National Science Foundation I-Corps Site
The NSF awarded Invent Penn State I-Corps Site status and $500,000 in September 2017 to support entrepreneurship training and microgrants for university-related startups. Eligible teams receive up to $3,000 for customer discovery to advance their ideas.
About the Program
NSF I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches university and community entrepreneurs with a targeted Lean Launchpad curriculum to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research and the innovation ecosystems surrounding our university communities.
The Invent Penn State I-Corps Site provides mini-grants, commercialization training and mentorship for up to 30 potential startup teams per year. The commercialization training sessions, offered through several boot camp programs, help inventors begin customer discovery, learn about the commercialization process, network with experienced entrepreneurs, and determine if a market exists for their innovation.
Benefits of Participation
Selected teams will:
- Receive an I-Corps Mini-Grant of up to $3,000, which can be used to attend industry trade shows, visit potential customers, and cover virtual customer discovery expenses including LinkedIn Premium and Zoom Pro.
- Have the opportunity to work with a dedicated mentor who meets with the team to provide business expertise, advice on pitch development, funding strategies, and help grow a network of contacts.
- Perform 30 structured customer interviews to gain insights into the market for the team’s innovation.
- Have opportunities to showcase their new venture at the Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference.
- Become eligible to apply for an I-Corps National Teams $50,000 grant award (please note: this is an alternate National Teams eligibility path for PI’s who have not previously received NSF funding).
- Qualify for an increasing number of NSF grant awards that require NSF I-Corps training as a criterion for eligibility.
Learn more about the program and how you can apply today
The Invent Penn State NSF I-Corps Site provides $3,000 mini-grants, commercialization training, and mentorship opportunities for up to 30 startup teams per year.
If you have…
- Reviewed the program details
- Reviewed the eligibility criteria
- Reviewed the reimbursement guidelines
- Been selected and/or completed in an affiliated bootcamp
Then you are ready to apply today!
The commercialization training sessions, offered through I-Corps affiliated boot camp programs, help inventors begin customer discovery, learn about the commercialization process, network with experienced entrepreneurs, and determine if a market exists for their innovation. Eligible applicants for the I-Corps Site grant program must first be selected for one of the I-Corps affiliated programs or have completed one such program within the past year.
I-Corps Funding Request
The $3,000 Mini-Grant is provided in the form of reimbursement to individuals. This means an individual, not a business entity, must incur covered expenses to be eligible for reimbursement. Most commonly, a team member will charge eligible expenses to a credit card and receive a receipt they can later submit for reimbursement.
Penn State I-Corps Teams
The top entrepreneurial Penn State teams are selected each year to participate in the NSF I-Corps program. Each team receives up to $3,000 for use to attend industry trade shows, visit potential customers, develop prototypes and cover customer discovery expenses. Selected teams come from a variety of different industries and focus on a variety of different problems.
National I-Corps Teams
The National I-Corps Teams program identifies NSF-funded researchers to receive additional support in the form of entrepreneurial education, mentoring, and $50,000 in funding to accelerate the translation of knowledge derived from fundamental research into emerging products and services that may attract subsequent third-party funding.
Looking to learn more about the program? From information about reimbursable expenses to documentation needs, look not further than our FAQ’s to get your questions answered.