UCF recently partnered with Prospera to offer UCF I-Corps to Hispanics entrepreneurs and student innovators in the Central Florida region, utilizing a group of experienced advisors to mentor and coach selected teams. The collaboration provided the opportunity for Hispanic entrepreneur teams selected by Prospera to participate in the six-week program during March and April.
A specific goal of UCF’s I-Corps program is to increase the numbers of women and underrepresented minorities starting companies. The classes were facilitated by an academic lead, an entrepreneurial lead and an external industry mentor. Participating teams consisted of a minimum of two people – one with an ability to develop the innovation and the other with experience in business or marketing. Each team was matched with a mentor selected from a diverse pool of professionals ranging from corporate executives, industry experts, and serial entrepreneurs.
Throughout the program, the teams utilized the Lean LaunchPad (LLP) curriculum and methodology, tools of evidence-based entrepreneurship developed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Stanford professor Steve Blank. Each week, teams were able to conduct a minimum of 10 interviews with potential customers and received feedback from bilingual instructors—successful entrepreneurs and investors who are nationally certified in the methodology and process. All teams graduated from the program possessing a solid understanding of what their business model Canvas, value proposition, and customer segment should be. Each team received $2,500 to be used for Customer Discovery interviews and development of a prototype.
“Our experience with I-Corps UCF was phenomenal. We came with a software business idea and just after our initial session, we pivoted into a better and greater business idea. Thanks to the mentors and group we were able to find our true target market and define our customer value proposition. Thanks to Prospera we were able to learn about this excellent program that for sure will continue benefiting new groundbreaking ideas.” – The Elokuent Inc. Team