NSF funds new pilot focused on historically underrepresented groups
The Compass Pilot is led by a nonprofit innovation lab with more than a decade of experience working with government partners to apply human-centered research and design methods to challenges faced by low-income and marginalized Americans.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a new $2 million pilot to support the increased involvement and success of entrepreneurs from historically underrepresented groups to bring their innovations to communities and the public with broad societal benefits. This effort ensures NSF is better postured to leverage the full spectrum of diverse talent throughout the innovation ecosystem.
The new pilot, named the Compass Pilot, is led by the Public Policy Lab, a nonprofit innovation lab with more than a decade of experience working with government partners to apply human-centered research and design methods to challenges faced by low-income and marginalized Americans.
“This new pilot strengthens our commitment to developing an innovation ecosystem that engages and benefits all Americans,” said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. “Through co-design and prototyping efforts, teams will develop a set of tools and recommendations to support individualized journeys down the entrepreneurial path.”
During the project, up to 40 teams from groups underrepresented in innovation will engage in identifying barriers facing them when attempting to pursue non-dilutive funding to examine the technical and commercial feasibility of their innovations for public good.
The pilot has three goals:
- Identify the challenges that start-up entrepreneurs face and particularly understand what barriers are experienced when pursuing seed funding and generate solutions that overcome these barriers throughout entrepreneurs’ journeys in translating their innovations to society.
- Co-design, prototype, and pilot tools with cohorts of community entrepreneurs, applying user-centered design methodologies to structure creative and rapid testing and validation.
- Propose a broad array of possible future initiatives for improvement, from systemic interventions to personalized experiential learning opportunities.