The Georgia Institute of Technology’s I-Corps South program recently hosted 17 university-based instructors from Mexico for a two-day training session to teach them the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and how to build and maintain such programs at their schools.
“This is the I-Corps South Instructor Academy, which prepares instructors on how to teach the I-Corps methodology,” said Melissa Heffner, an I-Corps program manager.
The instructors came under the sponsorship of the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT), which is charged with coordinating and promoting Mexico’s scientific and technologic development, she said.
I-Corps South is a partnership of Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business.
Its main objective is to provide entrepreneurs in the Southeast and Puerto Rico with consistent instruction on the principles of evidence-based entrepreneurship, said Keith McGreggor, I-Corps South’s executive director.
With universities, I-Corps South offers the tools, support, and resources required to launch and maintain high-quality evidence-based entrepreneurship programs across the Southeast and Puerto Rico.
While university researchers often develop great ideas, they don’t always know how to take their findings from the lab to the marketplace, McGreggor said.
I-Corps Mexico — created in 2012 and based on the U.S.’s National Science Foundation’s model — aims to ensure that research developed by scientists in Mexico lead to greater societal impact. The I-Corps Mexico program was the first time that the training model was applied outside the United States.
“Mexico’s I-Corps program recently expanded to 8 nodes from 5 and CONACYT wanted a more formal program for this expansion,” Heffner said, explaining why the organization selected Georgia Tech’s program to conduct the training for the Mexican instructors.
“I-Corps South first offered a training course in 2016, and since then we’ve built out and augmented the program,” Heffner said. “To date, we’ve offered the program six times and have trained 25 instructors from 11 different universities.”
Additionally, I-Corps South has been asked to submit a proposal to the NSF to develop and conduct training courses for NSF I-Corps Sites instructors across the United States, at more than 80 sites.