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Local inventors and entrepreneurs gathered at the Lynxx office in Camp Douglas June 28 to exchange ideas, network, and share resources.

Juneau County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Terry Whipple said emphasized the importance of connecting people with business ideas so they can help one another.

Whipple recalled a time he helped connect a handful of people who were able to assist one another in solving business problems they were encountering. He connected a family who produced healthy snacks with a farmer who was able to supply them with the produce they needed to create a new flavor. But it didn’t stop there. An individual who provided vending machines with a focus on healthy snacks learned about the family’s product and began to put them in his machines, and a local businessperson decided said he he had been looking for vending machines with healthy options for his office and expressed interest in having one installed at work.

“The number one thing we do is teach people the proper steps to explore an idea,” Whipple said. “The other reason we come together is motivation. Anybody who has started a business or even tried to bring an idea out knows how hard it can be… (another) reason we bring people together is to tap into each other’s networks.”

Whipple emphasized the importance of recognizing one’s own skills but also limitations.

“A lot of times, especially with an inventor, not only do they hate the business part, they’re not good at it,” Whipple said. “So we encourage the inventors to get with the entrepreneurs and do an operating agreement.”

The guest speaker for the meeting was Lisa Taylor, Founder and President of Strategic Partnerships, LLC, a firm focused on elevating employee retention and engagement. Taylor’s presentation centered on business risks and resources available to minimize risk.

She provided resources on the services LegalShield and IDShield, which provide customers with a network of professionals to protect their legal interests and identity information respectively, for a subscription fee.

“If you’re signing a contract, you want to be sure it’s protecting you as well as the other party,” Taylor said.

Taylor emphasized the importance of particular pieces of information and the damage misplacing that information can do.

“There’s lots of ways that identity thieves can use your social security number,” Taylor said.

Taylor uses LegalShield herself and recommended it for its network of lawyers and their availability in the case of a legal emergency. Taylor highlighted the importance of legal representation, especially for new businesses. She recalled a woman she met who had to close her new business almost immediately because an employee filed a lawsuit against here and the cost of a potential legal battle was more than her fledgling business could bear.

“They’re going to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to restore your identity,” Taylor said.

Whipple said one of the most import aspects of Inventor and Entrepreneur Club meetings is the opportunity to come away with more information and resources.

“The reason we bring people together is to learn a little bit each time,” Whipple said. “And that’s something nobody can take away from you.

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl