In June 2013, the National Science Foundation announced that The University of Akron (UA) would be one of three initial I-Corps Sites locations designated to educate faculty, students and the community on entrepreneurial principles. Our goal is to help faculty and students answer important commercialization questions directly applicable to state and federal grant programs, as well as to support in identifying industry partners and potential licensees.
The UA I-Corps Sites program will support teams through critical market and commercialization evaluations associated with a specific UA developed idea or technology. These teams will be comprised of at least one faculty member (Academic Lead), one student (Entrepreneurial Lead), and one Mentor. Faculty from all colleges and department are encouraged to apply. Students may also apply independently to join teams.
Each team will be required to submit a short application that will be evaluated on the following criteria:
- Team and Commitment
- Intellectual Property Strength
- Technology Strength
- Commercial Potential / Applications
- Fit with I-Corps Sites
Applications will be accepted any time, and will be evaluated three times each year (September, December, and May).
UA I-Corps Sites Program
As part of the program, each team will be required to attend training and meet with a business Mentor. The goal of the program is to help commercialize UA technologies and ideas with the specific outcome of the UA I-Corps Sites program being a team decisions on whether to pursue commercialization through one of the following:
- NSF I-Corps Teams program (an intensive 6-week NSF training with $50,000 grant)
- Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation grant (a $50,000 grant with required matching funding)
- UA’s Innovation Practice Center (prototyping and commercialization assistance through UA)
Program participants are also eligible for up to $2,500 in NSF funding, which can be used for:
- Prototyping materials
- Travel to visit potential customers and end users
- Training or education in entrepreneurship
- Any other needed resources
- Budget must be approved by I-Corps Sites Budget Review Committee