The Midwest is like an archipelago of innovation islands, each with its own business ecosystem. The Midwest I-Corps Node (MWIN) Industry Connect programs help build bridges between geographically distinct innovation communities within and outside the region. MWIN Industry Connect events leverage existing industry trade shows/conferences so that teams can introduce themselves, pitch their idea to technology decision makers, setup follow-on meetings, acquire feedback on their best path forward, and identify key milestones. This unique program also gives teams the opportunity to connect with like-minded innovators across the Midwest.
Recently, the University of Minnesota MIN-Corps site hosted the first MWIN MD&M Industry Connect three-day program for med-tech teams that are exploring commercialization. The cohort was composed of five med tech projects from Purdue University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota. The program was taught by Jonathan Fay, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at U-M’s School of Engineering, with support from Matthew Lynall, director of experiential learning and management consulting at Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, and Carla Pavone, Program Director of MIN-Corps and Associate Director of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship. The cohort’s projects included diagnostic and therapeutic devices targeting cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and soft tissue calcification. In addition to attending Medical Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis 2017 , one of the largest med-tech conferences in the US, the participants were introduced to the Twin Cities’ vibrant medical technology ecosystem.