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charleston bell
March 05, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

A spotlight on the commercialization initiatives across Tennessee

Charleston Bell spoke at Innovator Day at Tennessee State University about the commercialization efforts in Tennessee.

Last week during Launch Tennessee’s “Innovator Day” at Tennessee State University, Charleston Bell, the Director of Entrepreneurship and Biomedical Innovation at the Wond’ry spoke to the startup community about commercialization efforts.

Bell is also the Director of the Regional MidSouth I-Corps program. He spent some time explaining how the program works. I-Corps started through the National Science Foundation in 2011 to encourage innovators and researchers to bring their ideas to market. Each participating innovator also has the opportunity to receive a $50,000 grant toward their commercialization efforts and participate in the national program.

“Commercialization is about identifying three things. You need to figure out who you are helping, who will pay you, and why they need your product or innovation,” Bell said.

Charleston Bell

The regional I-Corps program runs for three weeks and leads participants through three workshops, office hours, and at least 20 customer interviews.

“We wanted to build an inclusive innovation corridor that stretches from the Mississippi Delta through all four of our states: Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia,” Bell said. “No matter who they are or where they come from, they can come to the Mid-South and create positive value change.”

Since 2011, the I-Corps program has done just that. Bell said the program has a 65 percent inclusion rate. This means 65 percent of I-Corps participants are unrepresented populations in STEM. He said they plan to continue those efforts in 2024.

You can read more about the recent I-Corps participants in this article.

Applications are open for founders, innovators, and researchers to apply today!

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