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Createable Learning Concepts on 11 CBS

NW Ohio company goes from garage to global

In these tough times, a Northwest Ohio couple is striking out with a new idea, hoping to score big in the classroom.

Createable Learning Concepts' products are for preschool children learning how to cut and trace. The products, called Cuttables and Traceables, are the brain child of long-time occupational therapist Elisabeth Wharton.

In her more than 20 years in Toledo Public Schools, she found special needs children had a difficult time with basic skills like cutting and tracing. Wharton was determined to create something to help.

"I wanted something with the hand on the outside for tracing, because there's nothing in the catalogs. I've been doing this for years, and I want something to help them cut," said Wharton.

The Traceables come in three sizes, and are made so kids can hold them down with one hand and trace easily with the other.

"For cutting, we took the same shape and put magnets in them to hold the paper together. Then it provides you with the sensory and visual input to go around it," said Wharton.

Liz and her husband Randy were convinced the product was something other teachers could use, but they needed help going global.

In January of 2008, they approached the Regional Growth Partnership -- a non-profit that fosters economic growth opportunities for Northwest Ohio. The Whartons teamed up with its Launch program to develop the technology that can be patented, and it has paid off.

"They have orders that are international right now," said Tasha Hussain Black, who is director of the Launch Program. "They're working with a local manufacturer right now doing small batch runs. And really, the next step is to mass produce this. So, that's really what we're looking for."

After a year-and-a-half of hard work and endless meetings with manufacturers and lawyers, Liz looks back with this advice: "I would tell anybody that had an idea to seek them out -- seek out people like them -- the Chamber of Commerce, anybody to give you that help."

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