This summer the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center (LEC) hosted the signature four-week Lean Launch workshop run by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) I-Corps Site of Southeastern Wisconsin. The multi-institutional I-Corps Site grant was first awarded in 2015 to UW-Milwaukee and the UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation and was renewed in 2018. The workshop was co-facilitated by Dr. Ilya Avdeev (Director of Innovation, LEC), Brian Thompson (Director, LEC) and Loren Peterson (Entrepreneur-in-Residence, LEC).
The aim of I-Corps is to offer academic entrepreneurs a chance to explore market viability of their technologies or discoveries using the Lean LaunchPad Methodology. Each team develops valuable skills in discovering the market that might inform their research and business decisions.
The Summer 2019 cohort consisted of nine teams that included faculty from UWM, Concordia University of Wisconsin, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and various other members of the entrepreneurial community. Team ideas or projects can originate from student work, research (funded or unfunded), institutional- or industrial projects. The program encourages projects with a focus in an area(s) of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
By the end of the four-week program, the teams decide whether to proceed with their ideas or if they should regroup and pivot. This vital decision is made based on customer discovery; each team is challenged to conduct 40 face-to-face customer interviews to test business model hypothesis developed during the course. All nine teams successfully completed at least 40 customer interviews and were able to iterate on their business models.
The I-Corps program is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2019 Cohort. If you are interested in applying or learning more about the program, please visit their website: http://icorpsmilwaukee.org/ or by emailing Dr. Avdeev: firstname.lastname@example.org.