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Three Oregon Entrepreneurs: Products to improve lives

December 6, 2009

By Kylene Fickenscher
Oregon Entrepreneurs Network

The founders of Dynamic Drain Solutions, Uro Concepts and Big ‘I’ Group understand the challenges of educating the market on innovative products that utilize a unique concept design.  More importantly, however, each of these entrepreneurs has developed valuable products that are working to improve the lives of others.

Dynamic Drain Solutions: Sean Scorvo impacts both individual health, as well as the environment

Sean Scorvo’s experiences as an ER physician fueled his passion for developing a mechanical device used to capture and dispose of hair clogs found in waste streams of tubs and sinks.  Sean now serves as the President of Dynamic Drain Solutions, which recently released this innovative product.   Although the device may initially seem like a niche solution, its value grows exponentially as you begin to learn about the impact it has on individual health, and the environmental implications of the chemical drain cleaners it replaces.

Chemical drain cleaners are associated with 5500 injuries a year, which is a cost of about $95 million per year.  The chemicals are very caustic and cause a great deal of toxic waste. Disposal is often difficult, as the chemicals cannot be handled directly by refuse collection.  In addition, the chemicals released into the environment are detrimental to the plumbing infrastructure, thus increasing overhead costs for the organizations that use these chemicals. By utilizing Dynamic Drain Solutions’ product, consumers can reduce the formation of hair clogs, while improving the safety and environmental issues surrounding harmful chemical drain cleaners.

As Dynamic Drain Solutions expands into the market and attempts to garner additional financing, Sean continues to refer back to the advice he would offer to other entrepreneurs, “indentify your knowledge gaps, endeavor to build a team that plugs those gaps, and treat those team members as equals in terms of respect and remuneration!”

Uro Concepts: Celeste Bonham offers clients a Medicare reimbursed medical device

Celeste Bonham, President of Uro Concepts Inc. is in the business of making life more normal for individuals with urinary incontinence (UI).  Uro Concepts develops and markets proprietary, Medicare-reimbursed, consumer-driven disposable medical devices that improve the quality of life for individuals with UI.  Better Pant, the company’s first product, has proven extremely successful, with no returns, and the newest product, the patented Uro Bag System was recently approved for reimbursement through Medicare.  Affecting approximately 5% of the U.S. population, UI continues to grow with the aging Baby Boomer demographic.

Through a comprehensive understanding of the UI market, Uro Concepts has been able to develop a strong distribution channel which has allowed their business to grow rapidly.  The relatively young age of the Uro Concepts business has allowed the team to adjust their strategy to market changes, and become more supportive and open-minded when working with distributors as compared to their competition.

One of the greater challenges the Uro Concepts team has experienced within in Portland is finding viable financing, as the investment community of Portland typically focuses on the tech and apparel industries.  Celeste believes that for changes and growth to occur within Oregon, “it would be advantageous to the entrepreneurial community to recruit more investors focused on the medical community”.

Big ‘I’ Group: social networking tools that build active participants

Jon Shanker, founder of the Big ‘I’ Group, utilizes “edutainment” to motivate audience members to become active participants in building a more healthy and sustainable future for themselves and their community.  The Big ‘I’ Group encompasses a network of scholars, doctors, and spiritual teachers that have rich academic and experiential background within the world of many spiritual traditions.  This wealth of knowledge is provided to their audiences through various media forms, including video games, films, graphic novels, comic strips or social networking tools.

Recently, the Big ‘I’ Group launched Project Restoration, a program allowing individuals to use existing media to create a community and “save the world”.  Traditional forms of media tell a story through metaphor whereas the blockbuster entertainment of Big ‘I’ Group mixes fiction with reality and allows empowered individuals to create their own story.  The company is in the business of providing consciousness raising stories, thereby stimulating individuals to make up their own mind on issues and discover their true self.

One of the greater challenges for Jon has been articulating his firm’s out of the box business model.  The Big ‘I’ Group’s relationship with OEN has been that of facilitating the connection of like-minded entrepreneurs and investors through a dynamic multi-media experience.

  
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