InnovateGW Program

IGW I-Corps Site Graphic

The I-Corps Site program at GW is called InnovateGW, and like the other I-Corps Site programs, InnovateGW is designed to educate researchers and technologists on entrepreneurial principles and practices and to give them hands-on experience in exploring potential, real-world applications of their technologies.


NSF Announcement of GW I-Corps Site Award



The heart of the InnovateGW Program is the GW Introduction to Lean Innovation Course. The course runs for a little over two weeks and is comprised of two face-to-face classroom sessions at the beginning, a midpoint check-in with the whole cohort, and a final readout with the teaching team. Each class session (except the readout) is approximately five hours long. The final readout is individually scheduled for 45 minutes during the final day. In between the sessions participants interview prospective customers to determine how the participants' technologies might create value for the customers. Participants are expected to do 20 interviews during the two weeks of the course.

The InnovateGW program provides participants with grants of up to $3,000 to cover any expenses in doing customer interviews.

The program requires a significant commitment of time, typically 10 - 15 hours per week. Technologists who wish to participate should be committed to learning about Lean Startup, Business Model Generation, Customer Discovery, and Customer Validation.

By the end of the program, participants will:

  • Learn the key concepts of business model generation and customer discovery
  • Develop and test hypotheses about their business model
  • Engage with key commercial stakeholders
  • Complete a business model canvas
  • Engage with the GW Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Learn the landscape of I-Corps programs regionally and nationally, and the common follow-on funding programs for which I-Corps participants are eligible

All current GW undergraduate and graduate students, doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers, administrative staff, and faculty are eligible for the AccelerateGW program.

Proposed business technical ventures should be in either the idea, development, or startup stages and must fall under one of the following categories:

  • Physical Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Software
  • Mobile Applications
  • Website Platforms


The Introduction to Lean Innovation Courses are run at least 6 times per year. The current calendar is available below.

Introduction to Lean Innovation Course Calendar


Anyone wishing to apply for the InnovateGW program can do so below.

InnovateGW Application


Successful completion of the InnovateGW program makes researchers and technologists eligible for the national seven-week NSF I-Corps Teams program. That program provides $50,000 grants to teams of three who want to pursue the commercialization of their technology in more depth.


Funding for Customer Discovery Expenses

InnovateGW I-Corps Site Grants are intended to be used to facilitate Customer Discovery. Allowable expenses include:

  • Travel Expenses to consult with potential clients or experts as well as to attend relevant training. Travel costs are the expenses for transportation, lodging, subsistence, and related items required to meet with industry experts and prospective customers.
  • Meetings and Conferences:  Costs of meetings, trade shows, and industry conferences are allowable. This includes the cost of meals, transportation, registration fees, and other items incidental to attending such meetings or conferences.  Note that attendance at industry conferences and trade shows is encouraged, but expenses related to attendance at academic conferences are not allowable.

These funds may be used during the Introduction to Lean Innovation Course and for up to six months after the course.  Access to this funding requires pre-approval by the teaching team during the course. Access to the money for six months, after the Introduction to Lean Innovation Course, is conditional on successful completion of the class and requires pre-approval by the GW Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship thereafter.  Pre-approval can be obtained by sending an email message to a teaching team member with a short proposed budget that shows planned expenses and the number of customer discovery interviews expected.

Teams may not use I-Corps Site funds for legal or administrative costs.

Alcohol is strictly prohibited for reimbursement and may not appear on any receipt submitted for reimbursement.

NSF I-Corps Brand