Serial innovator awarded Business Innovation Grant

January 10, 2012 09:27 AM
A business started by a Galesburg woman has been awarded a Business Innovation Grant from the City of Galesburg. A $10,000 forgivable loan will allow Linda Lewis, inventor of the Flipple line of baby products, to expand her marketing efforts and patent new products; with future jobs and economic opportunity being created in the process.
Lewis started the Flipple Company in 2009 following an experience she had while boating with her infant grandson. Lewis discovered on the trip that a baby bottle had been left behind and decided to improvise by funneling formula into a water bottle with a piece of paper. This method proved inefficient and led Lewis to return home and prototype the first Flipple: a funnel that when attached to any standard plastic water bottle can be "flipped" to hold a baby nipple.
Lewis, who received a $5,000 grant in 2009 to develop packaging and a website, noted how her company has grown since. "With placement in over 350 stores in the Midwest, building awareness and product movement will be very important," Lewis stated. "I also have three other products to bring to market and part of this money will fund the development and prototype expenses. The Flipple Company will match this money by hiring a part time employee and financing the patent application costs."
In developing her business Lewis has worked closely with members of the City's Economic Development Department and the EBI Network. "Galesburg is very lucky to have this aggressive team. They have been instrumental in guiding and offering assistance whenever I need help. As a one-woman-show, it is important to have experienced people to bounce ideas and challenges against. They always have time to advise," she added.
"In addition to our renewed focus on industrial recruitment, we will remain continually dedicated to assisting in the development of promising new businesses in the community - the Flipple Company among them," said Cesar Suarez, City of Galesburg Economic Development Director.
In November Lewis took part in a class on Serial Innovation offered by the University of Illinois BIS and hosted by the City of Galesburg and the EBI Network. "At first, I thought this program would not apply to me; but after just one hour, I realized how it would mold the way I do business moving forward. It instantly constructed my 'to do list' and after acting upon it, resulted in some very positive results," Lewis commented. The course, like the Business Innovation Grant program, is just one of many services offered by the City to assist entrepreneurs in bringing their ideas to market.
For more information about the Business Innovation Grant Program contact Cesar Suarez, Economic Development Director, at or 309-345-3680.


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