Have a new product idea, innovation or business concept?
Enroll in the Michigan I-Corps@LTU program and let your success begin!
ABOUT MICHIGAN I-CORPS@LTU
Thanks to funding from the Coleman Foundation and the Kern Family Foundation, Lawrence Tech is launching 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 wit new business ideas they want to start and grow
• Investors who want their companies to assess the market-potential of new business ideas
• Each Team is matched with an Industry Mentor for individualized assistance
• 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!
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 Customers
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 your LTU Mentor will assist you.
- Apply to the Program (link)
- 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 Saturday mornings for 3 hours per Saturday for 9 weeks. Each Saturday morning 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 that 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 nine weeks with customers, suppliers, partners and competitors to provide the necessary input to their Business Model Canvass.
- 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 session, 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 M217 of the Buell Management Bldg., or contact Paul Garko of the LTU Collaboratory at I-Corps@ltu.edu to arrange an on-campus meeting.
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
- 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 Teaching Team 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 for approximately 3 hours on a Saturday morning and approximately 15 hours per week to advance their work plans. This includes preparation for each weekend class session, attendance during 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
- For College Students, LTU Faculty, and recent LTU graduates, a nominal $50 fee is required; however the $50 is REFUNDED TO YOU upon successful completion of the program. (Completion is defined as active participation in at least 8 of the 9 class sessions and full completion of all deliverables including the final “lessons learned” video.)
- A fee of $300 is required for all other non-student participants, payable upon acceptance to the program.
Program Details At-A-Glance
Review the key information below on the Michigan I-Corps@LTU program:
The Spring 2014 Michigan I-Corps@LTU program begins on Saturday, February 8th, with the final session on Saturday April 12th. This provides for 9 weeks of active class participation with no meeting on March 15th.
All sessions will be held at Koala CoWork, 20300 Civic Center Drive in Southfield, about a mile from the LTU Campus.
All sessions will run from 9 am to Noon except the first and last sessions. The first day will run from 9 am to 4 pm and the final day will run from 9am to 2 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)
The first Saturday class will be an all-day session including an orientation and training session that will include review of course software tools, followed by team intro presentations, introduction of the teaching team and lecture/discussion on Business Models and Customer Development.
Each team reviews their project with the Teaching Team, focusing on findings of the previous week. 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
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. Customer contacts may be done face-to-face, Skype, by phone, email, Skype, 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 using special software provided as part of the Program. This will help insure that you are getting the most out of your participation!
- Feb 8: Overview/ Introduction
- Feb 15: Value Proposition
- Feb 22: Customer Segments
- Mar 1: Channels
- Mar 8: Customer Relations
- Mar 22: Revenue Models
- Mar 29: Partners
- April 5: Resources, Activities, Costs
- Apr 12: Presentation and Judging
Members of the Teaching Team / LTU Collaboratory are available every Wednesday at 4:30 in M217 of the Buell Management Building on the LTU campus.
Contact the LTU Collaboratory anytme at firstname.lastname@example.org or your Industry Mentor.
Apply for the Michigan I-Corps@LTU
- FINAL date to submit applications is midnight Wednesday, February 5, 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 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, February 8th.
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.
Linda and Mark Beyer
The Best Team Award for the inaugural Michigan I-Corps@LTU program in 2014 is being sponsored by Linda and Mark Beyer, friends of and believers in LTU.
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.
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.