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I-Corps program returns to UT, Knoxville next month with three sessions

Applications are open for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Fall 2021 regional workshop series to be held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK).

After a hiatus due to COVID-19, the customer discovery program returns to the campus with half-day sessions on October 15 and November 5 in Classroom Studio 401 of the Haslam College of Business which allows participants the option of attending in-person or remotely. Shawn Carson, UT I-Corps Program Coordinator and a member of the entrepreneurship faculty in the Haslam College of Business, says there might also be a third session in between those two events.

According to this article in the latest newsletter from the UT Research Foundation, teams of two to four people can apply. Each team must be located in the southeastern United States and have an interest in commercializing technical innovations. University-based teams are preferred, though not required.

The program is part of UTK’s participation in the I-Corps South Node, one of eight regional networks developed to support innovation education, infrastructure and research. The workshops are designed by I-Corps South to help individuals interested in commercializing technology-based ideas build a business model that addresses customers’ needs. Program instructors include Carson and Maha Krishnamurthy, Vice President of the UT Research Foundation.

The curriculum will cover the customer discovery process, developing a value proposition and creating a business thesis. During the three-week period, teams will conduct a series of interviews with prospective customers to identify their needs and meet with mentors from the instructional team during virtual office hours. The program wraps up on November 4 when participants reconvene to share what they have learned.

Those interested in participating should send an email to Carson (scarson2@utk.edu).

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