I-Corps Puerto Rico(I-Corps PR) is a five-week, hands-on program designed for small teams of entrepreneurs to learn about Customer Discovery and the Business Model Canvas. Each team will learn about potential markets by interviewing potential customers and market influencers. Based on the feedback and evidence gathered through customer discovery, each team will build a business model canvas, detailing the group’s value propositions, customer segments, partners, cost structures, and revenue streams. We will cover the customer discovery method developed by Steve Blank and the business model canvas popularized by Alex Osterwalder.
Who May Participate?
I-Corps PR is open to aspiring community, academic, and student entrepreneurs located in Puerto Rico. Ideal teams have an innovative business idea and want to validate their idea by identifying and getting to know their customers and market.
Each team in the program must include of 2 to 4 members, including a mentor. Teams include the following:
- Entrepreneur Lead Provides the leadership to the team, organizes the customer discovery activity, spokesperson for the team.
- Technology Lead Provides technical expertise. Might be a researcher, student, an engineer or developer.
- Business Lead Provides business expertise and guidance to the team. Usually a serial entrepreneur or executive with industry experience.
About I-Corps PR
I-Corps PR is a customer discovery boot camp for entrepreneurs looking to build and develop scalable business models. The program is designed for small teams of entrepreneurs, ideally two to four people, including a mentor, to learn about the Customer Discovery method developed by Steve Blank, and the Business Model Canvas popularized by Alex Osterwalder. These teams must have identified an innovative idea and be interested in validating it and building a business model around it.
I-Corps PR is a local version of the successful Startup Gauntlet, a program offered by Georgia Institute of Technology, which is modeled after the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps). NSF created I-Corps to help NSF-supported researchers identify product and company opportunities, and learn about entrepreneurship. Through the program, NSF grantees are able to identify valuable product opportunities which can emerge from academic research and take the first steps towards commercialization.
In 2014, the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded Grupo Guayacán, Inc., a technical assistance grant to launch I-Corps PR First Cohort on January 2015 in San Juan. The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Grupo Guayacán collaborate to continue I-Corps PR. In September 2015, I-Corps PR Second Cohort was offered at the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust in San Juan. I-Corps PR was awarded the Startup Program of the Year Award at H3 Tech Conference 2015.
In April 2016, I-Corps PR Third Cohort was offered at the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez Campus (UPR-M), marking the first time the program is offered outside of the metropolitan area and directly on a university campus. Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Grupo Guayacán offered I-Corps PR Fourth Cohort on October 2016 in San Juan and I-Corps PR Fifth Cohort in April 2017.
The primary goal of NSF I-Corps is to foster entrepreneurship that will lead to the commercialization of technology that has been supported previously by NSF-funded research.
- The approach to entrepreneurship uses techniques developed to validate each commercial opportunity in a recognized, effective way: customer and business model development
- The vehicle for commercialization activities will most often be start-ups founded by the I-Corps participants; successful I-Corps projects will be prepared for business formation
- The I-Corps programs feed the NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs
- NSF will work with the private sector to bring additional resources to the table (in the form of partnerships and finance), when warranted