Finalist Q&A: CTC Innovations

CTC Innovations creates and sells products that help busy families and people. They have created a product called My Healthy Eating Chart for use by adults or to help adults teach children how to eat a balanced diet based on the USDA Food Pyramid Guidelines.


Idea Cafe: How did you come up with the idea for your business, and what were your influences and sources of motivation?

Laura Melton: I have always been a form creator – in every job I ever had I would create forms to standardize my job duties - it’s one of those things that just comes naturally. And as a single parent of 4, my life requires some degree of organization. For mental survival, I created several items for us to use at home including a magnetic Calendar (not yet produced for retail sale), a magnetic Chore Chart and a Healthy Eating Chart. They worked like a charm – even my youngest who couldn’t read could understand by looking at the pictures. And as their friends came over, I noticed they too loved to play with the magnets on the calendar and chore chart, and to check boxes on the eating chart. I had always been interested in having a website, so the kid’s (and other parents) interest encouraged me to further develop the products for retail sale. This has been a 10 year process! - going from idea to retail product. Much of my early motivation to keep taking the next step came from reading the stories and eventual successes of other entrepreneurs on Idea Cafe. Having that supportive network is critical, especially in the beginning. When you keep going, things start to happen – like being recognized for this grant. And we have recently begun to have some success in having our Healthy Eating Chart used in schools to teach kids about the food pyramid - then they get to take the Chart home and use it as a tool to follow the food pyramid on a daily basis. Knowing that you are helping kids across the country form the foundation of a healthy lifestyle is very motivating!

What do you consider to be a unique feature of your business?

I think the most unique feature of my business is the products – they are created by CTC Innovations from start to finish, so they are not available from any other source at this time. They are created (and field tested!) by a mom that knows some of what it takes to keep a busy family organized, and hopefully the products do and will continue to help other busy families operate a little smoother. My goal is to help take at least some stress out of the hectic lives of busy families – and provide parents (and teachers) with fun ways to teach kids good habits while they are young and eager to learn.


What are your thoughts on the future of small businesses in a slowing economy and their importance to the vitality of the local community?

As we know, small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. While it can be a tough time to start up a business, the slowing economy also provides a unique opportunity to fill certain niches as individuals and businesses are being forced to change old habits. As the belts are tightened, people and companies look for unique and innovative ways to accomplish more with less. It’s a time for change, and that always opens new doors.

Why should the Idea Cafe regulars vote for you?

This is the Originality and Innovation Grant – I think our products fit those descriptions well. I hope others will see the uniqueness and usefulness of our products and help us reach more people by increasing our advertising budget by awarding us the grant. Regardless, this has been a great experience and I thank everyone for their time and interest.


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