NSF I-Corps at the University of Illinois

NSF I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches university entrepreneurs with a targeted curriculum to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and offers entrepreneurship training to participants.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an I-Corps Site, which is geared for developing potential I-Corps Team projects and providing an entrepreneurial program for potential faculty and graduate student teams to complete together to access their business potential. I-Corps Sites will provide infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training and modest funding to enable groups to transition their work into the marketplace or into becoming I-Corps Team applicants.

With the support and mentorship of the Sites, the teams learn first-hand about entrepreneurship and explore the transition of their ideas, devices, processes or other intellectual activities into the marketplace. See our recent story in the Daily Illini. The 2013 I-Corps cohort teams and program were recently profiled. http://csl.illinois.edu/news/i-corps-promotes-entrepreneurship-students-faculty-0

I-Corps FAQ

1. What is I-Corps? 
2. What is the curriculum?
3. What are the goals of the program? 
4. Who Should Apply?
4. What are the Dates and Deadlines
5. What is the Format?
6. Is the Effort Worth the $3K?
7. Who are the Instructors?
8. Who are the Partners?
9. Interested in Learning More about the I-Corps Site Program at Illinois?
10. Apply to the I-Corps Site Program at Illinois

What is I-Corps?

NSF I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches university entrepreneurs with a targeted Lean Launchpad curriculum to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and offers entrepreneurship training to participants. The University of Illinois' I-Corps Site (Site), which is geared for developing potential I-Corps Team projects (Teams) for the National I-Corps program and providing an entrepreneurial program for potential faculty and graduate student teams to complete together to access their business potential. 

The Site will provide infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training and modest funding (~$3K per team) to enable teams to transition their work into the marketplace or into becoming Team applicants. With the support and mentorship of the Site, the teams will learn first-hand about entrepreneurship and explore the transition of their ideas, devices, processes or other intellectual activities into the marketplace.

What is the curriculum?

The NSF I-Corps program is based upon Lean Startup principles as taught in The Startup Owners Manual and Business Model Generation.  We will also be covering other topics needed to get a startup up and running.

What are the goals of the program?

When you complete the program our goals are that you will have:

  • validated your market size, value proposition, and customer segment.  

  • you will be in a position to apply to the National NSF I-Corps program

  • good position to pitch to investors if needed

Who should apply?

Anyone that has University (not just University of Illinois) technology that is looking to commercialize it.

 

What are the dates and deadlines?

I-Corps Site cohort program has rolling submission, so apply ASAP. The next cohort will begin in August. 

What is the format?

First week is 1/2 day kickoff with overview and instruction.  The group will meet every other week for two hours for instruction.  Between meetings there will be assignments to read, get out of the office and talk to people, and meet with some partners.

 

Is the effort worth the $3K?

Absolutely, but it's worth a lot more than just money.  You'll come away with a much better understanding of your product market fit which is worth a lot more than $3K.  In addition, think of it as an entry way to an NSF pipeline that can lead to upwards of $1.5M.  How?  After completing the Illinois Site program you have much higher likelihood of gaining entry to the National NSF I-Corps program ($50K) upon which you have a much higher likelihood of successfully receiving an NSF SBIR Phase I ($150K) which leads to an NSF SBIR Phase II ($750K) which leads to an NSF SBIR Phase IIB ($500K).

 

Who are the instructors?

Harlee Sorkin 

Guest instructors from our Partners

 

Who are your partners?

EnterpriseWorks

Office of Technology Management 

Technology Entrepreneur Center

Illinois Ventures


interested in learning more about the I-Corps site program at Illinois?

NSF I-Corps Site program at Illinois Information Request »

NSF I-Corps »

 

Apply to the I-Corps site program at Illinois

NSF I-Corps Application »