big idea”. To the Tool Techs, thank you for working with the teams the entire 48 hours and keeping their spirits high. To the Lemelson Center and the National Museum of American History, thank you for allowing us to have this competition at this amazing location and working with us to plan and execute the event.

We’re also really excited to announce the next Make48 competition! We are gearing up for the next event back in… Kansas City! I cannot wait to bring this event back to where it originated. Mark your calendars for October 28th-30th at the Kansas City Art Institute. The team applications are open, so apply today!