Inventions like those of Jessica Mathews, would not have been created without the unique experiences and perspectives of their inventors. At age 19, Mathews invented SOCCKET
– a soccer ball that can harness energy and power lamps - - after experiencing a power outage during a family wedding in Nigeria.
Despite the importance of diversity in our innovation ecosystem, women, people of color, and individuals with lower income patent inventions at significantly lower rates than their representation in the population. The percentage of Black and Hispanic college graduates, for instance, who apply for and hold patents is about half that of White graduates. Only about 2% of all venture capital funding goes to women.
Invent Together is working to change these statistics. Invent Together is an alliance of universities, nonprofits, companies, passionate individuals, and other stakeholders, brought together by a shared belief that everyone should have the opportunity to invent and patent their ideas.
Invent Together offers some solutions including advocating for policies to increase the number of patents held by the traditionally disadvantaged and the free Inventor’s Patent Academy
. The academy is an e-learning course aimed to help people understand the patenting process and get them ready to apply for their own patent. It also explores challenges inventors may face along the way—particularly those that typically affect women, people of color, veterans, low-income individuals, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented inventors—and provides advice to overcome them.