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Who Can Apply?

I-Corps@Ohio funds will be offered on a competitive basis ($15,000) to teams of faculty researchers and graduate students developing institution-based technologies from Ohio colleges and universities. Under the supervision of business and entrepreneurial mentors, teams will develop market-driven value propositions and scalable business models around their technologies and attract follow on funding to support company formation and market entry.

Application Process

Registration, Timeline, Application and Proposal Preparation Instructions

The I-Corps@Ohio proposal submission process consists of four steps:

  1. Mandatory discussion with the appropriate TTO representative at the PI’s institution,
  2. Team registration and completion of an online executive summary questionnaire,
  3. Full Proposal submission (by invitation only), and
  4. Team interview by the program administrators

All teams are required to complete the online profile and executive summary questionnaire beginning December 12, 2016. The PI may complete this information or designate another member of the team as the lead member. Subsequent members of the team will be invited to join by the lead member through the application portal to complete his or her profile.

It is not mandatory to identify all team members prior to submitting the executive summary questionnaire. Additional team members may be added later.

Click “Apply Now” on this page to download and apply to the 2017 RFP.

Requested information is listed below. The I-Corps@Ohio Selection Committee will review each Executive Summary to determine if it qualifies for I-Corps@Ohio funding. Only those teams that receive approval of their Executive Summaries will receive authorization to submit a Full Proposal.

  1. Title of the proposed project and name of Principal Investigator(s) (with contact information).
  2. Brief description of the technology including: stage of development; any commercial product/service activity; relevant research results demonstrating the validity of the technology; and the intellectual property status.
  3. Brief description of the market opportunity including: what specific problem the technology solves; how big the problem is; what specific market/industry your technology directly benefits; and how your technology is better than other products and services already on the market.
  4. Brief description of the team including: expertise with the technology; familiarity with commercializing university inventions; and experience with startup ventures. Explain who plays the specific roles of PI, EL and EM and how long the team has worked on this project.  Please state if you are seeking assistance to fill the EL or EM roles.
  5. Despite the merits of your technology, why should your team be selected for this award in the I-Corps@Ohio Program?

Full Proposal Submission

Only those teams whose Executive Summaries have been approved by the I-Corps@Ohio Selection Committee will be authorized to submit a Full Proposal. The PI and university or college liaison will be notified by email of eligibility status.

Team Composition

Teams: An I-Corps@Ohio team must be established prior to the deadline to submit full proposals and identified by team member role in the full proposal. It is not mandatory to identify all team members to submit the initial executive summary questionnaire.

An I-Corps@Ohio team consists of at least three participants fulfilling the following three roles.

    1. Principal Investigator(s)
    2. Entrepreneurial Lead(s) – Two EL’s are recommended.
    3. Executive/Entrepreneurial Mentor(s)

The Principal Investigator(s) (PI) must be an employee (faculty, staff, or graduate student) at an eligible Ohio university or college with a strong passion to see his/her invention commercialized. The PI is primarily responsible for overall grant management and assisting the entrepreneurial lead with completing weekly customer interviews and preparing weekly team presentations. Attendance at the customer discovery interviews is strongly encouraged.

The Entrepreneurial Lead(s) (EL) is typically a post-doctoral scholar or graduate, undergraduate or community college student with relevant knowledge of the underlying technology and a strong commitment to pursuing the commercial entrepreneurial opportunities. There may be more than one EL on the team and I-Corps@Ohio encourages teams to include graduate business students, in addition to graduate STEM students as ELs. The EL(s) is responsible for leading the due diligence during the customer discovery process and presenting the lessons learned each week during the training program. EL(s) conduct most of the customer interviews and capture the lessons learned in the project management tool. The I-Corps@Ohio program highly encourages teams to select ELs that are potentially capable of commercializing the technology if the team is able to validate the commercial opportunity during the training program.

The Executive/Entrepreneurial Mentor(s) (EM) is typically an experienced or emerging entrepreneur or industry leader with close proximity to the research institution and experience in new venture startups, new product development and/or commercializing technology out of universities. The EM may be but is typically not a member of the research institution. The EM’s primary responsibility is to coach, guide and mentor the team through the challenging search for a repeatable and scalable business model on which to launch a start-up company around the subject technology. The EM is also expected to share contacts with the team for customer interviews and to participate in interviews as much as possible. Furthermore, the EM is expected to regularly communicate with the I-Corps@Ohio instructional team and program staff regarding the progress of the team. I-Corps@Ohio is especially interested in EMs that are passionate about the technology, have strong interests in participating in the commercialization of the technology, and have relevant experience in launching new ventures or similar roles in industry. If the proposing team does not have an EM, the I-Corps@Ohio program staff is pleased to assist with finding a suitable person to serve in that role, including members of the national NSF I-Corps network.

Intellectual Property: The technology the team seeks to commercialize is typically based on concepts, patent (issued or filed), copyrights or trade secrets owned and held by the PI or by an Ohio institution of higher education, including universities, colleges and community colleges.

No Previous I-Corps Award: Teams that have already received funding from the I-Corps@Ohio program or NSF’s national I-Corps Teams program are not eligible for funding from the I-Corps@Ohio program for the same technology. Teams that have participated in a comparable regional I-Corps program, any NSF I-Corps Sites program or any other university- or community-based accelerator or similar training program are eligible for funding from the I-Corps@Ohio program for the same technology or others.

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