MIN-Corps offers many options for researchers to explore innovation commercialization.  For more information, scroll down past the calendar or click on any of the following:  Lean LaunchPad 101Innovation Commercialization Bootcamps - Value Proposition Design Workshops - STARTUP - Emerging Opportunities Forums - Strategy Clinics - Women Innovators Conference - Office for Technology Commercialization Seminars

Lean LaunchPad 101

Research Commercialization Through I-Corps and Other Resources - Register here

How does an innovation emerge from the lab to succeed in the marketplace? What are the resources available to support the commercialization process?

This seminar introduces the Lean Launchpad methodology that was developed at Stanford University to translate university innovations into successful licensed products and business ventures, and has been adopted as “I-Corps” by NSF, NIH and other federal grant-making agencies.  We will discuss the tools and processes that help determine if there is customer demand for an innovation and translate technical ideas into customer solutions that generate commercial and/or social value

The program will give a preview of MGMT 5102 (STARTUP course - open to students, research staff and faculty on either a for-credit or audit basis), as well as the non-credit Value Proposition Design workshops.  We will also give an overview of University of Minnesota commercialization resources, including:MIN-Corps, the University of Minnesota site of the NSF-supported National Innovation Corps (I-Corps), the Office for Technology Commercialization and MN-REACH, the NIH Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub at the University of Minnesota.  Finally, panelists who have successfully translated their university research to real-life products and services will share their experiences and advice.  

Two sessions are offered the last week of August 2017.  Register for either section here

  • Lean Launchpad 101 (East Bank Campus) - Aug 29 4:30-6:00pm 
  • Lean Launchpad 101 (St Paul Campus) - Aug 31 11:30am-1:00pm 

Innovation Commercialization Bootcamps

Each Bootcamp offers a one-day overview of commercialization practices and principles, including

  • Identifying and Defining a Commercializable Solution
  • Academic Roles in Commercialization
  • Product-Market Fit: Customer Segments and Value Proposition Design
  • Market Assessment
  • Getting Started: Commercialization Milestones
  • Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer - Working With the OTC

Medical Innovation Commercialization Bootcamp - August 30, 2017 10am-4pm - Register here

  • Content and case examples customized to healthcare - diagnostics, therapeutics, devices, health IT
  • Integrated with grant application schedule for MN-REACH
  • For more information and to register, click here

Science and Engineering Innovation Commercialization Bootcamp - September 21 10am-4pm - Register here

  • Designed for researchers from all disciplines
  • Good intro for grad students, post-docs and faculty 
  • For more information and to register, click here

Value Proposition Design Workshops

Four hands-on sessions cover the following:  product-market fit, customer discovery, pathway to commercialization, market assessment. 

  • Determine initial product/service application to a specific market - "product-market fit"
  • Develop competence in customer discovery methods
  • Identify steps toward commercialization - scientific, market, and business
  • Calculate the potential market size and assess potential competition
  • $3,000 NSF-funded mini-grants available for customer discovery and prototyping
  • Successful completion can lead to nomination to the I-Corps National Teams program, which includes a $50,000 grant for team participation and additional customer discovery

These workshops are designed for researchers (students, staff and faculty) who have specific innovations that they would like to explore commercializing.

Medical Innovation Value Proposition Design Workshops - Sept 13, 20, 27 & Oct 4  1-4pm - Register here
  • Open to medical and health care innovators of all stripes
  • Special focus on health care IT, cancer and neuromodulation
Science & Engineering Value Proposition Design Workshops - Oct 5, 19, Nov 2, 16 1-4 pm - Register here
  • Open to all disciplines

STARTUP: Customer Development & Testing

Students interested in pursuing their own entrepreneurial ventures are encouraged to apply for a new course offering based on lean startup principles and tools. STARTUP: Customer Development & Testing (MGMT 5102) is an intensive 2-credit course in which students test business model assumptions and receive recurring feedback from instructors and mentors. This is a self-directed class in which students must get outside of the classroom to meet with potential customers and partners. The class meets weekly during the initial 4 weeks, followed by periodic presentations and updates with instructors and mentors.

Application is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Minnesota. Participating students are eligible to receive pro bono legal assistance and seed capital grants up to $3,000 to fund prototype development and customer discovery. While individual students may apply, teams are encouraged to have sufficient capability. Apply here.

Strategy Clinics

Current and future science and tech entrepreneurs share a meal, hear from experts, share their challenges, and seek advice.

University-Industry Partnerships - September 27  5-7pm - Register here

  • The ins and outs of industry-sponored research through Minnesota Innovation Partnerships (MN-IP) and the federal SBIR STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) grant program 

Smart Customer Engagement - October 25 5-7pm - Register here

  • Doug Smidl has led the sales growth of multiple tech ventures.  He'll share what it takes to scale up from the first beta customer to a thriving, profitable customer community

Determing If/When to Launch a Startup - November 29 5-7pm - Register here

  • It is not easy to know when to "pull the trigger" and launch a startup.  Focusing on ventures that have licensed UMN technologies, we will address what needs to be in place before launch, and considerations that may determine the timing of a spinout

Strategy clinics are a collaboration between MIN-Corps and the Office for Technology Commercialization Venture Center

Emerging Opportunities Forums

Panel discussions on entrepreneurial opportunities and showcases of UMN ventures.

Securing Intellectual Property - Oct 3  4-6pm - Register here

An overview of intellectual property and discuss procedures for cost-effectively securing IP assets within science and technology-related businesses. 

    • Overview of key intellectual property categories
    • Patent basics
    • Trade secret, trademark, and copyright basics
    • Advanced patent topics:
      • Provisional patent applications
      • International patent applications
      • Freedom to operate
      • Developing an effective patent strategy for an organization

Early Stage Startup Funding - Nov 28  4-6pm - Register here

This session will revolve around some of the key tactics and resources concerning funding. Based on your product and business model, various funding options may be appropriate, including SBIR/STTR and other grants, bootstrapping, angel investors, loans, and (occasionally) venture capital. Come learn from our panel about how to navigate this challenging topic.

STARTUP and MIN-Corps Pitch Showcase - Dec 12  4-6pm - Register here

This event will feature participants from the fall semester STARTUP course and Value Proposition Design workshops. Teams will present their ventures and discuss their progress.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 12:30pm

Women Innovators Conference

The Women Innovators Conference is a professional development summit designed to help female innovators connect the dots between their ideas and achieving a positive, significant impact. This event will inspire, inform and connect women graduate students, faculty and business professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) to strengthen and extend the diverse talent pool of women innovators in the Twin Cities.

Learn more at


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Office for Technology Commercialization Seminars

The University of Minnesota's Office for Technology Commercialization Venture Center offers seminars for UMN faculty, staff and students considering a startup based on inventions emerging from their research.

No seminars are scheduled for Summer 2017. Please check back for information on plans for the Fall.