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Invention: Mother of a Convention

September 02, 1993|ANNE LOUISE BANNON

Have an idea for a thingamajig that does windows in half the time? How about a prototype of a doohickey that makes nailing down drywall a snap? What if a little seed money would make your widget a bestseller?

Then the seventh annual Invention Convention this weekend at the Pasadena Center is for you.

"Everybody invents," said convention president and CEO Stephen Gnass. In the years he has been putting on the convention, he has worked with housewives, engineers, all sorts of people.

Even if you aren't an inventor or entrepreneur looking for a new product to sell, there will be a host of nifty gadgets and whatzits to check out, such as a sound system for fetuses that wraps around the expectant mother's tummy.

Gnass started the convention while working as a marketing consultant for small businesses, including several inventors. He discovered that "not only did (the inventors) not understand about business, but also about marketing."

While eating dinner with a friend who was a consultant, the light bulb went off in Gnass' head for a convention that would get business people and entrepreneurs together with the inventors.

"I thought it would be a piece of cake," Gnass said.

It turned out to be anything but. Gnass now works on the convention full time, year-round. Part of the problem is that inventors and entrepreneurs tend to be rather independent types and there are not lists of them around to draw from.

Gnass, who lives in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, will be giving a seminar on the business of inventing. It is one of several seminars open to the public.

Convention hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Monday at the center, 300 E. Green St. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for people older than 65 or younger than 12.

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