Program Details

Do you have an innovation that you think could be the basis for a successful business? Not sure how to figure that out? You're not alone!

Want to increase your chances of success? UMD's I-Corps program offers a short, two-part course that teaches you proven, evidence-based methods to becoming a successful entrepreneur. You'll learn the essence of the highly regarded "lean startup" method, including how to build a viable business model and how to discover whether there are customers who value your innovation.


Your learning begins with the self-paced I-Corps Prep, which includes videos, quizzes, and assignments to help you frame your entrepreneurship journey and customer discovery. This asynchronous course takes only a few hours of work.

You may then apply for the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Customer Discovery Workshops, an instructor-led short course, where you'll begin to test and put into practice some of the concepts from the I-Corps Prep. You'll be in a cohort with other innovators, get taught by instructors and mentors with deep startup experience and, most importantly, start speaking to with and learning from potential customers.

Participants work closely with teammates, other teams, and with mentors and instructors to develop business models around their innovations. Courses are approximately two-three weeks long, and the cohorts meet three or four times during that span. Teams must also commit to conducting a significant number of customer interviews during the cohort, and to completing asynchronous assignments. Participants should plan on spending 10-12 hours/week on I-Corps during these few weeks.

Course Content

The self-paced I-Corps Prep mini course will introduce you to the concepts of business model generation and the process of customer discovery. The instructor-led seminar will help you begin to put into practice the concepts you learned in the I-Corps Prep. The program will give you the tools to begin to determine whether your innovation, in its current stage, has value to a customer segment, in other words, whether there is a “product - market fit.”


All UMD professors, research staff, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students with potentially commercializable research or technology-based business ideas are eligible and encouraged to enroll.

UMD also welcomes researchers and entrepreneurs from the University System of Maryland  and from the broader state to apply to the program. While individuals may certainly apply to the course, participants are strongly encouraged to apply as a team of at least two members, and to apply with an industry mentor to support you in the program.

Customer discovery is invaluable because it forces you to challenge your assumptions and to refine your ideas before investing too much time and money. I now find myself evaluating all sorts of products in this light.

Lisa Kuder

Entomology Ph.D. candidate
University of Maryland,
February 2018 Cohort


The Introduction to I-Corps Courses at UMD are free to all participants.

Teams that complete this regional program and proceed to NSF’s national I-Corps Teams programs are potentially eligible to receive $50,000 non-dilutive  grants.


You may begin the self-paced I-Corps Prep, anytime, by enrolling here. UMD offers the live, instructor-led  Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Workshops several times each year. Click here for a list of upcoming workshops at UMD. (You may only join these cohorts with instructor approval after you have completed the I-Corps Prep.)

If none of the UMD-led seminars fits your schedule, you may join a cohort taught by one of our I-Corps partner universities in the region, through the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Hub.

Next Steps After Regional I-Corps

After successful completion of the Introduction to I-Corps Workshops, teams may be eligible to apply to NSF’s national I-Corps Teams program. Teams will also be well-positioned to pursue TEDCO MII awards, MIPS funding, SBIR/STTR grants, and other support and funding programs.