In May 2014 CSUPERB received a 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site program to fund microgrants to and entrepreneurship education for CSU students and faculty.


CSU students and faculty who have biological sciences-based product, service or process ideas are eligible for $2500 microgrants.  Site team ideas or projects can originate from student work, student or faculty research (funded or unfunded), or campus projects.

Microgrants can be used to consult with mentors and advisors, to attend industry meetings to meet and interview potential customers, to fabricate prototypes, and/or to buy research materials and supplies for proof-of-concept work. The microgrant program allows academic researchers and nascent entrepreneurs to get feedback from customers and advisors to better assess their biotechnology idea’s maturity, venture feasibility, and follow-on funding strategies.

  • CSU I-Corps microgrants will be awarded for a six-month period to CSU student and/or faculty teams.
  • Entrepreneurial Leads must have access to and freedom to operate with the underlying biotechnology.
  • CSUPERB can make up to 30 CSU I-Corps microgrants annually.

A call for microgrant proposals from faculty researchers will go out in January 2015.


Over the six months, funded teams will:

  • participate in a series of regularly scheduled webinars designed to teach participants about customer discovery, business model canvas concepts, business communications, regulatory affairs and other biological sciences commercialization concepts;
  • develop a biotechnology product, service or process concept as a solution to a market need by working with mentors and advisors drawn from CSUPERB’s statewide network of biotechnology industry associations, alumni and campus-based innovation centers;
  • assess a biotechnology idea’s maturity, venture feasibility, and follow-on funding strategies based on feedback from customers and advisors;
  • present final venture concepts and lessons learned at a final immersion weekend, and
  • gain remarkable access to industry mentors and leadership opportunities on which to build a career, a company, or the your next venture launch.

The entrepreneurial experience gained will set applicants up for success in federal SBIR/STTR grant and NCIIA E-Team applications, as well as incubator and accelerator on-ramping.  Specifically, CSU I-Corps webinars and activities will prepare teams to apply for the NSF I-Corps Teams program.  I-Corps Team grants ($50,000) allow recipients to further develop commercialization pathways and formulate proof-of-concept work, as well as participate in the national I-Corps curriculum.