Mi Casa Resource Center® is committed to closing the prosperity gap for women, minorities, immigrants, and families with limited resources, helping them achieve success in education, employment, and business ownership. In each of these focus areas, there are many statistics that indicate the need for our services. Here below are just a few.
20% of jobs in Colorado do not pay a self-sufficiency wage.
Only 29% of Latinos in Colorado attain post-secondary credentials.
Immigrant Latinos earn 53% less business income than non-Latino whites, despite having higher rates of business ownership.
On average, our career participants earn an additional $10,000/year after completing our training.
83% of students served in our youth programs increased personal & social skills.
$39.9 million in revenue was generated in 2020 by businesses served by Mi Casa Resource Center®.
Bryan Stringham, who is often found designing sensors that report the social impact of products in Africa, found time to pursue another one of his life goals - inventing. As a Ph.D. student and father living in a small apartment, he wanted to get toys off the floor and provide a way for kids and families to have the thrill of building a cool racetrack without creating clutter. Lightning struck one night a few weeks into the pandemic and the idea for MagTrax was born. MagTrax (www.magtrax.co) is a marble run track that uses magnetic track pieces of 26 different varieties to let creators of all ages – from young children to adults – build their own marble runs on walls and refrigerators.
With a great deal of drive and help from Denver’s Mi Casa Resource Center®, Bryan took an idea in March 2020 and had families throughout the U.S. racing magnetic marbles by November. Mi Casa’s ProBoPat program was there to help his vision become a reality. ProBoPat refers qualified low-income inventors to volunteer patent practitioners for patent preparation and prosecution legal services on a pro bono basis.
Inventors face many barriers and risks, both of which are heightened without financial backing. Patent costs are a real barrier to low-income inventors. Bryan overcame these obstacles by crowdfunding and using ProBoPat.
Mi Casa’s ProBoPat program is available to low-income inventors in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. ProBoPat is part of Mi Casa’s Business Pathways program, which provides services including business startup training, consulting services, and Business Legal Nights to help inventors develop and grow a business related to their invention. This contributes to the agency’s mission of building financial prosperity for families.
Bryan found out about ProBoPat through a friend while he was working on his Master’s degree, saving the information until he had the right idea. That time came not only when he was earning a Ph.D., but also in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. ProBoPat facilitated the patent process by referring Bryan to a volunteer patent attorney at the firm of Lowenstein Sandler (www.lowenstein.com). The patent attorney, Nathan Greene, (www.lowenstein.com/people/attorneys/nathan-greene) provided his services free of charge. Without this support, it would have been too expensive for Bryan to pay for a patent that might not have even panned out.
Lowenstein Sandler is a national law firm with over 350 lawyers based in New York, Palo Alto, New Jersey, Utah and Washington, D.C. The firm represents leaders in virtually every sector of the global economy, with particular emphasis on investment funds, life sciences, and technology.
The Utah office assisted Bryan with the patent process for his invention. This office has maintained a close partnership with Mi Casa through volunteering with the ProBoPat program since January 2017. These partnerships save huge costs for low-income inventors throughout the Rocky Mountain area and are vital to the program’s mission. Without these efforts, many inventors would be unable to protect their intellectual property.
Frances Williams, Senior Director of Pathways at Mi Casa Resource Center said, “We believe that this is the first of many success stories for Bryan. We are proud to provide support for inventors, allowing them the opportunity to contribute to their communities as employers and long-term business owners. Mi Casa provides services to individuals in all steps of entrepreneurship, helping them through the entire business cycle. We will continue to foster an even playing field for entrepreneurs, because no great idea should be held back by a lack of resources.”
Bryan hopes that MagTrax will one day have a positive impact on millions. He wants MagTrax in every home, school, and office, and hopes that this is the first of many ventures. While the challenge of creating this product and his business has pushed his limits, he said the hard work “was all worth it” when he hand-delivered the last 10 MagTrax kit orders to expectant families two days before Christmas Day in 2020. Now, almost two years from its inception as an idea, MagTrax has continued to see exciting growth. Bryan says he can rest easy knowing that the product and business for which he has sacrificed so much to build will have the legal protection it needs to continue to grow thanks to ProBoPat. Learn more about ProBoPat here.