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Apply Now for a National Science Foundation I-Corps Mini-Grant to Commercialize Your Technology

Attention student entrepreneurs: Have a great technology concept? Need funds to explore the commercialization pathways?

Apply for an NJIT I-Corps Site Mini-Grant at http://centers.njit.edu/icorp/apply/.

NJIT has been designated by the National Science Foundation as an NSF I-Corps Site and through the NJIT School of Management and N.J. Center for Innovation Acceleration, we will provide specialized training and mini-grants of up to $3,000 to teams interested in exploring the commercial viability of their ideas for products and businesses that are based on their own inventions or NJIT intellectual property.

What are the benefits?

Learn the lean start up methodology - an approach that has significant advantages over traditional business planning / new product development approaches.

Get out of the building and spend the majority of your time talking to potential customers to discover how your technology could effectively solve customers' unmet needs or pain points.

Make connections with experienced entrepreneurs and investors that can lead to potential follow-on support or collaboration.

Who is eligible?

 I-Corps mini-grants are available to teams made up NJIT students and faculty. Each team must have:

- an entrepreneurial lead (typically an NJIT undergraduate or graduate student(s))

- an academic lead researcher/advisor (faculty member)

- a business mentor with significant entrepreneurial business experience

The NJIT I-Corps Program Managers (Michael Ehrlich, associate professor of management, and Judith Sheft, associate  vice president for technology development) will provide assistance to complete teams as necessary. You must have at least two teams members identified to apply.

All team members must be able to participate for the six-month project duration.


REVISED Deadline for Submissions: Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016

Interviews of Finalists: Monday – Friday, Sept. 19-23, 2016

Announcement of Awards: Friday, Sept. 30, 2016

Mandatory Team Orientation:  Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 (Common Hour)

Expectations over Grant Period:

Following the Mandatory Team Orientation meeting, the teams will be expected to participate in a self-paced learning exercise for the Lean Startup Method, which is being set up on Moodle.

There are video lessons, written assignments and quizzes to help you keep on track.

Teams will also be expected to get out of the building/lab and to interview prospective customers.  Interview best practices and samples will be posted on Moodle.

This first phase should be completed within three months and could be finished in as few as 30 days.

Funding will be released in conjunction with this learning activity.

For the remainder of the grant period, we expect teams to advance the commercialization of their new technology to get to a GO/NO-GO point at which they will know whether they want to proceed.

Next steps for a GO decision could include an application for a $50,000 NSF I-Corps Grant, submission of an SBIR application for $75,000-150,000, submission of a NSF PFI-AIR-TT grant for $200,000, pitches before angel investors, and possibly  other steps.


Michael Ehrlich – NJIT School of Management and Co-Director of the N.J. Innovation Acceleration Center - ehrlich@njit.edu

Judith Sheft, Co- Director of the N.J. Innovation Acceleration Center - sheft@njit.edu