Ovation: Lily Born’s Kangaroo Cup.
Last weekend I found myself discussing the hit ABC television program Shark Tank. For those who’ve never seen it, the program features a panel of potential investors, called “sharks”, who consider offers from aspiring entrepreneurs seeking investments for their business or product. For small business owners or those with start-up companies an opportunity to appear before the wealthy investors can open many doors to success. During our conversation, we talked about some of the really good ideas that we’d seen presented to the “sharks” and those that were really quite silly and doomed to fail. This morning, I learned about Lily Born and I wonder what the potential investors would have to say about her idea.
A few years ago, Lily came up with an invention to help her grandfather who has Parkinson’s Disease and was frequently spilling his drinks. Using moldable plastic and a bit of experimentation, she made him a plastic cup that didn’t tip and was comfortable for him to use. Later she noticed her father trying to save his laptop from spilled coffee and made him a ceramic version at a local pottery studio.
After her father used his new cup for a while he realized that it was a great invention and asked Lily what she thought about manufacturing the cup as a business. She agreed and the two set off on an adventure that included travel to China where they refined the cup, found a manufacturer and prepared for a production run of Kangaroo Cups.
In the process Lily became a role model for kids everywhere and an inspiration to inventors of all ages. And now she and her father are working to raise money to create a more durable plastic version of the Kangaroo Cup.
“This campaign is not just about bringing a product to production, it is about sending a message to every parent and every kid with an invention (which is just about every kid) that in history’s blink of an eye, we suddenly find ourselves living in a world where that dream can be made real.” – Joe Born, Lily’s father.
I love stories like this. It seems that we always hear, loud and clear, about kids that are doing bad things and busy parents who are absent or don’t participate in the lives of their children. Not only do I think Lily can be a role model for inventive children, but her father should be a role model for supportive and involved parents the world over.
I’d like to see the “sharks” start fighting over enterprising and creative children like Lily … and I’d love to see their fathers proudly standing beside them as they pitch their ideas.
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