From Prototypes to Patents: A Look Into The Santa Fe College IPDC
Alachua County is a home to startup incubators. So, it only seems fitting that Alachua County and the City of Gainesville develop the infrastructure with the right resources and tools to enable entrepreneurs. That’s where the Santa Fe College Innovative Product Development Center (IPDC) comes in. The program was born when some of Santa Fe’s top minds came together and partnered with local government. With a $500,000 grant from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) to run IPDC for three years, Santa Fe College and the Gainesville community developed a creative system to help aspiring entrepreneurs succeed.
The IPDC costs nothing for client companies to participate, and the program is accessible to anyone with a product idea or with a startup. Whether that someone has a pre-existing company or if that someone simply has an business or product idea they want to make a reality… applying is open to entrepreneurs in any stage of the professional journey.
“We connect our clients with prototyping partners, marketing partners, legal partners … any partner that would help them fill in the gaps.”
Entrepreneurship may sound sexy, but there are some hard realities behind getting a business in operation or a product in production. Take navigating the U.S. patent process for example. Or, legal services, licensing processes, commercialization, product development, business insurance… should we go on? IPDC knows there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of the romanticized startup world. That’s why the program takes on young entrepreneurs and startups as clients to give them the resources and partners they need to feel good and look good.
“We connect our clients with prototyping partners, marketing partners, legal partners … any partner that would help them fill in the gaps,” said Program Director Karl Zawoy. Just some of the many IPDC partners include four law firms, product development company Tech Toybox, and strategic branding team Underdog Marketing. Zawoy explained that partnerships are only one component of IPDC. Clients are also exposed to a wide range of events to stay informed as they develop their product or business. “Already planned for next year are three events for our clients, with seminars ranging from topics like grants and loans to human resource functions.”
“The IPDC meets any entrepreneur where they’re at, then provides them the collateral to independently flourish.”
IPDC had 32 clients in 2018 and within the next year aim to double that number. Clients range from service companies to product companies and everything in between. Just a few of the IPDC’s clients include: TissuePro Technology, a manufacturer of tissue preparation and analysis products. X-Skis, who combines skis and snowboards into one product, and Slice Engineering, an engineering team that solves problems in the additive manufacturing industry. There entrepreneurial possibilities are countless.
Take another IPDC client company, Exothermic. They create software for medical applications, cyber security, and startups. Like Exothermic, many beginning inventors and entrepreneurs are smart and passionate, yet not fully experienced in professional undertakings. Through IPDC, Exothermic has had access to resources like trainings, presentations, and partnerships so that they could effectively get up and running. Trainings include topics such as drafting a business plan or developing a business model, while presentations cover subjects like pitching to investors or how to apply for patents. The IPDC meets any entrepreneur where they’re at, then provides them the collateral to independently flourish.
Take a look for yourself. For more information or to apply, visit the IPDC website. There, you’ll find a full list of resources, events, and the partners available to clients. There’s no catch; just a team of smart people helping other smart people.
Article contributed by Meg Boria-Meyer