You May See a Plain Cake Pan – But an Entrepreneur Sees an Opportunity.

19865507_sIt was January 1957, when an accidental entrepreneur, Walter Fredrick Morrison (“Fred”), sold the rights for the Pluto Platter (later known as the Frisbee) to the Wham-O toy company.  (The name may have come from the Frisbie Baking Company.)

As legend has it, Fred and his girlfriend were tossing a popcorn lid back and forth when the idea came to him.  Soon the two discovered that cake pans actually flew better and were easier to obtain.  So they started a little business selling “Flyin’ Cake Pans”  on the beach in Santa Monica, California.

After completing a tour of duty in World War II where Fred learned about aeronautics, he designed a flying disc he called the Whirlo-Way and found an investor who paid for molding his design in plastic.

Today, the Frisbee can be found in the more than 45,000 sporting goods stores nationwide, ringing up sales of over $26 billion annually —  not to mention hours and hours of fun.

Small businesses are responsible for most of the innovation in the U.S. and creative entrepreneurs such as Fred provide our economy with a competitive advantage.  That’s why small businesses will take the forefront in driving our economic recovery.

Look around you.  Is there a flying cake pan in your future?  Do you have other great “accidental entrepreneur” stories you can share with us?