National Science Foundation Expands LSU Innovation Resources for Underrepresented Groups

BATON ROUGE – The National Science Foundation, or NSF, has awarded LSU additional funding to expand its successful innovation and entrepreneurship training program by partnering with two of the nation’s top Historically Black Colleges and Universities — Southern University in Baton Rouge and Xavier University in New Orleans. 

As an NSF Innovation-Corps Site, or I-Corps Site, LSU offers intensive training programs to provide research faculty with the tools and business skills that can bring their next great idea to the marketplace. Through the program, teams of three comprised of an academic lead, an entrepreneurial lead and an external mentor from the business community gain professional guidance from LSU innovation experts in market research, business plan development and refining innovative products and processes that spur economic development. LSU's I-Corps site is one of eight in the U.S. to receive additional support from NSF to promote inclusion in entrepreneurship.

“Our goal in partnering with other local universities is to create an ongoing relationship between the I-Corps participants and resources at their home institutions, and accelerate business development at the local level. Entrepreneurs have a long-term impact on the economy as future employers, taxpayers and donors,” said Brian Shedd, assistant director in the LSU Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization and one of the LSU I-Corps site workshop facilitators.

The LSU Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization, which administers the I-Corps program at LSU, will customize the training curriculum to best serve the communities at the partner institutions. The aim is to expand the entrepreneurial resources among underrepresented minorities and women in STEM fields. The training workshops will be held at the partner institutions with its faculty and will begin in summer 2017. At the conclusion of the program, participants will be connected with resources at their own institutions in order to enhance their experience and extend the runway on their business ventures. Each team also will receive a $2,000 grant to assist in customer discovery and product-market fit.

“This project aligns well with Southern University’s mission of creating leaders that are innovative and creative thinkers.  We look forward to working with the LSU team in positively impacting the entrepreneurial ecosystem within our communities,” said Michael Stubblefield, vice chancellor of the Office of Research and Strategic Initiatives at Southern University.

NSF designated LSU as one of the 51 U.S. academic institutions it supports to foster innovation and research that can be brought to the marketplace. Forty-seven people have been trained through the LSU I-Corps Site to date. One team has been invited to participate in the $50,000 national I-Corps program. Another team was recently awarded a $225,000 federal Small Business Innovation Research grant to launch a spin-off company.


Additional Links:

NSF announcement:

LSU I-Corps Site:

LSU Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization:




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