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 Workshop which is a half-day workshop session. In the workshop session, participants learn and practice the concepts of the Lean Startup approach to innovation, including identifying target customer segments, crafting value propositions and performing customer discovery interviews. After the workshop, participants conduct a minimum of 20 customer discovery interviews. The customer discovery process is supported by a team-aligned mentor and OIE staff.  Initial checkpoints are conducted after each set of five interviews is completed. At the completion of the first 20 interviews, participants deliver a lessons learned presentation regarding customer segments, customer values, and the overall process. 

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 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


The Introduction to Lean Innovation Courses are run the third Friday of each month. The current calendar is available below.

Introduction to Lean Innovation 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.


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.
  • 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. 

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