Michigan Inventors Coalition

The Jackson Inventors Network is offering admission the the Michigan Inventors Expo for both days for just $25.00. To get this price you must be a paid, active JIN member (paid more than active). Email John Hopkins at johndhopkins1@gmail.com and he will add you to the paid JIN attending list. This year’s Expo will take place Sept. 15-16, 2017, at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, 219 South Harrison Road, East Lansing, MI 48824

Join us for a day and a half of networking, pitches and education! The 5th Annual Michigan Inventors Expo will allow you to showcase your product, participate in the Spin, Pitch & Sell contest and takeaway helpful tips for further developing your invention.

New this year, join us September 15th, 2017 from 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM for our expert round tables, speakers and a networking reception!! Come back September 16th, 2017 from 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM to connect with our exhibitors and hear from more speakers!


Friday, Sept. 15th

2:00 – 3:00 PM Event Kickoff & Speaker: Matt Jung – Comfort Research Topic: INNOVATE MI

3:00 – 4:30 PM Expert round tables – 3, 30 minute sessions

4:30 – 5:30 PM Spin, Pitch & Sell Preliminary Round

5:30 – 7:00 PM REI Networking Reception & Mixer

Saturday, Sept. 16th

8:00 – 8:30 AM Check-in

8:30 – 9:00 AM Successful Inventors Panel

9:05 – 9:30 AM Speaker: Denise Sylvester – Regional Outreach Office, USPTO

9:30 – 10:00 AM Speaker: Karen Smoots – Inventor, Green Glove Dryer

10:05 – 10:30 AM Speaker: Ken Johnson – Inventor

Topic: Licensing your idea!

Bio: In 1979 Ken Johnson started a game manufacturing company in his parents’ basement producing games he invented. He experienced some success with his first games. His big success came in 1982 when Ken set out to design a new card game. Upon seeing the success of Uno, he wanted to design a card game that could achieve similar success. After just a couple of days sequestered in his apartment, he came up with the Phase 10 card game. His first customers included K-Mart and Meijer stores. In 1987 Ken licensed the manufacturing and distribution rights of Phase 10 and began receiving royalties from the worldwide sales. It is now produced by Mattel, is sold in over 30 countries, and is the 2nd best selling card game in the world. In the summer of 2012, Ken celebrated Phase 10’s 30th Anniversary!

10:35 – 11:00 AM Speaker: Mike Suman – Inventor

Topic: Should Your Idea Become a Business?

11:05 – 11:15 AM Speakers: Representatives from TinkrLab

11:15 – 11:35 AM Speakers: Representatives from Amazon Sales

Topic: Inventors Successes Online!

11: 40 AM – 12:15 PM Speaker: Jimmy Tomczak – Inventor/Author

Bio: Jimmy Tomczak lives to design, inspire and connect. As founder, inventor, and author, Jimmy helps doers do more. He’s launched multiple companies and was even selected to appear and taped for an episode of ABC’s hit TV show Shark Tank. His work is featured in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, CNN, and more. Jimmy is a Crain’s 20 in their 20s honoree and recently gave a TED talk entitled, “Living Your Best Life Now Starts Today.” He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and also completed the Program in Entrepreneurship.

12:30 – 2:00 PM Spin, Pitch & Sell – Finals

Q & A time about MI Inventors Groups

2:00 PM Event Wrap-up/Closing Remarks from Michigan Inventors Groups


1) Licensing – Ken Johnson- Licensing your product! Inventors Phase 10

2)  Licensing – David Fedewa -Product Licensing Specialist -InventRight 

3) Idea is it a Business – Mike Suman- 50+ Patents- Should Idea become A business? 

4) Inventor Marketing advice – Karen Smoots-Inventor/Marketer– The Green Glove Dryer

5) USPTO Parent/Trademark info – Denise Sylvester – Patents-Trademarks  Detroit USPTO Office

6) Patent Advice – Jake M. Ward – Registered  Patent Attorney ESQ

7)  “Grassroots” Business – Orville Crain- Retired from a successful “Grassroots” Business.

8) 10 steps to inventing – Marty Solvis-  10 steps to inventing! Booklet

9) Amazon Sales – Connie Larson- Amazon sales worked for VZ Hang.. 

10) Tinkelab – Chris & Melissa Allen- Young inventors Tinkelab

11) Planning/ Financials – Leandra Nisbet -Strategic Planning/ Financials  

12) “Tradeshows Unik – Gary Crain- Unik sales/Direct sales, Tradeshows

13) As Seen On TV – Joe Finkler – Packaging/Marketing As Seen On TV

14) Library Resources – Mary Kordyban- Detroit Library- Great Resources  

15) Marketing & Business Practice – Nicole Royer- Successful Marketing & Business Practises to Grow!

16) Making Conections – Casey Dubois- Selfie stand GR business- Making the right connections 

17) MI Inventors Group – John Hopkins- 501 3 c Non-Profit Paperwork &  Start up or find a  MI Inventors Group 

18) How to Win @ Pitch contest – Jordan Vanderham- How to Win @ Pitch contest!. Winners of over 6 contests

19) Buylocal Michigan – Duane Weed-Buylocal Michigan Storyteller- Video’s are a must for every business!  

20) Running Businesses -Jimmy Tomczak – Inventor/Author #1 Book exploring the highs/lows of running Multiple Businesses.

21) Prototyping – Disher Design & Development – Getting your prototype

22) REI

23) SBA of Michigan – Ken Root – what the Small Business Association has to offer you to a small entrepreneur. With Matt Jung from Comfort Research – Big Joe Brand

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