michigan i-corps@ltu

Have a new product idea, innovation or business concept? 

Enroll in the Michigan I-Corps@LTU program and let your success begin!




Thanks to funding from the Coleman Foundation and the Kern Family Foundation, Lawrence Tech has launched the Michigan I-Corps@LTU, a real-world, results-oriented mentoring program that helps innovators, entrepreneurs and companies advance new product ideas and establish new business opportunities.  Originating within the National Science Foundation, the I-Corps curriculum provides a real world, hands-on immersive learning experience for innovators in search of a successful business model.

Are You Ready?

If you are serious about advancing a new product idea, growing market share, or establishing a new business opportunity, then the Michigan I-Corps@LTU wants to work with you!

The Michigan I-Corps@LTU serves:

•    College students that have new product ideas or want to advance student projects to market
•    Established companies looking to develop new products for new or existing markets
•    Innovators with new technologies to launch
•    Entrepreneurs with new business ideas they want to start and grow
•    Investors who want their companies to assess the market-potential of new business ideas

Participant Benefits

•    Each Team is matched with an Industry Mentor for individualized assistance 1-full.jpg
•    Learn why your business idea or innovation has value, and what the value is to customers
•    Learn who your customers are and how your idea or innovation can make money
•    Gain a hands-on understanding of the barriers to adoption for your idea, and what it takes to successfully launch or commercialize it.
•    Develop a structured plan that helps you with your business operations and investors.  
•    Save time and money – potentially thousands of hours and dollars – by working through the I-Corps process now
•    Establish a network of priceless contacts and key business professionals, faculty members, teachers, investors, customers, and mentors.
•    Conveniently scheduled on Saturday mornings so as not to conflict with classes or work.
•    A $1,000 cash prize will be awarded to the BEST TEAM (based on the final week presentation, determined by a panel of independent judges)

 Apply Here!

Program Overview

The #1 Obstacle to Start-Up Success – Lack of Customers!

Research has proved that most new businesses fail for a single reason – a lack of customers.  New companies frequently launch with great ideas, but company principals simply do not know how to find, attract and service customers for their product or service.


Michigan I-Corps@LTU Shows You How to Find Your Customers2-full.jpg

With a nationally proven I-Corps track record for success, the Michigan I-Corps@LTU will mentor each participant in a 9 week program with a focus on determining if your product or process solves an important problem and is desired by enough customers to be profitable.

These are proven methods fostered by the National Science Foundation.  Graduates of the Michigan I-Corps@LTU will have a solid understanding of their product/process/service and knowledge of the customers who want and need what they have to offer.

How We Work:

  • Form an Innovation Team (2 or 3 members) around your business idea with associates you know – or request assistance for building a Team and the LTU Collaboratory will assist you.
  • Apply to the Program
  • Each team is matched with an Industry Mentor. You will receive frank feedback, mentorship, discussions and information from the Teaching Team and your Mentor, including testing ideas and assumptions about your business model; questioning what you are learning from customer meetings; and how you are applying feedback and your innovation.
  • Your team will meet with other Innovation Teams on Saturdays.  Each session will feature a guest speaker and each LTU I-Corps Team will present their progress on their respective business ideas to the group.  Feedback will be given by the group to each individual who suggests productive tasks each Team can accomplish in the next week.
  • In addition to key assignments each week, Teams have the obligation to engage in approximately 100 direct meetings over 9 weeks with customers, suppliers, partners, and competitors to provide the necessary input to their Business Model Canvas.
  • Teams members should commit approximately 15-20 hours per week to advance their work plans.
  • Each LTU I-Corps Team will update its Business Model document each week and use  software provided by the program to record customer insights.
  • By the end of the 9-week program, each Team Member will have gained insight on whether to advance their idea to the next stage of development – or not – or what changes may need to be explored to do so. Knowing this direction is great insight that can save time and money.

