Regional I-Corps courses help faculty and graduate students explore the commercial viability of their technology-based innovation ideas. The course uses the Lean LaunchPad approach (also called Lean Startup), a process to systematically test key assumptions about technology-based innovation ideas and the customer problems it might be able to solve better than current alternatives. This assessment of “technology-problem fit” is the critical first step toward commercial success for any technology venture. This program provides teams with the opportunity to learn how to do customer discovery to understand their ecosystem and stakeholders more thoroughly, acquire feedback on their best path forward from trained instructors and mentors, and identify key milestones and commercialization pathway. This unique program gives teams the opportunity to connect with like-minded innovators across the Midwest.

Benefits of the Program

  • Gain valuable market insight to inform the next steps in your research and/or development
  • Become eligible for the NSF I-Corps National Teams program and $50,000 grant for qualifying technologies and teams
  • Get prepared for application to SBIR/STTR or other commercialization grants
  • Receive up to $500 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


Regional I-Corps courses are for faculty, researchers, and students with technology-based innovation ideas or Intellectual Property and a strong interest in commercializing their technology. Upon submitting an application, teams will be contacted by a Great Lakes Regional I-Corps Hub team member regarding program acceptance. This course is free for all participants.