“Keep in mind that successful companies are less about the original idea and more about the learning, discovery and execution.” - STEVE BLANK

We are now recruiting student teams for the Fall 2014 Student I-Corps Early-stage Biotechnology Commercialization Challenge

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN BY PARTICIPATING (based on feedback from previous Challenge Teams):

  • Learn about what is needed to take a life sciences idea to a commercial product
  • Gain a greater understanding of biotechnology markets and customers
  • Improve your ability to work with a cross-disciplinary team
  • Learn how to find a market for bioscience ideas by working with industry experts
  • Gain appreciation for the preparation, methods and work needed to advance a biotechnology product concept
  • Gain skills in explaining ideas and concepts while interacting with potential customers
  • Learn how to tell a story to win support for ideas or to recruit others in a cause

The Fall 2014 I-Corps Challenge program is for CSU students.  Student teams start with a biotechnology idea, apply creative thought, and interview potential customers to develop a market application (product or process).   Teams attend webinars to learn about the customer discovery process, business model canvas concepts, business communications, legal and biotechnology regulatory issues. Webinars will be taught by experienced life science entrepreneurs, industry professionals and faculty associated with the CSU I-Corps Biological Sciences Site.

The I-Corps Challenge is funded by the National Science Foundation and it builds on CSUPERB’s previous experience hosting the CSUPERB-I2P Challenge (2012-2014).  Over the fall Challenge teams get out of their labs, innovation centers and classrooms and off campus to interview customers and consult with life science advisors and mentors. On the Final Weekend, Challenge teams present their product concepts and lessons learned at the 27th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium at the Santa Clara Marriott. The teams’ success will be gauged by the amount of learning they do over the course of the Challenge.  At least $6000 in awards will be made to teams at the symposium.


1)  View the Fall 2014 Student Challenge calendar to review the activities, deadlines and milestones to figure out if you have time to participate.  Friday Lunch Webinars will be offered every other week September 12th until November 7th.

2)  Are you eligible? Find out how to build out team rosters.

3)  Apply for a CSU I-Corps Microgrant ($2500) to fuel your team this fall. Microgrants can be used to consult with mentors and advisors, to attend industry meetings to meet potential customers and advisors, to fabricate prototypes, and/or to buy research materials and supplies for proof-of-concept work.


3a) Register! Interested teams should designate a point-of-contact (PoC) to fill out the registration form to save a space in the Fall Student Challenge. Due to the short turnaround to form teams this year, it is not necessary to apply for and win a microgrant.  However, we do need teams to register so that we know how to tailor the webinar series offered during the fall.

All teams must apply for a microgrant OR register for the Challenge by September 8th.

4) Check your personal calendars again.  The Fall 2014 Student Challenge will culminate at the 27th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium (January 8-10, 2015, Santa Clara Marriott).  Happily, symposium registration, lodging, meals and travel reimbursements for finalist teams will be provided by CSUPERB.

Please email or call the program office (619-594-2822) if you have questions.