Learn More @Walk-In Wednesdays

Check out the Michigan I-Corps@LTU program at Walk-In Wednesdays every week between 4:30 and 5:30 in M310 of the Buell Management Bldg., or contact Tex Criqui of the LTU Collaboratory at I-Corps@ltu.edu to arrange an on-campus meeting.

 Apply Here!

Michigan I-Corps@LTU Selection Criteria

Following are requirements to apply to the Michigan I-Corps@LTU program:

  • The project must be based on a novel, differentiating business innovation 3-full.jpg
  • A 2-3 member project team must be formed around the development of the innovation.  These team roles may be filled by individuals selected by the Entrepreneurial Lead, or the LTU Collaboratory will help you to identify appropriate team members.

    A typical I-Corps team has 2-3 members, plus an Industry Mentor:
    • Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) who can also serve as the spokesperson for the team.
    • Principal Investigator (PI) who serves as the technical lead or subject matter expert. 
    • Business Lead (BL) who focuses on marketing, finance or product development
    • Plus, an assigned Industry Mentor (IM) who is an experienced business person.
  • Teams must participate in each of the 9-week workshops held on Saturday mornings and approximately 15 hours per week to advance their work plans. This includes preparation for and attendance at each weekend session, and making customer contacts each week.

Teamwork and Collaboration

  • All members of the team must be willing to work together, as teams will be required to contact 100 people during the course, such as potential customers, suppliers, vendors, marketing companies, etc., and be open to input from the Industry Mentor.

  • The idea, innovation, or business concept should have an initial concept plan in place that can be used a base platform from which to work. It should be more than “an idea on a napkin” but not so mature as to be already locked into a specific market.

Cost of the Program

  • Fees are waived for college students, LTU faculty, and recent LTU graduates.
  • A fee of $500 is required for all other non-student participants, payable upon acceptance to the program.

     Apply Here!

Program Details At-A-Glance

Review the key information below on the Michigan I-Corps@LTU program:


The Fall 2014 Michigan I-Corps@LTU program begins on Saturday, October 4, with the final session on Saturday, December 6.  This provides for 9 weeks of active class participation with no meeting on November 29. 


All sessions will be held at Koala Cowork, 20300 Civic Center Drive in Southfield, about a mile from the LTU campus.  


Most sessions will run from 9 am to 1 pm. The first two Saturdays will run from 9 am to 4 pm and the final day will run from 9 am to 2:30 pm.

Food and Beverages:

Each week a continental breakfast, coffee, tea, and soft drinks will be available beginning at 8:30 am. Lunch will be provided for the first and last sessions that meet later in the day.  Download PDF Calendar


First Week:

The first Saturday class will be an all-day orientation and training session that will include review of course software tools, team intro presentations, introduction of the teaching team and lecture/discussion on Business Models and the Customer Development Process the program will follow. 


Project Reviews:

Each team reviews their project with the Teaching Team, focusing on what they learned from the customer discovery sessions. The Teaching Team will provide feedback, beneficial specifically to the presenting team, and also to the entire group.


Learn from an Expert:

Learn key insights from a subject matter expert in the area of the next week’s assignment via 15-20 minute talk and Q&A discussion.



Gain additional insights from individual meetings with Mentors


Weekly Assignments:


Contact Customers!

Contact 10-15 real customers, partners, suppliers, and competitors each week to either validate or identify the need to change your assumptions about this element of your business model.  Although face-to-face contacts are always preferred, customer contacts may be made by Skype, phone, email, etc.



Weekly reading assignments will prepare you to participate in class discussions. 


Update Your Business Model Plan:

Each week your team will update your Business Model Plan based on what was learned from customer contacts. Special software provided as part of the program provides the opportunity to store customer discovery interview notes, including insights gained, and how the Business Model Canvas changed as a result. This will help insure that you are getting the most out of your participation!


