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ASBTDC Participates in National Science Foundation I-Corps Regional Program

July 11th, 2016 by Rebecca Norman

ASBTDC’s Blake Norman, Nancy Knighten, and Rebecca Norman served as industry mentors for student teams during the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Regional Program, held May 13-27.

Eight teams comprised of graduate students, research faculty members, and industry mentors from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock participated.

The program guided teams through the process of exploring the customer market for new product or service ideas. Teams learned how to interview potential customers about their problems and pain points and use the knowledge to develop key sections of their business models.

In the role of industry mentors to UALR teams, the ASBTDC consultants assisted their teams with generating interview questions, conducting interviews, and analyzing the findings. Each team had an opportunity to present at the May 27 event held at Fayetteville and receive constructive feedback.

Many of the teams that participated in the training had an opportunity to take part in the 2016 Commercialization Retreat, where they gathered additional feedback from statewide researchers and business leaders to further enhance their business models.

Participants in this regional program may be eligible to compete for $50,000 I-Corps grants through the national program.