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Funding an Invention

In order to take their invention from plan to product, inventors need to secure financial backing for their ideas. Many take advantage of government grants and assistance programs, but private sources are also available.It is a reality that many inventions never get off the ground or remain unknown because of a lack of adequate funding—research, development, testing, marketing and production are just a few of the costly factors involved in taking an invention off of the drawing board and into society.

There are a variety of ways that independent inventors can secure financing for their work—some private, others sponsored by government agencies. If an inventor has access to a source of personal funds, they can head-off some costs. However, most independent inventors seek outside funding through such avenues as bank loans, equity capital from investors and venture capitalists, and non-repayable and repayable government assistance programs.

Don’t plan on bringing your invention or idea to a business meeting scribbled on a paper napkin or in a working notebook. Typically, these funding sources carefully evaluate inventions, the business or development plan, judge how much an idea is worth and whether an inventor have invested enough of his own money and energy into a project.

Inventors Gateway provides links to various research centres, awards programs, financial services, and corporations and government research and development programs that can offer financial backing. Some of these include the Alberta Inno-Centre, the Government of Canada's Small Business Financing Program, the Alberta Research Council and Alberta Innovation and Science.

On a cautionary note, when looking for funding and investors, independent inventors need to be careful. Certain promotion companies that offer assistance in developing and marketing inventions charge excessive fees for unnecessary services. Inventors may also be cornered into agreements which undermine their ability to protect their intellectual property. Industry associations and government agencies can help inventors check the credibility of various sources of funding and support.

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