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One Way to Get a Product into Big Chains

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How Entrepreneurs Can Get Their Products into Big ChainsIt's the dream of many inventors to get a big retail chain to carry their product. This summer, there's a unique opportunity to get your ideas in front of several major national retailers -- but it'll cost you.

A "Made in America" contest is being held through Aug. 29 by consumer-product development company Edison Nation. The organization -- which spun out of the award-winning PBS-TV show Everyday Edisons -- has a $25 million Innovation Fund that invests in new ideas.

For $25, you can send in your product idea. Why might you want to consider this? Contest partners include Bed Bath & Beyond and PepBoys, which are both on the lookout for new products out of the contest they could add to their shelves.

As you may have guessed from the name, the purpose of the competition is to stimulate more U.S.-based manufacturing. If your product is chosen a winner, the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership helps you find an appropriate American facility in which to make your product.

Your business also gets a $2,500 advance against future royalties. Here may be the dark side of this contest -- Edison Nation takes a 50-50 split of royalties on products they help develop. That's a big chunk of future revenue to give up, so consider carefully if this opportunity is right for you.

Made in America is one of many contests Edison has running. Other active product searches are sponsored by Irwin Tools and As Seen on TV, which is looking for the next hit infomercial-type product -- if you think you have the next Hooked on Phonics or Snuggie, check it out. Other current contests are for product categories including pets, mobile apps, and medical products.

But that 50-50 royalty split seems to be standard with all Edison's contests. The contests offer a strong opportunity to get your product in front of a major retailer -- but be ready to split the future income that might come from your brainstorm.

Will your business enter any contests this year? Leave a comment and let us know where you compete.

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