WPI has been funded by the National Science Foundation to conduct the NSF I-Corps™ Site program.
Rather than develop and design something from the lab and then see if someone is interested, the I-Corps program teaches the participants to develop their initial Value Proposition, and then “get out of the building” to test and refine that through customer interviews. This alters the traditional method of developing technology, writing a business plan, and then going out to implement it. Instead, you will be challenged to seek input from real customers, someone that will actually pay for the idea. This will include discovery from other stakeholders, recommenders, distribution channel participants, etc.
The WPI I-Corps™ Site program is fast-paced and the teams will be pushed and challenged to hopefully learn quickly whether or not the ideas are worth pursuing. Teams are expected to conduct 30 customer interviews over the 10-week term of the program. For more about the benefits of the program, view the video made by VentureWell.
- Provide the tools to allow the teams to improve their commercial focus in order to have a market-driven value proposition for their ideas
- Provide an experiential learning environment to determine idea viability
- Allow team members to practice and improve their entrepreneurship skills
- You begin by working with your team to come up with a testable hypothesis. You will be asked to identify key stakeholders in the industry and the team is responsible for conducting the 30 interviews.
- You will have a deeper insight into the value of your idea and you may end up "pivoting" several times as you discover the initial idea is not viable. It will allow you to compliment the normal WPI for-credit curriculum and hone interpersonal skills, team dynamics, strategy development, and market-based research.
- Get funded! Typical funding for a team will be in the $20000-$3000 range and would be used to travel to key customer locations or attend a conference in your industry.