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University of Nebraska-Lincoln I-Corps: Introduction to Customer Discovery – Fall 2023

September 25 @ 4:00 pm - November 13 @ 6:30 pm CDT


This online course will help you explore the commercial viability of your innovation. The Lean LaunchPad approach (also called Lean Startup) is a process to help you systematically test key assumptions about your technology/product/service and the customer problems it might be able to solve better than current alternatives. This process will help you to narrow your focus as you test specific hypotheses about your proposed product/service.
This course is for UNL faculty, researchers, staff and students. Priority will be given to applicants with STEM-based ideas or Intellectual Property and a strong interest in commercializing their technology. Individuals from outside of UNL who have been referred to the program by one of the instructors/coaches are also welcome to apply.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop familiarity with Lean LaunchPad concepts and tools such as customer discovery, ecosystem mapping, and the Value Proposition 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

Course Benefits

  • 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 who complete at least 20-30 customer discovery interviews)
  • Prepare for applying to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs
  • Gain valuable market insight to inform the next steps in your research and/or development
  • Develop network connections and receive mentoring from experienced experts and entrepreneurs
  • Develop the entrepreneurial mindset and toolset needed for a career in academia, industry, startups, or government

Course Schedule

Four mandatory main sessions will be held:
  • Session #1: Monday, Sept. 25th  (4:00 to 6:30 p.m. CST)
  • Session #2: Monday, Oct. 9th (4:00 to 6:30 p.m. CST)
  • Session #3: Monday, Oct. 23rd (4:00 to 6:30 p.m. CST)
  • Session #4: Monday, November 13th (4:00 to 6:30 p.m. CST)
*Please note the extra week between Sessions 3 & 4*
In between the four main sessions, you will:
  • Conduct at least 15-20 customer discovery interviews
  • Complete assignments
  • Meet with instructors/mentors a minimum of three times to receive feedback and coaching


Please fill out the following application and you will be contacted by program staff regarding acceptance. Questions can be directed to Joy Eakin, jeakin@nutechventures.org


September 25 @ 4:00 pm CDT
November 13 @ 6:30 pm CDT
Event Category:


University of Nebraska-Lincoln
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