UVM Innovations, the Vermont Department of Economic Development, and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) are pleased to host an I-Corps Short Course in Burlington this fall!
In this free two-week course, academic researchers and early startups working on a tech innovation will receive entrepreneurship training and strong mentor support, as they “get out of the lab” and talk with customers to identify the best product-market fit.
Vermont-based researchers may apply with a team of 1-3 people. Up to 10 teams will be selected.
Teams who successfully complete this I-Corps short course can become eligible to apply for the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Teams program, which includes a $50,000 grant.
Burlington Course Dates:
- October 16 (8am - 4:30pm) – Kickoff workshop (In person)
- October 23 (2pm-3pm) – Progress update and coaching (Online)
- October 30 (2pm-3pm) - Progress update and coaching (Online)
- November 2 (8am - 12pm) – Closing Workshop (In person)
How It Works:
- The course begins with an in-person Kickoff workshop (one full day), where teams learn how to use the Business Model Canvas, a hypothesis-testing methodology and customer discovery interviews to explore if there's a viable market fit for their product idea.
- Over 2 weeks, teams go out and talk to potential customers about their needs, with the goal of completing 30 interviews.
- Each week, teams attend a 1-hour video check in to share progress updates and get coaching from the instructors.
- The short course ends with an in-person Closing workshop (half day) where teams present their findings, get more coaching, and learn about next steps with NSF I-Corps and other entrepreneurship programs.
Who Should Apply?
Vermont-based academic researchers, early startups and student entrepreneurs who:
- Have a tech innovation in any STEM field & want to explore its commercialization potential
- Are willing to find & talk to 30 potential customers in 2 weeks
- May want to apply for the NSF I-Corps Teams national program and $50,000 grant
- Have 1-3 team members who can participate in the Short Course dates, including
- Required: one “Entrepreneurial Lead” (typically a Grad student or Postdoc, sometimes an undergrad, with interest in pursuing a startup based on the technology)
- Optional: one “Technical Lead” (Faculty or senior lab staff) and on “Industry Mentor” (experienced entrepreneur) who will support the EL in their market exploration.
The I-Corps Short Course is being led by the UNY I-Corps Node - one of eight NSF-funded Innovation Corps Nodes designed to support regional needs for innovation education, infrastructure and research. I-Corps Nodes work cooperatively to build, utilize and sustain a national innovation ecosystem that further enhances the development of technologies, products and processes that benefit society.