The rapid prototyping experts at Mina Product Development are offering $30,000 — and a MakerBot 3D printer — to the entrepreneur who can come up with what they’re calling The Next Thing.

4327626_orig Mina Product Development Co., Inc. has, since 1987, offered a comprehensive product development service to the Southern California area — from conceptual design and engineering, functional prototyping, and testing, to low and high volume tooling, to final volume manufacturing and assembly.

“We understand what it takes to launch a product. So we’re offering over $30,000 in services that will help you launch the next ‘big thing,’” said Babek Khamenian, Mina Product Development’s founder and CEO.

minaMina starts its clients off with a 3D printed prototype to get a basic model to see, touch, and test. Then the model is duplicated with silicone molds. Once the silicone molds are made, clients are able to get as few as one sample or as many as a few hundred.

“Frequently our clients need pre-production models to field test for various reasons. Sometimes it’s for packaging, marketing, or sales meetings. Our silicone molded products allow our clients to get a working model without having to pay for the tooling,” Khamenian adds.

The #WHATSNEXT contest was announced last week and detailed at CES in Las Vegas, and the winner will be chosen by January 31st.

The winning entrepreneur will have the chance to work with branding and marketing experts who’ll be available throughout the product launch, and the contest winner will be decided by a team of three judges.Mina Products oculus rift

One of those judges, Brooks Johnson, CEO of business development/communications enteprise Aesthetic Cogency, says it’s about more than building a better mousetrap.

“Branding is everything,” Johnson says. “You can have the best idea out there and even build it. If no one knows about it, your product will collect dust in a warehouse.”

Cheri Garcia, President of Cheri Garcia Consulting, is the final arbiter for the contest entries. Garcia specializes in working with entrepreneurs and startups, and her firm has been involved in the media placements for Cyber Dust, Mark Cuban’s private text messaging app.

“This contest was created for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. It’s everything someone needs to jumpstart their idea,” Garcia says.

And angel investors are on board with the idea as well.

“I’ll be keeping my eye on the winner of the #WHATSNEXT campaign. Projects that make it through this process are turnkey. Since they’ve been vetted, my investment goes to securing inventory as opposed to marketing,” says angel investor, Neel Rapport. “These are very lucrative investment opportunities.”

If you’d like to apply for the #WHATSNEXT campaign, you can do that here, and Mina will send you information on how to apply.

Coming up with a great idea to use 3D printing to prototype or build you product is only the start of the process; you’ll still need to bring it to market and then get it in front of the masses. This contest from Mina Product Development should offer you some help. What do you think of this kind of contest seeking entrepreneurs? Let us know in the #WHATSNEXT Contest forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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