March 20, 2007

Search for next 'American Inventor' starts at SIUC

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois inventors who think they've come up with the next "hot" new product can test the waters on Saturday, March 24, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center and the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, are teaming up with FremantleMedia North America to help kick off the second season of ABC's "American Inventor." FremantleMedia North America also produces "American Idol."

Saturday's pre-audition event, set for 9 to 11 a.m. at SIUC's Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road, Carbondale, offers Southern Illinois inventors a chance to demonstrate their idea before an audience of their peers and a panel of judges. There will be prizes for the top-rated ideas, and technical support will be available to help inventors navigate the "American Inventor 2" application process and eligibility requirements.

The Illinois audition for the show will take place beginning March 31 at Chicago's Navy Pier.

The show's grand prize winner will receive $1 million and the opportunity to market their product worldwide.

For more information about the pre-audition event, contact the Illinois Small Business Development Center at 618/536-2424. Pre-registration is not required.