Local I-Corps Course

This online workshop will help you explore the commercial viability of your innovation idea. You will learn a process to systematically test key assumptions about your idea and the customer problems it might solve better than current alternatives. This is the critical first step toward commercial success for any venture. The learning objectives are:

  • Develop familiarity with Lean LaunchPad concepts and tools such as customer discovery, ecosystem mapping, and the Business Model Canvas
  • Understand customers’ problems (“pain points”) from THEIR perspective
  • Map your customer ecosystem to understand customer roles, requirements, and decision processes
  • Build connections to the commercial ecosystem (i.e. customers, suppliers, funders) for your innovation

This free, non-credit course is for students, faculty, and researchers with an innovative idea and a strong interest in learning about commercialization.

Course Benefits

  • Gain valuable market insight to inform the next steps for your idea
  • Become eligible for the NSF I-Corps National Teams program and $50,000 grant for qualifying technologies and teams (only deep-tech, university-based teams)
  • Receive up to $1,000 in funding for customer discovery-related expenses including but not limited to virtual conference fees and premium LinkedIn accounts
  • Develop network connections and receive mentoring from experienced industry experts and entrepreneurs
  • Develop the entrepreneurial mindset and toolset needed for a career in academia, industry, startups, or government


Date and Time Session Topic
Fri, Oct 1
9:00-10:30AM ET
Fri, Oct 15
9:00-11:00AM ET
Ecosystem Mapping
Fri, Oct 29
9:00-11:00AM ET
Hypothesis Development
Fri, Nov 12
9:00-11:00AM ET
Value Propositions

In between the webinars, you will conduct at least 5 customer discovery interviews, complete online learning assignments, apply the tools to your own idea, and receive feedback and coaching from a team of experienced instructors/mentors.

This hands-on program takes work – 3-4 hours/week throughout the course. In addition to the course deliverables, you are expected to “get out of the building” (virtually or physically, if safe) to interview and observe customers and stakeholders. Direct market interaction is vital to fine-tuning your value proposition, commercialization pathway, and business model design assumptions.

Sept 27, 2021