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Huggies Funds Moms with Big Product Ideas

By May 20, 2010

Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies brand is tapping into the product development skills of its mommy advocates and building brand links at the same time with a new program, Huggies MomInspired, intended to offer start-up funding to parents with a good idea.

The funding campaign kicked off with the launch in late April of a Web site where U.S. mothers 21 or older can submit their ideas and the business plans to turn them into actual products.

If Kimberly-Clark’s panel of judges finds those proposal to be worthy of support, the company will award that submitter a grant of as much as $15,000 to let it see the light of day. The company says it expects to award a total of up to $250,000 this year in several sounds of submissions.

The first submission period will close June 9. Grant proposals will be evaluated June 14-July 7, and the first awards announced July 14-Aug. 9.

“We’re excited to introduce this program as it presents a completely new open-innovation path for Kimberly-Clark and our Huggies brand,” K-C chief marketing officer Tony Palmer said in a release. As the 16th largest consumer packaged goods company in the world, we see innovation as central to our future. Huggies MomInspired not only offers the potential for the Huggies brand to identify new product innovation, it also provides an opportunity to celebrate and take our relationship with our loyal moms to a new level.”

On the Web site, K-C says it is looking for “thoroughly considered ideas that nurture the relationship between mother and child … that are original and designed to help make life easier for parents so they can better enjoy everyday moments with their little ones.” Ideas should involve products or services that will help fill unmet needs in child care from pre-natal up through six years.

The site also stresses that submissions need not involve ideas related to diapers or hygiene—Huggies’ traditional areas of innovation. Judges will award grants based on several criteria including originality, relevancy, potential commercial viability and association with the joys of parenting.

The new site offers an array of resources for would-be entrepreneurs with links to Winmark Business Solutions that offer advice on start-up topics from preparing a business plan and designing product prototypes to distribution decisions and hiring help.

K-C will promote the grant campaign in ads and links on the Huggies home page and through outreach to selected influentials among mommy bloggers.

One of these bloggers, Maria Bailey of the blog, advised Kimberly-Clark on the development of the grant program.

“Moms are some of the most inventive types of people and are naturally the perfect entrepreneur,” she said in the announcement release. “They are creative problem-solvers who are constantly working to juggle busy, multi-tasking lives.”