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A picture may paint a thousand words, but a prototype can save you a thousand dollars.

There’s nothing like a physical mock-up of a product to give an entrepreneur a clear vision of the flaws and strengths of their innovation. Having a rough version of a concept that can be touched, modified, tinkered with and expanded on, helps one learn and test the functionality of their design.

But a professional prototype may not be as simple as raiding a closet for string, glue, and cardboard. Most inventions require their makers get their hands dirty with higher grade materials, or at the very least professional tools.

Luckily, the Portland area has dozens of places and people to turn to if you’re ready to transform your idea into a test product.

Want the building blocks for prototyping for small businesses and startups? Listen to our Biz503 episode: The Nuts & Bolts of Prototyping.

You’ll want to catch this episode and learn the essentials of the prototyping process, what to bring to makers or developers, and how to recover when projects fail.

Co-hosts Mike Rogoway (business writer at The Oregonian ) and Linda Weston (principal at Rapporto) were joined by the following guest panelists:

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Carson Cook, M.S. sports product management graduate, and intern, Studio 317 

Chris Lau, general manager, ADX/Art Design Portland

Ben Storm, director of mobile strategy, Knuckleheads