Off the top of your head name three female inventors: Marie Curie and. . .
If that’s as far as you got don’t feel too bad; a few years ago Annie Wood made it no further. The president of Inventive Women Inc. is now a veritable rolodex of women inventors and says she hopes the launch of the Inventive Women Web site Tuesday will educate others.
“I always wanted to bring about a certain level of awareness in the Canadian public about the fact women have produced products based on their inventions and innovations that drive various parts of the economy,” Wood says.
The company was created to provide a forum for women inventors in Canada. Wood says since its founding the three years ago it has been working towards creating a forum for female inventors in Canada. She says she got the idea for the company after a grade seven student at a private school where she was teaching asked if women invented things. She didn’t really have an answer, nor did the 30-odd teachers at the school.
The first phase of the Web is geared towards information: for example, profiles of women inventors.
Wood says the site was created with the help of the federal government, four provincial governments (Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario) and the Millennium Bureau of Canada, which provided some funding.
The second phase of the site will include services like “advice regarding patents, custom brokers — where to find out, how it all roles out — (and) insurance,” says Wood.
While the site isn’t expected to be the company’s primary source of income, Wood says it does have potential.
“Initially we weren’t really thinking about a revenue model because we weren’t thinking about conducting e-business,” says Wood, “but we soon realized, of course, that we needed to. Our goal is to create revenue through advertising. I know that that in and of itself is a problem today, but we do have a business directory we hope to populate over the next several months with clients that are interested in services this particular untapped sector.”
Another part of the business model focuses on the educational aspect of the site. Wood says it has already started to license software it developed. She says she envisions partnering with educational bodies across Canada for the delivery of its software and customization for online learning.
As for the future, Wood says she sees the site being split, one for women and one for education, developing burgeoning partnerships with a the public sector, and developing relationships with the private sector.