Based on a seven-week syllabus used by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corp, TEDCO’s RBI2 program has partnered with seasoned George Washington University (GW) course instructors to provide a virtual I-Corp program for rural Maryland start-up companies from around the state. The program, which runs from June 2019 to August 2019, is designed to provide a real- world, hands-on, immersive learning experience on how to transform technology and/or marketplace innovations into successful products and services.
Due to class size limitations, the selection process for this program is competitive. Companies are invited to participate based on their stage of growth, team strength, location, feedback from RBI2 mentors, technology/innovation, availability, and other factors that would facilitate their success.
HISTORY OF I-CORP & GW
Corps was launched by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2011 and has quickly become one of the world’s largest and most successful technology start-up In 2015 the White House included I-Corps in its Strategy for American Innovation and announced that the program would spread from NSF to all the major research funding agencies in the United States. As a core university in the DC I-Corps Node, GW hosts many regional and national I-Corps programs and has also led many of the efforts to bring I-Corps, and other related entrepreneurial training programs based on I- Corps, to numerous other countries around the world. Among GW’s many international cohorts, the most recent were conducted in Bahrain, India, Philippines, Brazil, Korea, and Mexico.
Each start-up team should consist of at least two team members who understand that they will be expected to conduct a high number of interviews with potential customers of their proposed product or service. They must include at least one co-founder or founder. CTOs and technical co- founders are also encouraged to join the team. Mentors are preferred but not required. Standard team member designations are:
- The Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) – a senior employee of the startup with relevant knowledge of the technology and a deep commitment to investigate the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation; typically, the
- Technical Lead (TL) – a senior employee of the startup who has developed research or an invention that they believe is commercializable; typically, the CTO or lead
- Industry Mentor (IM) – Experienced entrepreneur or business leader from the relevant industry into which the proposed product/service will be
Participants are expected to:
- assign a team leader who will act as a primary point of contact for the team
- be committed to attending and fully participating in every planned session of the program
- be committed to completing all required assignments of the program
- be eager to learn about lean startup teaching methodologies and evidence-based entrepreneurship pedagogy
Companies are reviewed after the first two weeks of the program. At this point, continued participation in the course will be based on each participants ability to meet progression requirements.
Other than the Introductory Webinar, weekly webinars will take place from 12-2 PM on Thursdays. The sessions will be held virtually, except as noted. Office hours will also be done virtually.
The program will consist of the following components:
- Tuesday, June 18
- Introduction, Welcome, Course Expectations
- Team Introductions
- Instructor Introductions
- Evidence-based entrepreneurship
- Introduction to Customer Segmentation, Customers = People
- Introduction to Value Propositions, Gains and Pains
Weeks 1 and 2 – Intro to I-Corps Intensive
- Week 1: July 8-12
- Review of introductory webinar and progress
- Hypothesis Development
- Best Practices for Customer Discovery
- Interview practice
- Interview Assignments – numbers and quality
- Week 2: July 15-19
- Interview results
- Data interpretation
- Final presentations (TEDCO participation?)
- Assignments – numbers and quality
Team Checkpoint Review – Teaching Team and TEDCO
- July 22-July 26
- Evaluate team performance, hard and soft criteria
- Number of interviews
- Quality of interviews
- Extenuating circumstance
- Select teams
- Notify teams of next steps
- Evaluate team performance, hard and soft criteria
Completion of I-Corps
- Week 3: July 29-Aug 2
- Customer Relationships
- Week 4: Aug 5-Aug 9
- Revenue Model
- Week 5: Aug 12-Aug 16
- Key Activities
- Key Partnerships
- Key Talent
- Week 6: Aug 19-Aug 23
- Cost Model
- Cash Flow Model
· Final week: Aug 26-Aug 30 (possible face to face demo day or similar component to wrap up session)
- Storytelling discussion
- What’s Next
- Team presentations
ACCESS, EQUIPMENT, & EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS
All participants will need high-speed Internet connections, webcams and headsets to be able to view and make presentations through the Webex platform. We encourage participants to coordinate and test their connections in advance whether participating at home or via a local workspace or incubator.
TEDCO will ensure that all participants are mailed the following books for the course.
- Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank
- Value Proposition Design by Alex Osterwalder
Additinal course materials will be accessible via the program’s software platform.
Please reach out to your local RBI2 mentor or Anne Balduzzi, TEDCO’s Director of Advisory Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions regarding the program.