Pictured in Photo:

Lauren Sheridan, CFE Commercialization Programs Coordinator

Paul Lane, Professor, GVSU-Seidman College of Business

Shorouq Almallah, Associate Director, GVSU-Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Linda Chamberlain, Director, GVSU Technology Commercialization Office

Zoe Bruyn, GVSU student participant, EL


The University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) has successfully trained partner institutions, including Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, Lawrence Tech University and more, to be “Leaders and Best” in facilitating the translation of high-impact ideas and research into the world. Now, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) joins The CFE and partners to help GVSU students convert ideas into commercially viable products through the Introduction to Customer Discovery Program (ICD). The CFE started this program through a “Train the Trainers” grant funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.


The GVSU Introduction to Customer Discovery Program will kickoff on October 2, 2015 with a cohort of eight teams of faculty and graduate students looking to test their research and ideas in the market. During the 4-week program, these teams will be required to leave their laboratories and explore the outside world by engaging in conversation with industry customers and competitors. Participants are tasked with uncovering market opportunities and needs where their research could be applied and have an impact the given industry. The goal of the GVSU, and all other, ICD programs facilitated by The Center for Entrepreneurship is to increase the probability of university innovations successfully reaching the market, and thereafter growing economic development in the State of Michigan.


More about the program: The ICD program is based on the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps curriculum, which has a very simple goal: create a team of scientists, and add savvy business people, to make innovating scientific breakthroughs marketable. This first-of-itskind curriculum is an intense and immersive program where teams are able to validate the sustainability of their businesses. The ICD course covers the two most critical components of the business model canvas: value proposition and customer segments. Teams participating in the program will be properly prepped and ready to apply for a NSF I-Corps program, which brings even more in-depth mentoring, customer discovery work and potentially $50,000 in funding.


ICD is perfect for early stage projects looking to assess commercial opportunity, and gives teams a taste of what they could expect if they choose to apply for a National I-Corps program.


If you are interested in the Introduction to Customer Discovery program at GVSU, please contact Dr. Linda Chamberlain at chambeli@gvsu.edu. Linda Chamberlain is the director of the Technology Commercialization Office for Grand Valley State University. TCO is the university’s intellectual property administration center, serving Grand Valley’s researchers and inventors with licensing, patent and technology commercialization issue. TCO acts as an active liaison to parties interested in leveraging Grand Valley research or materials for academic or corporate endeavors.

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