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Title: The Implementation and Assessment of an I-Corps Site at a Southwestern University: Lessons Learned
In 2011, the National Science Foundation launched the I-Corps Program and as of today close to one hundred institutions are participating through Nodes or Sites program. While both program focus on providing training and funds to accelerate the implementation of innovative ideas to market, they have different implementation models and thus challenges. For I-Corps Sites, while each institution utilizes similar approaches on the implementation, including an I-Corps team formation, knowledge and skills training, customer discovery and guidance from experienced entrepreneurs, each ecosystem is unique because the program outcomes are closely related to the entrepreneurial culture both on campus and also in the surrounding local community. A major challenge for Sites is recruiting quality teams and having access to qualified mentors to provide guidance to teams. In this paper, we will present the implementation of a Site in a large public institution located away from a large metropolitan area, the challenges we addressed both in recruiting teams and mentors, and how the program has evolved in its current state. In addition, authors will be able to present on data from the program evaluation which will include findings from pre- and post-quizzes on knowledge of entrepreneurship terms and pre- and post-program surveys that captured changes in perceptions of entrepreneurship, such as interest in entrepreneurship, confidence in value position, and self-efficacy in entrepreneurship, marketing/business planning, and customer interview. In this paper, we will present data from five I-Corps Site cohorts representing close to fifty student teams. Since program participants represent a diverse group (33% females and 15% ethnic minorities) and also wide range of educational levels (freshman to graduate students), we are able to evaluate program impact also with respect to gender, race/ethnicity, and classification. This paper will provide valuable information for institutions interested in pursuing an I-Corps grant and to those who are already have a grant but are looking for additional ways to further enhance program impact on their campus.  more » « less
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Zone 1 Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education
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National Science Foundation
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  2. Abstract

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