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Mtech's Mission

    The mission of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), a unit of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, is to:

    • Educate the next generation of technology entrepreneurs;
    • Create successful technology ventures; and
    • Connect Maryland companies with university resources to help them succeed.

    Mtech has built a comprehensive entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem at the University of Maryland. Its programs arm top students from around the world with the knowledge of how to successfully launch companies and guide aspiring and existing entrepreneurs through the entire lifecycle of launching and maintaining technology-based ventures.

    Read more about Mtech >





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    Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute

    UMD I-CORPS

    Program details

    Do you have an innovation that you think could be the basis for a successful business? Not sure how to figure that out? You're not alone! Most innovators don't know how to even begin thinking about starting a business, and often go down fruitless paths.

    Want to increase your chances of success? UMD's I-Corps program offers a short, two-part course that teaches you proven, evidence-based methods to becoming a successful entrepreneur. You'll learn the essence of the highly regarded "lean startup" method, including how to build a viable business model and how to discover whether there are customers who value your innovation.

    Format

    Your learning begins with a self-paced I-Corps Prereq, which includes videos, quizzes, and assignments to help you frame your entrepreneurship journey and customer discovery. This asynchrounous prerequisite takes only a few hours of work, but you can spread those out as long as you like.

    When an instructor deems that you have successfully completed the prereq, you can sign up for the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Customer Discovery Workshops, a short instructor-led course, where you'll begin to test and put into practice some of the concepts from the prereq. You'll be in a cohort with other innovators, get taught by instructors and mentors with deep startup experience and, most importantly, start speaking to with and learning from potential customers.

    Participants work closely with teammates, other teams, and with mentors and instructors to develop business models around their innovations. Courses are approximately three weeks long, and cohort meetings three or four times during that span. Teams must also commit to conducting a significant number of customer interviews during the cohort, and to completing asynchronous assignments. Participants should plan on spending 10-15 hours/week on I-Corps during these three weeks.

    Course Content

    The self-paced prereq course will introduce you to the concepts of business model generation and the process of customer discovery. The instructor-led seminar will help you begin to put into practice the concepts you learned in the prereq. The program will give you the tools to begin to determine whether your innovation, in its current stage, has value to a customer segment, in other words, whether there is a “product - market fit.”

    Eligibility

    All UMD professors, research staff, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students with potentially commercializable research or technology-based business ideas are eligible and encouraged to enroll.

    UMD also welcomes researchers and entrepreneurs from the University System of Maryland  and from the broader region to apply to the program. While individuals may certainly apply to the course, participants are strongly encouraged to apply as a team of at least two members, and to apply with an industry mentor to support you in the program.

    "Customer discovery is invaluable because it forces you to challenge your assumptions and to refine your ideas before investing too much time and money. I now find myself evaluating all sorts of products in this light."

    —Lisa Kuder, Entomology PhD Candidate, University of Maryland, June 2018 Cohort

    Cost

    The Introduction to I-Corps Courses at UMD are free to all participants.

    Teams that complete this regional program and proceed to NSF’s national I-Corps Teams programs are potentially eligible to receive $50,000 non-dilutive grants.

    Dates

    You may begin the self-paced I-Corps Prereq, anytime, by enrolling here. UMD offers the live, instructor-led  Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Workshops several times each year. Click here for a list of upcoming workshops at UMD. (You may only join these cohorts with instructor approval after you have completed the prereq.)

    If none of the UMD-led seminars fits your schedule, you may join a cohort taught by one of our I-Corps partner universities in the region.

    Next Steps

    After successful completion of the Introduction to I-Corps Course, teams may be eligible to apply to NSF’s national I-Corps Teams program. Teams will also be well-positioned to pursue TEDCO MII awards, MIPS funding, SBIR/STTR grants, and other support and funding programs.

    Enroll for the I-Corps Prereq>>