Grupo Guayacán Inc. (GGI) announced the return of its I-Corps Puerto Rico (I-Corps PR) program with the official call for applications for its 6th cohort, which will take place during April and May at the Universidad del Este (UNE) in Carolina.
I-Corps PR is GGI’s cornerstone offering for idea stage innovative entrepreneurs looking to validate their ideas and build scalable business models.
Since 2015, I-Corps PR is offered through a partnership between GGI and the Georgia Institute of Technology (GT), whose VentureLab manages the regional node for the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps, on which the local program is based. The program includes a 2-day kick off, two weekly meetings and a 2-day conclusion workshop where each team presents the findings from the customer discovery process.
The local teaching team will be led by Keith McGreggor, VentureLab Director, entrepreneur, and veteran I-Corps instructor.
The upcoming I-Corps PR Cohorts is sponsored by the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO), with additional funding from the the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC).
GGI is a second-time winner of the competition which awards cash prizes to nonprofit organizations that provide support to help startups grow, become commercially viable, and achieve measurable and sustained economic impact in underserved regions across the U.S.
The $50,000 GAFC prize will allow GGI to expand the scope of its I-Corps PR offering through a new commercialization component focused on increasing awareness and participation in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
These programs offer significant funding opportunities to small businesses engaged in innovative R&D activities with commercialization potential.
Puerto Rico has a historically low participation rate in both programs, an indicator that GGI seeks to increase through this initiative which will provide grant writing assistance to high potential teams.
“At Guayacán, we are excited to announce the return of I-Corps Puerto Rico, an ideal launching place for our most innovative business ideas. Since 2015, throughout five cohorts, the program has graduated 68 teams, of which nearly 90 percent are still active, and have raised more than $4.5 million in capital for their ventures,” said Laura Cantero, GGI’s executive director.
“We are thankful to PRIDCO for their continued support of Guayacán’s programs and initiatives, as well as to the SBA for selecting us again as winners of their GAFC. Special thanks to Terestella González Denton, Dean of the José A. (Tony) Santana International School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at UNE, and her team, for graciously hosting this cohort on their campus,” she said.
“Through the new SBIR/STTR track we hope to make new tools and resources available to our researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs so they can continue to develop their ventures,” Cantero added.
Through the intensive four-week program, each team will learn about their potential markets by conducting over 100 customer discovery interviews with likely customers and market influencers.
Based on the feedback and evidence gathered through the customer discovery phase, each team will build a business model canvas, detailing the venture’s value propositions, customer segments, key activities, resources and partners, sales/distribution channels, cost structures, and revenue streams.
Interested teams must submit a brief online application, found here. The application process will be open until March 9th, 2018. There will be an informational webinar on March 1st at 2:30 p.m. where participants can learn more about the program and ask questions. To join the webinar, register here.