Professional Development

The Michigan Tech I-Corps Program is a free five-week program to develop your business model. Enrolled teams learn the lean startup method through the process of customer discovery. Applying the scientific method, individuals and teams test hypotheses about their value proposition(s). The I-Corps teaching team mentors each cohort through the development of their business model. Michigan Tech teams who complete I-Corps are eligible to receive up to a $2,500 National Science Foundation mini-grant for continued customer discovery and prototyping costs. Eligible participants may go on to apply for the I-Corps National Program where eligible teams may compete for up to $50,000.


NSF I-Corps Program

The National Science Foundation sees the benefit in applying the scientific method to entrepreneurial ventures. Our MTU I-Corps Program is a free five-week program in which teams go through a process of customer discovery to test their hypotheses about their product/service/value proposition. Teams who go through this process are eligible to receive up to $2500 for continued customer discovery and prototyping costs. In addition, eligible participants may go on to apply for the I-Corps National Program. With the support and mentorship of the teaching team will develop a business model to help them succeed.

Learn More About the I-Corps Program

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University Innovation Fellowship

Fellows are students who want to make a difference on their campus and in the world. They have the ability and drive to create change so that they are being equipped with the skills to compete in the 21st century economy. Fellows at Michigan Technological University learn how to apply design thinking. They are part of the University Innovation Fellows program of Stanford University Hassos Plattner Institute of Design ( UIF empowers students to be agents of change on their campuses.

Learn More About University Innovation Fellowship

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Off-campus Opportunities

Why stop with MTU’s pitch competitions and I-Corps program? Check out our curated off-campus opportunities. These are of interest for anyone who is interested in: continuing to develop their business model during the summer months; gathering more feedback about their idea; winning prize money to fund their idea.

If you know of a resource that should be here - let us know. 

Learn More About Off-campus Opportunities

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Mentor Program

A mentor will help you along your innovation pathway. They will help you start your process, suggest improvements, and even help you with your next steps.  Our mentors come from all different backgrounds and experiences. If you would like more information, please reach out to Lisa Casper. 

Learn More About the Mentor Program

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Entrepreneur Futures Network

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a new American Made Challenge Competition: The Community Energy Innovation Prize, with a dedicated track to support student-led community energy innovation initiatives. Program staff, faculty, or student club/group leaders (with their institution's support) are eligible to apply.

To compete for one of 10 cash prizes of $15,000, we suggest these steps:

  • Register for the challenge by going to this website and clicking Solve the Challenge.
  • Submit a short application explaining your project concept by November 3rd to win $15K for your project! You must have a community partner specified in your application.
  • Register for the Entrepreneur Futures Network (EFN) informational Webinars to learn more about the prize. 
  • Join weekly office hours to get feedback on your concept and your questions answered about the prize.

The Community Energy Innovation Prize aims to support local organizations with proven track records of engaging underserved communities and/or promoting environmental, climate, and energy justice as they enact community-led climate and clean energy solutions. The Community Energy Innovation Prize is made up of three tracks: the Clean Energy Ecosystem Track, the Manufacturing Ecosystem Track, and the Collegiate Track.

Collegiate Track teams must be made up of an academic institution, eligible students, and a community partner that meets the eligibility requirements. Diverse, interdisciplinary, well-rounded teams are highly encouraged, and both U.S. and non-U.S. institutions and students are welcome to apply, but non-U.S. institutions must partner with a U.S.-accredited institution to participate.

The competition will challenge students to work alongside a community partner to plan and implement a project related to the clean energy transition and create a measurable impact. DOE aims to support skills development and prepare students to do this work through collaboration with industry professionals in a real-world setting.

The Collegiate Track: CONCEPT Phase Submission Deadline to win $15K for your project is Nov. 3, 2023, 5 p.m. EDT. Winners of the CONCEPT phase will be eligible to win up to 2 additional prizes throughout the academic year. View complete eligibility requirements and prize details in the official prize rules.

Entrepreneur Futures Network is a global non-profit dedicated to empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. We provide training, accelerator, and funding development programs powered by 20 years of experience and our global network including having worked with over 100 universities. EFN is an official DOE technical assistance provider and has received funding from the DOE's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to provide support to applicants for the Community Energy Innovation Prize.

Learn More about the Entrepreneurs Futures Network