I-Corps South offers eight $25K Small Business Innovation Research Phase Zero Grants to technology startup teams

Travel grants available to startup teams with a strong technology component and based in one of 10 U.S. states in the Southeast or Puerto Rico.


Keith McGreggor, VentureLab, I-Corps South

Keith McGreggor, director of VentureLab and I-Corps South’s executive director, presents to a group of 27 National Science Foundation I-Corps teams as part of a class held on the Georgia Tech campus July 9, 2012. (Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek)

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s I-Corps South and VentureLab programs are launching a new commercialization program that will provide $25,000 travel grants to technology startups.


The program, enabled by a National Science Foundation (NSF) $350,000 supplemental award, will create a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase Zero pilot workshop to help university and community-based teams commercialize their technology into startup companies.


The funds will cover startup teams’ travel to the Phase Zero pilot workshop and a national NSF I-Corps cohort. Those funds also will cover travel related to the teams’ customer discovery efforts.


VentureLab will manage the travel funds as part of its NSF I-Corps South grant. To be eligible, teams must come from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico.


VentureLab is Georgia Tech’s technology incubator and works with university faculty, staff, and students to evaluate their research and help them create startups based on those findings. I-Corps South strives to accelerate the development of the South’s entrepreneurial ecosystems.


I-Corps South builds upon the foundation provided by Georgia Tech’s role as one of the initial three I-Corps Nodes. It is a collaborative effort that includes Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business.


“We’ve been asked by the NSF to develop the Phase Zero pilot workshop to address two primary concerns: first, the recruitment of non-university teams for a national I-Corps cohort and, also, the continued development of teams after their attendance at an I-Corps national cohort,” said Keith McGreggor, director of VentureLab and I-Corps South’s executive director. “We will accept applications from teams across the Southeast, and anticipate sending 8 to 10 teams through the pilot workshop.”


About VentureLab:

Created in 2001 and ranked as the No. 5 university startup incubator in North America, VentureLab is the Georgia Institute of Technology’s commercialization group that collaborates with faculty, researchers, and students to create startups based on Tech research. Using evidence-based entrepreneurship, VentureLab (housed within the Enterprise Innovation Institute — Georgia Tech’s economic development arm) has supported the launch of more than 300 startups. Combined, those startups have raised more than $1.5 billion in investments. For more information, visit venturelab.gatech.edu.


About I-Corps South:

The I-Corps South node is a partnership of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business. Through this collaboration, the node has the potential to reach more than 500,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and many thousands of the nation’s research faculty at research universities and historically black colleges and universities across the Southeast and the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico. To entrepreneurs, I-Corps South seeks to provide consistent instruction on the principles of evidence-based entrepreneurship in the style of I-Corps. Instruction is direct and challenging, keeping in mind the goal of holding entrepreneurs accountable to know their customers. To universities, the node seeks to provide the tools, support, and resources required to launch and maintain high-quality evidence-based entrepreneurship programs across the southeast. For more information, visit icorpssouth.com.


  1. Zoe Armstrong says

    How may start-ups in Puerto Rico apply for funding through this project? Some simply need funding for facilities. For example: Sagrado Corazon wants to develop a property 2 blocks from its campus in Santurce as a creative business incubator. The property is already used as an event space, but with clean up and partitioning it could easily be a business space.

  2. Peralte Paul says

    Hi, Zoe: Thanks for your question.

    The Phase 0 program is not for the funding of facilities. Phase 0 consists of a preparatory course to ready teams for the National I-Corps Teams program, and then a follow up course once teams complete I-Corps Teams that will prepare them to submit an SBIR Phase 1 proposal. The $25K is for teams to use for travel for customer discovery during the National I-Corps Teams program.

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