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Washington State University
CAS Connect March 2016

I-Corps entrepreneurship accelerator to aid students, faculty, state

Faculty and students can learn how to come up with the “next big thing” and become better entrepreneurs through the new Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program at WSU.

I-Corps features an advanced eight-week course designed to increase student and faculty participation in entrepreneurial endeavors. It is a LEAN Accelerator program funded through a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). icorps_solidcolor3

“This program is a great way to fulfill WSU’s land-grant mission of providing experiential learning opportunities that will lead to real economic impacts for the state, including increased commercialization of WSU research,” said Brian Kraft, CAS director of business development.

The free program is not part of an academic course, and no prerequisite experience is required to participate. The first session begins this fall.

WSU I-Corps will help our aspiring entrepreneurs better determine whether their ideas will work before they try to launch a startup business,” said Travis Woodland, the program site director and director of business development in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.

Researcher Tim Miller and Graduate Student Yushan Duan (Sherry) at the Mount Vernon Research Station.
Graduate students deliver a business plan presentation at the Mount Vernon Research Station.

“Our long-term goal is to provide a pathway for hands-on entrepreneurship training at WSU accessible to all students and faculty,” said Marie Mayes, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at WSU’s Carson College of Business.

NSF developed the I-Corps program in 2011 to help move academic research to the marketplace. The grant also designates WSU as one of 51 universities that are part of the NSF National Innovation Network.

In the past five years, WSU has grown its entrepreneurship efforts significantly, providing students and faculty entrepreneurs with training and business development assistance. Since 2009, WSU has launched 30 startups, including 15 companies in 2015, which have raised almost $9 million in financing.