TMP Mentor Bob Cousins discusses the Innovation Lab

Innovation Lab

In an era where innovation and entrepreneurship are key drivers of economic growth and technological advancement, our Innovation Lab is committed to nurturing the creative and commercial potential of young students.

We aim to guide these aspiring innovators from idea generation to market success, focusing on practical application and business acumen rather than just patent acquisition.

Our Purpose

To empower young innovators and entrepreneurs by providing the tools, knowledge, and support necessary to transform their ideas into viable commercial products and services. Through mentorship, group collaboration, and practical business planning, we strive to convert creative concepts into tangible outcomes with market potential.

Our Aspiration

To become a leading catalyst in youth-driven innovation and entrepreneurship, helping shape the future by bringing groundbreaking technologies and business models to market. Our vision encompasses not only the nurturing of individual talent but also contributing to the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Core Values

Empowerment and Education: Fostering an environment where young minds are empowered with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the innovation world.

Collaboration and Community: Promoting teamwork and shared learning experiences in one-on-one settings and group dynamics.

Practical Innovation: Prioritizing actionable innovations over theoretical inventions.

Responsiveness and Adaptability: Keeping abreast of changes in patent laws, market trends, and educational methodologies to provide relevant and efficient guidance.


  1. Enable at least 50% of participants to develop a market-viable product or service annually.
  2. Facilitate the filing of provisional patents where beneficial, streamlining the journey toward utility patents.
  3. Establish an alumni network and industry contacts to assist in mentoring and funding opportunities.
  4. Long term: Secure funding or sponsorship for at least 30% of viable projects within the first two years of inception.

Strategic Approach

Individualized Support: Providing comprehensive mentorship and guidance for each project, from conception to market entry.

Expert Knowledge Sharing: Organizing talks and workshops with experts on funding, VC rules, and market strategies.

Programs and Initiatives

Idea Fest & Hackathons: Hosting events for idea sharing, prototype development, and creative problem-solving.

Science/Makers Fairs: Participating in local school science fairs to showcase innovative projects and encourage public engagement.

TMP Podcast and Substack Connection: Utilizing media channels for broader outreach, sharing success stories and learning resources.

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) Development: Guiding students to create MVPs to validate their business ideas.

Resource Development for Mentors: Offering tools and techniques to communicate and guide mentees effectively.

High School Outreach: Tailoring information and resources to meet the unique needs and perspectives of high school students.

A Cut Above: Lily Osmon

Invention: The Cardinal Knife

The Cardinal is a knife created for petite hands and aims to help people properly hold knives by designing a grip within the top of the blade to keep your technique correct, preventing wrist and forearm pain. As we revised and corrected details to our patent-pending design, we realized our knife was uniquely comfortable for more. SOL Cookware is creating the cardinal in different sizes so you can share the comfort interchangeably. Customize your experience with engraving, mix and match colors depending on your mood. Create your own experience and expand your curiosity in the kitchen.

Mentor Impact

I’m Lily Osman and I am the founder of Sole Cookware. I am a trained Chef by trade, Master’s student, and most importantly a full time inventor and entrepreneur. Sole Cookware is launching our first product on Memorial day of 2024, it is a lot of work right now but the team is excited and ready for the product to be out in the world! My company started with design work and in house prototyping in 2022 and became an official LLC in 2023.

The launch is focused on the most important tool in the kitchen, The Chef Knife. After countless (truly) prototypes we have an award winning design for our beautiful Knife, which we have named The Cardinal. In the last year we have been able to have one patent filed and a baby patent in the works as well as an on-going ‘Master List’ which currently has over 30 patents we plan to file after launch. Sole Cookware was awarded an IDA (International Design Award) in 2023. On a more personal accomplishment side, I was awarded the Mentee of the Year Award in 2023, nominated by my Mentor Bob Cousins.

In our first meeting I remember Bob saying, I don’t know why we were matched; we are opposites; in some ways I suppose that is true. What is untrue is our core values are exactly aligned. We have had nearly weekly meetings since being introduced.

Bob may not give himself enough credit for the impact he has. Effortlessly, he communicates how to not just improve my business with unique approaches but he advocates for my well being. It can be lonely to be innovative or to keep going with an idea, in those moments I look back at emails Bob send to me “you are important to me” or “I *DO* believe in you, you are becoming a force of nature…”

I know wherever my innovations take me I want Bob involved. I want his voice in my head and knowledge accessible. Bob has become more than a mentor as he shared a Book Project with me that we are collaborating on, his trust in my vision for the book speaks volumes and makes me excited for publishing.

A Mentor like Bob is priceless and is a relationship I cherish daily and know that he will likely be my go-to person for as long as I can possibly get him to sign up for that role.

The Cardinal

Company | SOL Cookware

Lead Designer | Gizem Karatas

Design Team | Lily Osman (CEO), Gizem Karatas (CDO)

Project Location | New York

Prize | Bronze in Home / Kitchen: Accessories/Tabletop

Innovation Impact: Sam Benoit

Invention: The Swim Fin
“The Innovation Lab allowed me to bring forth multiple projects and discuss the most appropriate for a patent application. I went through the patent process for a 3D-printed swimming device, the Swim Fin, and ideated additional aspects of the invention and more project ideas for the future. During several meetings, inventors from different parts of the world in distinct parts of the innovation journey came together to brainstorm new products that could make an impact.”

Innovation Lab Leadership Team

Bob Cousins | Co-Leader

Bob Cousins has worked with startups in both energy and computing for more than 40 years. Bob has served as CTO and/or Engineering VP of multiple technology companies from New York to California. He is an inventor and technologist, holding over thirty patents in diverse areas including filesystem design, data storage and security, high frequency RADAR, imaging and medical instrumentation, solar power, and virtual credit cards. Bob was selected as Inventor of the Year, 2020 by the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association He has also written three novels, Pipov, Miller’s Trials and Boxed In.

Bill Cheswick | Co-Leader

Gabriela Ewachiw | Project Manager

Gabriela Ewachiw is a dynamic and accomplished leader with a passion for project management and a commitment to raising awareness about the profound benefits of implementing project management principles. Gabriela possesses over 15 years of invaluable project management expertise spanning diverse industry sectors, including education, healthcare, semiconductors, and transportation. In addition to her illustrious professional journey, Gabriela is an active contributor to the community. Her involvement includes serving on the boards of various professional organizations, such as the Project Management Institute, International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), and Toastmasters International, where she has made a meaningful impact. Gabriela Ewachiw embodies the essence of a strategic and results-driven leader who continues to inspire and drive excellence in project management while making a significant difference in her community and beyond.

Samantha Stone | Project Coordinator

Our Innovation Lab is dedicated to making a meaningful impact in the lives of young entrepreneurs and the broader community. We are committed to evolving our strategies, embracing practical learning, and fostering a culture of dynamic, actionable innovation.


Interested in learning more about The Mentor Project Innovation Lab? Ready to get involved? Leave your contact information and a brief message, and we'll get back to you!

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