Fall 2014 Session Schedule:

  • Oct 4:       Orientation/Introductions
  • Oct 11:     Value Proposition
  • Oct 18:     Customer Segments
  • Oct 25:     Channels
  • Nov 1:       Customer Relations
  • Nov 8:       Revenue Models
  • Nov 15:     Partners
  • Nov 22:     Resources, Activities, and Costs
  • Nov 29:     BREAK - Thanksgiving
  • Dec 6:       Final Presentations and Judging


Members of the Teaching Team/LTU Collaboratory are available every Wednesday during the fall and spring semesters at 4:30 in M310 of the Buell Management Building on the LTU campus.


Contact Anytime:

Contact the LTU Collaboratory anytme at i-corps@ltu.edu or your Industry Mentor.

 Apply Here!

Apply for the Michigan I-Corps@LTU

  • FINAL date to submit applications is midnight Thursday, September 24, 2014. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply! 
  • ALL applications must be submitted online.
  • An email confirmation will be sent to confirm your application has been received. 
  • You will receive a second email or phone call to set up an initial telephone interview with you and your team.
  • If selected, you will be contacted to set up a second interview with a larger panel that will question the team about the commitment to participate, state of the innovation and your future plans.
  • You will be notified shortly after the second interview if your team has been selected to participate. FEES (if applicable) are payable when notified of acceptance to the program.
  • An email package of advance program information will be sent (syllabus, assignment materials, etc.). You will also receive an information handout at the first class on Saturday, October 4.

 Apply Here!

Apply for the Michigan I-Corps@LTU

The Coleman Foundation


The Coleman Foundation, a private, independent grant-making organization that funds educational institutions that offers entrepreneurship training and support has awarded Lawrence Technological University a two-year, $150,000 grant to increase student participation in entrepreneurial education that is already occurring on campus. This is the largest grant it has awarded to LTU.

The Coleman Foundation grant will increase the reach of the LTU Collaboratory to LTU’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Architecture and Design, and Management, a resource for entrepreneurs established in 2012 in the College of Engineering with the support of the Kern Family Foundation.


The Kern Family Foundation

As part of a comprehensive $1.1 million grant from the Kern Family Foundation to expand Lawrence Tech’s entrepreneurship efforts to affect all undergraduate engineering students, the LTU Collaboratory was formed to achieve the following objectives for an Engineering Entrepreneur In Residence as stated in the grant:

  • Foster an entrepreneurial mindset among students and faculty.
  • Develop an engaged network of area entrepreneurs to assist in University efforts
  • Advise start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Pursue additional funding for entrepreneurship programs from individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies.
  • Assist in the commercialization process and commercialization of student project, including the introduction and cultivation of relevant business connections that are beneficial to moving projects towards commercialization


With the launch of the Michigan I-Corps@LTU program, led by the LTU Collaboratory, these Kern grant objectives will be met more thoroughly.


Michigan I-Corps, Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan


The LTU Collaboratory has partnered with mentors at the UM Center for Entrepreneurship and participated in and earned valuable experience by taking a company through the NSF I-Corps program in Washington DC together. Subsequently the NSF I-Corps program selected several universities to expand the I-Corps program on a regional basis. With support from the NSF, the Michigan I-Corps was formed at UM, and LTU has become an early adopter and partner to expand the Michigan I-Corps program at LTU. Training materials, mentors and case studies will be shared and used by LTU to grow the program on campus and in Southeast Michigan.


LTU Collaboratory

To better serve students, faculty, alumni, innovators, entrepreneurs and existing business that have a new product idea, innovation or business concept, the LTU Collaboratory has launched the Michigan I-Corp@LTU program.  The program is based on a successful, proven Business Model format adopted and fostered by the National Science Foundation (NSF I-Corps), and the NSF’s regional partner, the University of Michigan, Center for Entrepreneurship. The LTU Collaboratory is comprised of a group of veteran businessmen and women with proven experience to mentor teams and help ideas and businesses grow.

 Apply Here!

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