Entrepreneurs-In-Residence (EIR) Brad Treat and Ken Rother hosted an Ideation Workshop at Rev that was open to all community members. The point of the event? To help anyone interested in being an entrepreneur come closer to that goal. Whether a person was looking for an idea, or already had one, Brad and Ken explained what defines a great business idea.
“Businesses solve problems that people are willing to pay for.”
Brad Treat says the bottom line is this: “Businesses solve problems that people are willing to pay for.” Both EIRs have colorful backgrounds in entrepreneurship, funding, mentoring, and teaching. Their businesses succeeded not just because they were good ideas, but because they were viable, valuable solutions to significant problems.
To start the workshop, Brad explained the types of problems a business could solve, and offered example companies built on creative solutions.
Worthy business ideas find solutions that:
-Make something more convenient
-Hedge against risk
-Solve a problem that isn’t core to the business
-Do something faster
-Combat “I can do something here that I can’t do someplace else”
-Fix “This business has been successful in one place, but they don’t have it in my town”
Some example companies included Ithaca College startup, Kettleshell, which designed a handle that capitalizes on the kettlebell workout trend by saving money for workout enthusiasts.
Brad also mentioned Rev members Ursa Space Systems for finding additional capacities for their technology, and Ithaca Hummus for retailing amazing hummus that tastes as if it was fresh from the kitchen.
“The variety of ideas reflected the diversity of fields represented by attendees: chemical engineering, academia, entrepreneurship, architecture, healthcare, marketing, innovation, energy, entertainment, and more.”
Ken Rother then led the two breakout sessions of the evening. The first session asked attendees to consider the problems they face on a daily basis, what stresses them out, seems like it should be easier, scares them, or is something that they hate doing. Each team compiled a long list of ideas in just ten minutes, ranging from boat rental technologies to chemical solutions to health problems.
The variety of ideas reflected the diversity of fields represented by attendees: chemical engineering, academia, entrepreneurship, architecture, healthcare, marketing, innovation, energy, entertainment, and more.
The teams then evaluated the viability of each idea. They ranked the ideas from 1 to 5 in the context of 7 categories:
-Capital required to start
-Sustainable competitive advantage
-Solves a significant problem
-Good fit for the team
By the end of the night, the teams were energized, smiling, and eager to get to know each other and discuss their ideas further.
The Ideation Workshop is just one of many workshops and events held at Rev each year, attracting community members from throughout the Southern Tier. See our calendar for more events, and subscribe to our monthly newsletter for regular updates.
Kristi Krulcik is a Marketing & Communications Associate for the Southern Tier Startup Alliance. To stay up-to-date on new resources from Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, join our email newsletter.