InnovateGW I-Corps Site Program


InnovateGW I-Corps Site Program

In 2016 the George Washington University was selected to be one of the newest NSF I-Corps Sites. 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 Regional Introductory Workshop. This is comprised of a half-day workshop session. After the workshop session participants interview prospective customers to determine how the participants' technologies might create value for the customers. Participants are expected to do 20 interviews to complete 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 Technology Commercialization.

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 InnovateGW 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

Regional Introductory Courses are run at least 6 times per year.

View the Current Workshop Calendar

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

InnovateGW Registration

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.

Customer Discovery/Travel Stipend

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.
  • Prototyping: Funding is available for MVP and prototyping. Prototypes are defined as first, or preliminary-stage models, built to test a concept or process after the team’s first 20 customer interviews are complete. 
  • 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.