The Center for Entrepreneurship and UNLV College of Engineering earned the distinguished honor of becoming an NSF I-Corps site. UNLV was awarded a three-year, $255,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to support site activities.
As an NSF I-Corps site, the Center will incubate 15 to 25 projects a year. Faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, staff, and alumni are encouraged to apply to be part of this program.
Teams will be selected to receive up to $3,000 plus mentoring support for three months. Benefits of the program include:
- Mentoring from local experts
- Seed Funding ($1k – $3k)
- Opportunity to be referred for a $50,000 NSF I-Corps team award
- Free educational resources
- Access to the Center’s network including resources, opportunities to engage with the entrepreneur community, events, and funding opportunities
- Help commercializing your idea
- Prestigious NSF I-Corps curriculum based on the Lean Launchpad methodology
- Follow-on Funding Opportunities: Center’s technology acceleration programs ($40k-$100k), SBIR programs ($150k), VentureWell programs ($5k- $50k)
UNLV Faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, staff, and alumni are all eligible for this program. Those interested must idenfity the following:
- Must identify an academic lead: will serve as Principle Investigator (PI), is typically a UNLV Faculty/Staff
- Must identify an entrepreneurial lead: can be a student, faculty/staff, or alumni
- Must identify an industry mentor: cannot be a UNLV employee. The Center for Entrepreneurship can help you find a mentor if you need help identifying one.
To apply, simply submit a short online application. Then, meet with a committee to see if you qualify for $1,000 proof of concept funding. From there, participants take the Lean Launch Pad workshops provided by UNLV, with the first session begins mid-June 2016. Upon completion of workshops if product is still viable, participants apply for additional $2,000 in funding.
From there, teams continue refining business model canvas with mentors and develop proof of concept data or a prototype. Finally, teams may be referred to other funding opportunities including NSF I-CORPS, which is a $50,000 grant!