The George Washington University’s new AccelerateDC program is searching for non-university affiliated start-up research teams from the Mid-Atlantic region who are seeking support and funding for their commercialization efforts. Eight teams will be awarded $25,000 in grant funding that will enable them to begin the customer discovery phase and head to an I-Corps national training course later this spring or summer.
The AccelerateDC program, funded by a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, complements the NSF-funded AccelerateGW program, which provides $3,000 grants to entrepreneurial GW students and faculty. Both programs are off-shoots of the National NSF I-Corps program that provides scientists and engineers the foundation to move their projects from the lab toward commercialization.
“Our ideal teams are trying to leverage technology research to deliver high-reward, high-risk, market-driven solutions,” said Daniel Kunitz, director of I-Corps at GW. “We are looking to provide aspiring technology entrepreneurs the tools they need to refine their discoveries and succeed in the marketplace.”
Teams participating in AccelerateDC and the National I-Corps benefit from NSF’s expansion of I-Corps under the 2017 American Innovation and Competitiveness Act. In an effort to introduce I-Corps to a broader audience and further develop regional hubs for innovation, all federal agencies will adopt the program as a model of teaching innovation to researchers.
Interested teams should apply online. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis through early spring. The first two-week GW introductory course starts Jan. 23, with a second to follow in March. The two-week immersive training will focus on customer discovery and the concepts of evidence-based entrepreneurship. In addition, all teams will be provided with mentor support throughout the program.
In 2016, NSF renewed its support of the D.C. regional I-Corps node that includes GW, Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park. The I-Corps programs at GW are housed under the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship within the Office of the Vice President of Research.