Calling all backyard inventors!

Launching the INR Technology & Innovation Awards last week were (l-r) Sue Ryan from the NSW Department of State and Regional Development, INR Technology & Innovation Awards committee chair Lynne de Weaver, Northern Rivers Regional Development Board chair Margot Sweeny and Rowena Bell-Bradbury from AusIndustry.

Local inventors sitting on a tricky new gadget or clever idea could win themselves $10,000 worth of help developing their product and selling it to the masses by being named the 2006 Inventor of the Year.

Entries are now open for the Invest Northern Rivers (INR) Technology & Innovation Awards, which were launched last week in Lismore, and Southern Cross University is providing senior business students to act as mentors, assisting people to prepare their award submission.

According to Northern Rivers Regional Development Board executive director, Katrina Luckie, the awards are designed to help local innovators turn their ideas into a commercial reality.

Often innovators and inventors invest most of their resources and passion into developing their idea or technology, and its often a challenge for them to actually translate that into a saleable product, Katrina said. These awards can put you on the path to turning your bright idea into a business, and last years winner Dennis Gravolin is a great example of someone who has progressed in leaps and bounds since winning the major prize.

Dennis, from Maclean, developed a product called Trailer Vision used when towing a caravan or trailer so the driver knows if brake lights or indicators have stopped working. The idea came about after Dennis saw a nasty accident and government departments are now looking at installing them on vehicles for safety reasons.

Since winning, Trailer Vision has become available all over Australia and there are now plans to break into the American market with the arrival of an American patent last week.

A special workshop is being held at SCUs Tweed campus next Wednesday, July 5, from 5.30-7pm to help people with their application.

Application forms can be downloaded from or you can phone Lydia Kirby 6622 4011 for more info. Applications close on September 11.

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