michigan i-corps@ltu


Designers…Innovators…Engineers…Tinkerers… We want YOU at LTU!

Join the next Michigan I-Corps@LTU™ Program beginning February 14, 2015

Take Your Product Ideas to Market using Innovative Design Thinking and the Proven Business Model Canvas


  Business Model Canvas  
  A Overview 1  
  + Design Thinking  
  A Overview 1  
  = Product Success  
  A Overview 3  

Enroll NOW and enjoy the additional benefits of going through the nationally recognized I-Corps™ program built around the Business Model Canvass with an added focus on applications of DESIGN THINKING & INNOVATION.

This program is held on nine Saturdays to allow busy students, faculty, alumni and other designers, innovators, engineers and tinkerers time to succeed.


 Apply Here!   (Apply by February 4, 2015)

Have a new product idea, innovation or business concept? 

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




Originating within the National Science Foundation, the Michigan I-Corps™@LTU is a real-world, results-oriented, customer-driven proven business mentoring program that helps innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers, tinkerers, and companies advance new product ideas and establish new commercial opportunities.  You are mentored through a 9-week program based on the Business Model Canvas – now integrated with Innovative Design Thinking techniques! (This is not your typical business plan workshop or competition!)

The Michigan I-Corps™@LTU program is made possible, thanks funding from the Coleman Foundation and the Kern Family Foundation, plus support provided by the LTU Collaboratory and the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship.


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 with new product ideas to validate with customers1-full.jpg
  •  Innovators with new technologies to sell
  •  Entrepreneurs with fresh business ideas to start-up and grow
  •  Tinkerers with product ideas and prototypes to test with real customers
  •  Established Companies with new products to launch in new or existing markets


Participant Benefits

Convenient Saturday morning program 

 Your team…

  •  Receives a prototyping stipend
  • Can qualify for additional Seed Funding
  • Is matched with an industry mentor for individual assistance
  • Can qualify for a year of additional professional mentoring
  • Is eligible to showcase your products in the Detroit area
  • Plus, a $1,000 cash prize is awarded to the BEST TEAM

Learn More @ I-Corps™ Workshops

Thursday, January 22, 12–1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 27, 12–1:30 p.m.
Buell Management Building, M311
Food and beverages served
RSVP: I-Corps@ltu.edu

Walk-In Wednesdays

On-the-spot idea reviews
January 14–February 11, 4:30–5:30 p.m.
Buell Management Building, M310

 Apply Here!   (Apply by February 4, 2015)

Program Overview

Innovative Design Thinking

Beginning with the Spring session starting on February 14, 2015, LTU will integrate Innovative Design Thinking into the Michigan I-Corps™@LTU Program. Design Thinking is human-centered with a focus on people and customers and their needs – not on a specific technology. It is an iterative learning process of defining, ideation, prototyping and testing your product – potentially several times until the customer says they can’t live without it!

A Overview 1

The #1 Obstacle to Start-Up Success – Lack of Customers!2-full.jpg

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 program will mentor each participant in a 9 week program with a focus on determining if your product or process solves an important customer need or problem, and if it 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.

A Overview 2

The Business Model Canvas

Results: Improved Product Success, Market Acceptance, and Customer Satisfaction!

A Overview 3

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.
  • All Teams are expected to participate in all 9 Saturday workshop sessions. The typical format will include a project status presentation by each Team Leader, focusing on the progress made the previous week, with relevant feedback provided by the I-Corps™ Teaching Team. Team Presentations will be followed by a 15 -20 minute talk from a guest speaker who will share their expertise on a relevant topic, a guided discussion on the topic of the day lead by the I-Corps™ Teaching Team, and an open Q&A session.
  • 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.
  • Team members should be prepared to commit 20 hours per week to successfully complete this program! This includes time spent in Saturday sessions; reading; watching online videos; preparing for, executing and documenting customer discovery interviews; analyzing the “ecosystem” surrounding your customer and preparing presentations for weekly updates. The model for success includes a minimum of two enthusiastic team members and an experienced industry mentor who are all committed to work together and follow the I-Corps™ process.
  • 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 @ I-Corps™ Workshops

Thursday, January 22, 12–1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 27, 12–1:30 p.m.
Buell Management Building, M311

Food and beverages served | RSVP: I-Corps@ltu.edu

Learn More @Walk-In Wednesdays

Check out the Michigan I-Corps™@LTU program at Walk-In Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:30 on January 14, 21, 28, and February 4 and 11 in M310 of the Buell Management Bldg. Or email 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:

  • Ideal projects will be based on a novel differentiating business innovation. The Spring 2015 I-Corps™ program will be focused on DESIGN related innovation with applications that encompass projects in INDUSTRIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, URBAN and TECHNOLOGY design.
  • 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 consists of 2 to 3 working members plus an Industry Mentor.
    • The Team Leader also serves as the spokesperson for the team3-full.jpg
    • One or more additional team members provide support for the Team Leader in completing all I-Corps™ assignments. 
    • There is no limit to the number of team members that may support the project “behind the scenes; however participation in Saturday sessions may be limited by meeting room space and software licenses available.
    • Each team also includes an industry mentor. If the team does not have access to a mentor, the LTU Collaboratory will identify an appropriate mentor to join the team.
    • Teams are expected to participate in each of the 9 weekly workshops held on Saturday and be prepared to devote approximately 20 hours per week to this program.  This includes time spent in Saturday workshops, reading, watching videos, interviewing customers, analyzing your market, and preparing weekly update presentations.”
    • 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

