Jetpack invention a lesson in courage

Most people are not smart enough to invent a jet pack.

I’m talking about a personal jet pack that actually flies.

The man who has done it is not an aerospace engineer at NASA. He’s a self-described “Kiwi bloke in a garage with a hobby.”

Glenn Martin started on the idea in 1981, and with the support of his wife who worked overtime as a nurse for decades to support their family – his company ‘Martin Aircraft’ successfully debuted on the ASX this week, valued at $100 million.

Customers are lining up, and first round deliveries will be made at the end of 2016. His dream is for the jetpacks to one day soon be commonly used by emergency services.

Mr Martin’s success is not down to just being bloody intelligent. Most successful business owners aren’t dummies. The difference between him and Mr Average is three-fold:

  1. Sheer determination. In the age of 2-year startups, would you plug away at your idea for 34 years? (And it’s not even over yet.)
  2. Guts. There aren’t many people around who are brave or bold enough to attempt something of this magnitude. Indeed NASA tried and failed (!) in the 1950s and 1960s, despite successfully landing a man on the moon not long after.
  3. Support. Mr Martin was fortunate enough to have a partner who not only believed in him, but who was willing to support their family financially while he stayed home and ‘tinkered on the jetpack’. That’s pretty incredible.

While entrepreneurs and inventors everywhere are on their own for points 1 and 2 – fortunately for Willy Wonka’s everywhere, the government can lend a helping hand.

No, government support may not be as good as having a loving partner, but it’s a start. And if you’ve got an audacious idea but haven’t looked into what research and development grants are available, well than you really are a fool.

Here are a few to get you started:

  1. Grantfinder: helps you locate the grants and assistance programs most relevant to your business for free.
  2. Innovation grants for Australian businesses: 5 billion dollars to allocate to businesses throughout the country that have an innovative idea, but do not have the funds to develop it.
  3. The R&D tax incentive: an entitlement program that helps businesses of all types and sizes offset some of the costs of doing R&D, and to encourage them to innovate.


About the Author:

Colin Porter is the publisher of Dynamic Business and the founder and MD of credit reporting bureau, CreditorWatch. He has over 20 years experience as a business owner, specialising in general small/medium business issues, cashflow, credit management and online business. Follow CreditorWatch on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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