It’s down to just 20 finalists in Walmart’s second annual Get on the Shelf contest and, tonight, one of them will be chosen as the big winner.
Each of them will have their chance to make their final pitch. For every one of them, there are countless others just trying to get in front of a retailer.
Inventors can spend up to $10,000 just for a patent and it can take two years just to learn if you’re approved. In the last year, Americans have submitted 576,763 patents for their ideas with less than half that number actually granted.
It’s big stakes for the 20 finalists. Walmart solicited entries in July from entrepreneurs and small-business owners hoping to get their product on the shelves of Walmart in front of millions of customers. In August, the public was allowed to vote on video entries and the finalists were selected.
One finalist is Gabriel Bestard, whose smart lock for your front door syncs with your cell phone and unlocks the door as you approach.
Synette Tom is also in the top 20, set to make her pitch to Walmart tonight with her invention Gibi Pet Locator, a GPS for your dog. You put her device on their collar and it tracks your dog’s every move.
Kimberly McCain, a mother from Tennessee, is pitching her Eraselet, a bracelet for your kids that erases. But a key part of her presentation was that she’s already chosen the American factory in Hot Springs, Ark., that would get the order. She’s out to erase those “Made in China” tags.
“They just assume they can’t get it done here,” McCain said. “Manufacturers are here and they want our business.”
One Iowa dad, Randy Belding, who invented a race track called BluTrak, is also in the top 20. With his invention, your kids will design the loops but American workers will make the tracks.
“I would actually get more excited that I could employ people, I could actually get people working again,” he said.
Angelle Albright of New Orleans, who had the judges in tears with her Chemo Beanies head wrap invention, is also one of the 20 finalists.
“I watch the news and I see that we want jobs in America that we need to be able to make products here,” she said.
Watch the first Get on the Shelf webisode and vote for this week’s winner at getontheshelf.walmart.com.
ABC News’ Eric Noll contributed to this report.