  • Team members must be willing to work together, with a shared commitment to advance their innovation following the proven I-Corps™ process. Over the course of 9 weekly sessions, each team will be required to contact 100 people representing groups that will determine their potential for success. This requires division of labor amongst your team members, consistent communication, a shared work ethic and being open to feedback and challenges by your mentor and the Teaching Team.
  • 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

The Michigan I-Corps™TM@LTU program is available free of charge to qualified teams thanks to grant funding from The Coleman Foundation and support provided by the Lawrence Technological University Collaboratory and the Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship I-Corps™TM Program.” 


 Apply Here!

Program Details At-A-Glance

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



The Spring 2015 Michigan I-Corps™@LTU program begins on Saturday, FEBURARY 14, 2015, with the final session on Saturday, MAY 2.  This provides for 9 weeks of active program participation with no sessions held on MARCH 14,APRIL 4, and APRIL 25.


The Spring 2015 program will meet on the LTU campus in the Gallery (Room A210) of the Architecture Building.


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:

A continental breakfast with coffee, tea and water will be provided each week beginning at 8:30 am.  Lunch will also be provided for the first two weeks and the final week of the program that meet until later in the day.  Download PDF Calendar

 First Week:

Following a brief introduction of the Teaching Team and review of the first day agenda, Team Leaders will each introduce their team and present their proposed innovation, followed by comments and discussion from the Teaching Team. The balance of day one will include a software orientation, review of the I-corps™ process of customer discovery, comments and advice from a prior Michigan I-Corps™@LTU participant, and conclude with an open Q&A session. 


What to expect from Michigan I-Corps™@LTU:

…..a typical Saturday

  • Project Reviews - each team leader will present to the group, focusing on learnings from the prior week’s customer contacts and how this insight has changed the Business Model Canvas. Teaching Team feedback will challenge, support, and motivate each team.
  • Learn from the Experts - an interactive lecture/discussion session led by a member of the Teaching Team on a different element of the Business Model Canvas will provide ample opportunity to apply the information to the specifics of your project; and a guest speaker will also share their expert perspective on a topic relevant to the program, with time for audience Q&A to address your special concerns.


…..between Saturdays

  • The idea of “getting out of the building” and talking to real customers (those who must buy, sell, distribute, manufacture or otherwise participate in the success of your idea) is a key component of this program. Your team will be expected to contact 15 customers each week.  Listening and learning from these contacts is critical to the ultimate success of your proposed business venture.
  • Reading and online videos provide “how to” guidance as you apply the I-Corps™ process to your idea and update your Business Model Canvas each week with new analysis and customer insights.
  • Engage with your mentor and sign up for office hours with a member of the Teaching Team to work through problems or get feedback on ideas.

Communicate with mentors, other teams or the Teaching Team using the program software that also is the repository for your customer discovery documentation and insights  


Spring 2015 Session Schedule:

  • Feb 14: Introductions, Orientation, Business Model Canvas & Customer Discovery
  • Feb 21: Value Propositions
  • Feb 25: Evening Networking Reception
  • Feb 28: Customer Segments
  • Mar 7: Channels
  • Mar 14: BREAK week
  • Mar 21: Customer Relationships
  • Mar 28: Revenue Models
  • April 4: BREAK week
  • April 11: Partners
  • April 18: Resources, Activities & Costs
  • April 25: BREAK Week
  • May 2: Final Team Presentations & Awards



Get more information about Michigan I-Corp™@LTU and how this program can help you to accelerate the development of your innovation at Walk-In Wednesday.   Sessions will be held from 4:30 – 5:30 pm in Room M310 of the Buell Management Building on the following dates:

January 14, 21, 28, and February 4, 11 .


Contact Anytime:

For more information, email Tex Criqui of the LTU Collaboratory at I-Corps@ltu.edu to arrange an on-campus meeting.


 Apply Here!

Apply for the Michigan I-Corps™@LTU

Fill out my online form.

Our Supporters

The Coleman Foundation

City of Southfield Logo

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.

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 national level NSF I-Corps™ program together.  Subsequently the NSF I-Corps™ program selected several universities to expand the I-Corps™ program on a regional basis.  Subsequently, with support from the NSF, the Michigan I-Corps™ was formed as a regional mode for the State of Michigan, administered by the Center for Entrepreneurship at UM. 


LTU became an early adopter and partner to expand the Michigan I-Corps™ with an inaugural program in Spring 2014.  University of Michigan has supported Michigan I-Corps™@LTU with shared training materials, mentors and case studies that enhanced LTU efforts to grow the program on Campus and in SE Michigan.  LTU has pioneered a format that offers Saturday face to face sessions over 9 weeks, providing an alternative for teams unable to participate in more compressed programs that meet during the traditional business work week. 


The Spring 2015 DESIGN focused program further expands the collaboration between LTU and UM with joint recruitment of innovation teams and the addition of Teaching Team participation from the UM Center for Entrepreneurship.   


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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