New Bellingham program helps inventors create companies


BELLINGHAM - A new local program has started that is designed help inventors turn a good idea into a successful business.

Earlier this month the NW Innovation Resource Center launched the BuildIt Northwest program. The goal is to help inventors build a business around a product, said Diane Kamionka, interim executive director at the NWIRC.

"This area has more hidden inventors than you might think," said Kamionka, noting that many people tinker with a product idea as a hobby but may not have the business background to start a company. "This program will help show them what stage they are at and what they need to do next."

The program plans to launch a $149 lecture series in October and is also available for one-on-one training, said Heather McKendry, program manager at the NWIRC.

"I would love to get to the point where (the lecture series) happens a couple times a year," said McKendry, adding that they also are considering regular roundtable discussions and group meetings.

There is no cost to apply for the program. It receives a variety of resource support from the community, including the Barkley Co. for the space and help from Bellingham Technical College setting up the registration process.

From the NWIRC's standpoint, the hope is that by helping inventors start a company, they will consider having the product manufactured locally, creating more jobs in this area. The NWIRC is a non-profit organization with the goal of creating economic opportunities and jobs.

To apply or for more details, visit

The cost of the lecture series was added Aug. 26, 2013.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or Read his Business Blog at or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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