McGuire Center Partnering with Tech Launch Arizona for i-Corps Program

April 1, 2016

The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship is partnering with Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) and six other entrepreneurship-related organizations around the University of Arizona to participate in the National Science Foundation-funded Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, an initiative designed to prepare scientists and engineers to expand their focus beyond the laboratory and increase the impact of basic research. The purpose of I-Corps is to prioritize identifying intellectual property with the greatest potential for social and economic impact and then move it toward commercialization. 

TLA was selected as an I-Corps site in early 2016 and received a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. This grant provides TLA with annual funding for the next three years to distribute to selected I-Corps applicant teams. Funds will be split among 30 teams per year to help them move innovative research toward commercialization. Each team grant will last for one to three months and range from $1,000 to $3,000. 

Executive Director Joe Broschak, Academic Director Carlos Alsua, Senior Lecturer Anne Stringfellow, and Mentor-in-Residence Dan Janes have volunteered as instructors in the I-Corps program alongside instructors from Tech Launch Arizona, the Arizona Center for Innovation, and the Small Business Development Center. Participants in the I-Corps program receive training and mentoring on Lean Launch principles, the use of the Business Model Canvas, and customer validation to enable them to make a Go / No-Go decision about their tech commercialization venture. Additional support for I-Corps comes from the College of Law IP Clinic, the University of Arizona Libraries, InnovateUA, and Startup Tucson.  

The first round of I-corps training begins in April 2016 with additional rounds planned for Summer and Fall 2016. One McGuire Entrepreneurship Program team, TheraCea Pharma, has been accepted into the first cohort of the I-Corps program. TheraCea Pharma, created by graduate students Iman Daryaei, biological chemistry, Atul Patel, MBA, and Javier Castillo-Montoya, chemistry, develops therapeutics for the more than one billion people who suffer from neurological disorders, taking early drug candidates through discovery and collaboration from bench to market.