After a $400 electric bill, a Marion engineer and father looked for ways to save money. He thought solar power sounded like an answer. However, most solar panel installations cost more than $10,000. Jason Jordan put his mind to the problem and worked to design a solution: a portable solar panel to put in your yard and plug into a regular outlet. “As a parent of three children, I didn’t have $10,000 lying around. I decided to design an alternative,” Jordan said.
After completing the design Jason knew he needed to take the next step, signing up for the Forge program in September of 2019. After completing the classes Jordan entered The Forge Marion business competition to push his idea from the drawing board into reality. With free Forge business classes from Marion Technical College and $2,500, seed money from winning the top prize in the “Shark Tank”-style Forge competition, Jason has continued to push forward.
“Working with someone like Jason is what makes being an educator worthwhile. It is fantastic to see someone with an idea to take concrete steps to make their dream a reality. Jason’s passion mixed with his drive and know-how will surely lead to some exciting things!” said Scott Hughes, business faculty at Marion Tech.
Jordan Energy Alternative (JEA) was founded. JEA entered competitions in Columbus as well and made
it to the top round before the competition was postponed due to COVID. Though the pandemic threw a wrench into his plans, Jordan continues to move forward. He signed up with the CleanTechOpen, a small business incubator that has helped train 1,600 clean technology start-up entrepreneurs and helped create 3,000 green jobs. He’s working toward a global competition in October where competitors meet with investors. He’s hoping that will help him get the capital to move his company forward.
Jordan has found local mentors and coaches to help him work on marketing, business planning, sales, and more. “Marion is rich in knowledge and people who know how to get things done. It is one thing to build a new invention. It’s another to build a company,” Jordan said.
Jordan is working on improving his portable solar panel as well as ways to store excess energy or share it with a neighbor. He sees electric utilities as partners as everyone works to conserve energy
“Marion has a long history of invention and industry – from Edward Huber revolutionizing agriculture with his hay rakes to the crawler transporters to launch astronauts into space, Marion has changed the world. Jason Jordan is another in this line of inventors. I’m confident he will also make history!“ said Gus Comstock with Marion CAN DO!
It was from the 2016-17 Leadership Marion class, sponsored through the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, that the Forge classes at MTC got their start, helping Marion build their entrepreneurial businesses.” said Matt Carbary, president of the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce. “It is very exciting to see JEA join so many other successful businesses and nonprofits sparked from The Forge. Jason is promoting business creation potential here in Marion and his products will touch lives around the U.S.!”
While Jordan burns the midnight oil working on his new business after working all day at Whirlpool, he looks forward to the future while crediting Marion with the push he needs to get started. “I’m moving forward because of Marion Technical College, The Forge, and the Chamber of Commerce. Without them, it would still just be an idea on a shelf!” For more information about Jason’s invention and business plans, visit his website.