The opportunity is open to Penn State faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, recent alumni and community members interested in exploring the commercial viability of their idea or innovation.
The Penn State Berks Flemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Center is hosting the lab and weekly workshops beginning Sept. 17. The “boot camp” style training sessions will help entrepreneurs to begin customer discovery, learn about the commercialization process, network with experienced entrepreneurs and determine if a market exists for their innovation.
Participants will learn how to develop a business model and validate that model through a scientific process, get feedback from faculty experts and other entrepreneurs, and work one-on-one with experienced entrepreneurs who serve as mentors.
Participants will be eligible to apply for a micro-grant of up to $3,000, which can be used to attend industry trade shows, visit potential customers, develop prototypes and cover customer discovery expenses. They also can apply for a National Science Foundation I-Corps National Teams’ $50,000 grant after completing the program.
Eligible projects must be in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering or mathematics, and teams should be composed of three people: an academic lead who will serve as principal investigator (typically a Penn State faculty or staff member); an entrepreneurial lead (typically a student, faculty/staff member, recent alumnus or community member); and a business mentor who will provide experienced perspectives to the team. Business mentors may be assigned if necessary.
Teams must commit to attending the required workshops and meetings and must perform a minimum of 30 customer interviews by the end of the program.
The deadline for applications is Sept. 6. Applications can be found here.