California State University, Northridge’s new entrepreneurial program, Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site Program helps students undertake the challenge of customer discovery, a process that incorporates customers early in a business development process.
In support of promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at CSUN, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the university’s I-Corps Site Program a grant of $99,667 in March. The grant will provide up to 30 teams with $3,000 each to explore an idea, product or service in the STEM fields.
The teams consist of: an entrepreneurial lead, typically a student or postdoctoral fellow; an academic lead, typically a staff or faculty member; and an industry mentor, who can be a non-CSUN affiliate.
“This is yet another step in the maturation of high-impact practices supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, training all university students with the skills needed to succeed with their own start up business,” said Crist Khachikian, associate vice president of research and graduate studies. “This is CSUN serving its students, innovating, and being a steward of place.”
CSUN’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics has been at the forefront of entrepreneurship and innovation with programs such as the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, an on-campus incubator that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship, and CSUN student-competitions such as AppJam, a mobile app competition; Varjam, an augmented and virtual reality competition; and the Bull Ring, a venture competition. Officials said they expect the I-Corps program to improve the teams’ innovative start-up companies.
“This program has received tremendous feedback with the participation of 13 teams, represented by over 30 people, in disciplines as diverse as healthcare, software, food and social enterprise,” said Tim Tiemann, managing director of the CSUN Innovation Incubator. “Through I-Corps, students will be able to intuitively seek out practical and effective customer discovery techniques, giving their creative potential the best chances for market success.”
This past fall, the program offered a short course that introduced participants to the key concepts and methodologies used in I-Corps.
Teams are eligible to compete for a national NSF grant of $50,000 toward commercialization of their research, invention and/or technology, and may receive followed funding from a variety of sources.
For more information on CSUN’s I-Corps program please email, firstname.lastname@example.org.