UPR-Río Piedras to host I-Corps Puerto Rico’s 9th cohort
Grupo Guayacán, Inc. (GGI) announced the ninth cohort of its business idea validation bootcamp, I-Corps Puerto Rico (I-Corps PR), which for the first time will take place at the University of Puerto Rico’s Río Piedras Campus.
The event will be held in collaboration with the University’s Center for Commercialization and Innovation Support (UPR i+c), a program that is looking to recruit students, professors, and UPR researchers, as well as entrepreneurs from the general community who are looking to validate their business idea and create a scalable business model.
“As part of its role as a public institution of higher education, the University of Puerto Rico continues to advance its mission of developing an ecosystem that facilitates and drives innovation,” said Yahveh Comas, Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Director for the UPR.
“Offering a program like I-Corps PR at the Río Piedras Campus will allow our students, professors, and employees, the opportunity to be part of building a future of new opportunities for our university community and Puerto Rico,” Comas said.
“Through our collaboration with Grupo Guayacán we seek to motivate and incentivize innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization, as well as develop and access new sources of funding for the University,” he said.
I-Corps PR teaches its participants the methodology of customer discovery, through which they learn about their potential markets to determine the commercial viability of their business idea.
Throughout the five-week program, each team is required to interview 100 potential customers. Based on the information and data obtained from this process, they work on designing their business model canvas, detailing their value proposition, customer segments, resources and allies, sales channels and distribution, cost structure, and revenue models.
Interested teams should apply online by Sept. 13.
“Through this collaboration, we aspire to provide new tools and resources to foster the development and commercialization of new projects from the UPR that will result in economic impact for Puerto Rico,” said Laura Cantero, executive director of Grupo Guayacán Inc.
“We’re grateful for the support of the university community and look forward to meeting this new class of innovators and entrepreneurs,” she said.
Since 2015, through eight cohorts, I-Corps PR has graduated 120 teams, with close to 80% of them still actively working on their project or on new ideas validated through the program. Approximately half of these are university-based, led by students or faculty members.
I-Corps graduates have raised close to $6 million in capital to continue developing their businesses, including funding from the National Science Foundation, the Small Business Innovation Research, and funds from business incubators and accelerators.
About 98% of all participants recommend the program as a first step for entrepreneurs who are starting their business, Guayacán executives said.
I-Corps PR is offered through a collaboration between Grupo Guayacán and the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps South Node.
The teaching team is led by Keith McGreggor, director of Venture Lab at Georgia Tech, entrepreneur, and veteran instructor of I-Corps. McGreggor will be joined by a group of local instructors that include entrepreneurs, professionals, and other service providers who have gone through the rigorous training of I-Corps PR, Guayacán said.
I-Corps PR is sponsored by the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company and the program is free for participants.