SOUTHFIELD — Online applications are now being accepted for the next nine-week Michigan I-Corps@LTU program that helps designers, innovators, engineers and tinkerers move their business ideas from the drawing board to the marketplace.
This year’s program will emphasize ‘Design Thinking,’ a product development process that goes through five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. There is a focus on gaining customer input before fully commercializing a product.
The program also employs the Business Model Canvas, which provides a visual method for describing a firm’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers and finances.
The application deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 4, for the next series of Saturday classes that start Saturday, Feb. 14, at Lawrence Technological University, 21000 W. 10 Mile Road, Southfield.
Learn more about the program at two I-Corps workshops on Thursday, Jan. 22, and Tuesday, Jan. 27, from noon to 1:30 p.m., in room M311 of the Buell Management Building at LTU. On-the-spot idea reviews will be offered on Walk-in Wednesdays Jan. 14 through Feb. 11, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., in room M310 of the Buell Management Building.
The Michigan I-Corps@LTU program is available free of charge to qualified teams thanks to funding from the Coleman Foundation and support provided by the Lawrence Technological University Collaboratory and the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship I-Corps Program.
Last year the LTU Collaboratory launched this real-world, results-oriented mentoring program to help students, faculty, alumni, innovators, entrepreneurs and companies advance new product ideas and establish new business opportunities.
Michigan I-Corps@LTU was established with funds from the Coleman Foundation and the Kern Family Foundation and is part of a statewide program designed to foster and grow an innovation ecosystem throughout Michigan. It provides participants with knowledge about what it takes to successfully commercialize their ideas and focus on meeting customer needs.
“The program is designed to save years and money by developing a structured business model,” said Mark Brucki, executive director of economic development and government relations at LTU. “Each innovation team will develop a greater understanding of its product and how it can benefit customers, locate customers and markets, and discover what it takes to commercialize a product and overcome the barriers to adoption.”
I-Corps participants are matched up with an industry mentor for individual assistance. Teams receive a prototyping stipend and can qualify for additional seed funding. The best team will receive a $1,000 cash prize.
“I was impressed with the process, which allowed me to thoroughly examine the core elements of my business model, with specific emphasis on the value proposition, customer requirements and market segments,” said Gordon Maniere, an I-Corps participant in 2013 who has worked with LTU faculty and students to refine his technology and business model.
“If you’re ready to really advance your innovation, to truly understand who will buy your product and what kind of business you can build, then this is the program for you,” said Paul Garko, team leader for the Michigan I-Corps@LTU Program.
For more information and to apply, go to www.ltu.edu/i-corps. For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.