Redwood Falls, Minn. — Ag inventions will see the light of the sun at Minnesota’s renowned “invention convention” this year. AURI is joining the Minnesota Inventors Congress in June to showcase the state’s agricultural innovations.

The Minnesota Inventors Congress, the oldest annual inventor gathering in the country, has provided a forum for entrepreneurs to showcase product innovations for 44 years. Established in 1958 to spur economic development in the Redwood Falls area, MIC has grown into the nation’s premier invention event.

Deb Hess, MIC board president, says that the event gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to “test market” their products, and “manufacturers attend hoping to locate new products … consultants are available to talk about product development.”

“The entrepreneurial spirit … is what is great about this event. Inventors think outside the box,” Hess says “They don’t always know about the business side of product development. They need some guidance.” MIC provides resources to help move inventions forward, she says.

“(The congress) is a new venture for us,” says Dan Lemke, AURI communications director. “But it’s a natural fit. And there are similarities in what we are all about. AURI provides assistance to develop new ag-based products and to react to market opportunities. Like MIC, we offer unique resources to Minnesota innovators. It’s just that our innovations are all ag-based.”

AURI’s participation will include product displays, interactive games and demonstrations by several AURI clients. “We’re hoping to have some clients give samples to congress visitors,” Lemke says.

Organizers say they’re constantly on the lookout for ways to keep the congress fresh and relevant. “The goal is always to bring in something new,” says MIC Coordinator Jennifer Moritz. “We want to attract more than just the inventors.”

“The integrity of the congress is defined by who we partner with,” adds Hess. “Highlighting Minnesota ag products is an absolutely perfect partnership.”

The Inventors Congress annually attracts more than 100 student inventors and 50 to 100 independent commercial inventors from across America. Thousands more attend the three-day event.

The Minnesota Inventors Congress Expo 2002 runs June 14-16 at the Redwood Area Community Center Fieldhouse in Redwood Falls. For more information visit the MIC Web site at www.invent1.org or call (800) 468-3681.