Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Regional I-Corps Programs and Mason Entrepreneurship Program

What is the cost of attending the programs?
Both Mason’s Regional I-Corps and Mason Entrepreneurship Programs are 100% free of charge.

Do applicants need to be affiliated with a university or a hub member institution?
We are open to faculty, staff, and student teams based out of any higher education or research institution in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I am a technology-based startup not affiliated with any university. Can I still apply?
Applicants need to be affiliated with a university to participate in Mason’s Regional I-Corps or Mason Entrepreneurship Program.

However, because of our partnership with Virginia’s Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP), we do welcome community startup teams in the Commonwealth of Virginia that are focused on the commercialization of deep technologies. Our first preference is for teams based out of higher education institutions.

The National I-Corps program is only open to faculty-led teams affiliated with higher education institutions.

Can teams of undergraduate students apply for the program?
Typically, our Entrepreneurship Program and MIX programs are more suited to the needs of undergraduate student projects. We encourage you to reach out to us at saddo2@gmu.edu to discuss your specific project/application.

Regarding our Regional I-Corps programs, if an undergraduate student is working on research with faculty/researcher, the faculty can apply as the technical lead and the undergraduate student as the entrepreneurial lead.

I do not have an NSF research award for my technology. Can I still participate in Local or Regional I-Corps programs?
Yes, research projects without NSF research funding are welcome to apply to the Local/Regional programs. Participation in Mason’s Regional/Entrepreneurship Program will provide the necessary lineage for participating in the National I-Corps program (if the team meets other NSF criteria ).

Do all team members need to attend all of the course meetings?
For all our programs, we strongly recommend that the full team be present for all sessions. The entrepreneurial lead of the team must be identified as the primary contact who can attend all of the meetings in a cohort.

Does participating in the programs count as public disclosure of my intellectual property?
No, participating in the Mason Regional I-Corps and Entrepreneurship Programs does not count as public disclosure. Please note that we, therefore, discourage all teams from talking about the specifics of their technology.

The process of customer discovery is focused on finding the unmet needs and pain points of stakeholders, which is best done without disclosing your potential solutions.
While filling out the application form, please do not disclose any confidential details related to the technology – just a high-level overview of its uniqueness will do.

I am not sure which program I should sign up for – Regional or Local. Can you help?
Mason’s Regional I-Corps program is targeted towards teams that are more committed to commercialization, whereas the Entrepreneurship Program is targeted towards teams that are interested in just exploring the process of customer discovery (mainly from ideation to customer discovery).

Please feel free to reach out to us at saddo2@gmu.edu to discuss your specific case.

NSF National I-Corps Questions

Can I attend National I-Corps without attending a Local or Regional program first?
In some cases, yes. If you have an NSF-funded research award for your technology, you are eligible to apply directly to the National I-Corps program.

However, we strongly encourage such teams to attend our Mason Entrepreneurship Program to be exposed to the customer discovery processes. If you do not have an NSF-funded research award for your technology, you will need to attend our Regional I-Corps program before being eligible to apply to the National I-Corps program.

How can I find a mentor for the National program?
Mason Regional I-Corps works to provide mentors who are seasoned entrepreneurs with years of experience in “The Lean Start-up” methodology. These mentors provide support from the beginning of our Regional I-Corps program through the National I-Corps program and will continue to assist you throughout your commercialization journey.