Missouri-based entrepreneurs can earn funding while working with Missouri University of Science and Technology business experts to transform their ideas into new technologies that benefit society as a part of the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program.
I-Corps is an entrepreneurial education program designed to combine experiential, collaborative learning with business best practices to help Missouri start-ups move their products from idea to marketplace. Missouri S&T is the only I-Corps site in the state.
“Missouri S&T was chosen by the NSF for its unique ‘ecosystem’ – the learning environment at our university lends itself to the technology-based projects that I-Corps hopes to produce,” says Dr. Bonnie Bachman, professor of economics at Missouri S&T and director of the university’s I-Corps site. “Participants in each training session will build skills that can be used in any corporate setting, not just when working to invent the next big product.”
I-Corps faculty at Missouri S&T offer the technical, entrepreneurial and business know-how to launch technological innovations. Budding entrepreneurs, including students and faculty, study additional curriculum that provides the education and infrastructure to serve the region, and the S&T location spurs small groups to explore technology transition with local guidance and resources.
Missouri S&T’s I-Corps curriculum is based on innovation and entrepreneurship courses that are offered through the computer science, engineering management and economics departments.
“Besides Missouri S&T participants, we have a group from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a non-university group from Jefferson City,” says Bachman. “We are currently planning for our third training block, each of which lasts two-to-eight weeks. We hope to continue to expand throughout the state and include more and more universities as satellite sites for the program.”
The program is currently accepting applications, which on acceptance provides a $3,000 stipend for materials or product-promotion travel. All interested Missouri-based students, businesses, academics and groups are invited to apply at i-corps.mst.edu/application.
“Researchers don’t have to have the next big patent, they could work to develop a new phone or computer app or similar scale projects,” says Bachman. “The only restriction is that the innovation must be science – or technology – based in nature.”