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I-Corps South


Our I-Corps South team introduces research labs and universities to a lean start-up entrepreneurship methodology and curriculum. We engage hands-on with researchers to help them work through the challenges of transferring innovation born in the lab to the full commercialization potential, all the while guiding teams as they develop a sustainable business model founded in customer discovery.


Based at Georgia Tech, the I-Corps South Node was one of the three original Innovation Corps Nodes developed by the NSF.

This is a video of what I-Corps South is based on. Video provided by VentureWell on the I-Corps National Program.

At I-Corps South we bring together the innovation and entrepreneurial expertise of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee to create an innovation network across the Southeast.


Our team is dedicated to incubating innovation and economic development by increasing the number of startups and entrepreneurs. The I-Corps South Node reaches more than half a million graduate students and many thousands of the nation’s research faculty at research universities and minority serving institutions throughout the southeast United States and Puerto Rico.

I-Corps South is funded by the National Science Foundation to help STEM researchers bring their discoveries and creations out of the lab and into the market through entrepreneurship curriculum based on customer research.

Who We Serve and How



Students, faculty, and community entrepreneurs are eligible to participate in our I-Corps programs. Preference is placed on deep technology research-based startups that would meet eligibility requirements for the NSF I-Corps Teams Program.

If you are a researcher seeking to build your research into a startup, we offer entrepreneurship tools and training that teach you how to identify valuable use-case opportunities that can emerge from talking to potential customers and key stakeholders. Our programs prepare you to extend your focus beyond the laboratory by helping you to identify the right target market so that you can broaden the scalability and impact of your solution. We encourage you to engage through our Georgia Tech I-Corps Sites Program or one of our Regional Programs as you prepare for a national cohort through the NSF I-Corps Teams Program. Learn more here.


Participating in the I-Corps programs for teams will help you:


  • Validate your research in the market

  • Develop your business model for review by industry mentors and experts

  • Gain faster access to technology licensing, commercialization, and funding opportunities

  • Make your technology startup a reality


If you work at a university or other innovation-minded organization, our training Academies may be just what you need to help your innovation teaching teams and mentor pools flourish. We also encourage you to get in touch with us if you have teams that you would like to recommend for regional programs or the NSF I-Corps Teams program.  Learn more here.

Along with helping traditional research startup teams that are seeking pathways to I-Corps Teams, our team at Georgia Tech VentureLab will customize our curriculum and programming to meet the needs of an array of organizations, communities, and accelerators. If you have teams that would benefit to learn more about customer-centric innovation, are seeking to understand the societal impact of their research, or are generally wanting to understand how to apply lean start-up methodologies to problem solving and transformation strategies; please reach out to us directly with your request.

Participating in the I-Corps programs for universities will help you:


  • Equip your teaching teams with a consistent approach to delivering lean start-up curriculum

  • Create consistency and clarity within your mentor pools as they coach teams

  • Provide clear guidance and interview practice to teams seeking a pathway to NSF I-Corps Teams

  • Help your innovation groups and researchers gain new skills and perspectives



For Mentor's seeking to join our Georgia Tech VentureLab mentor pool we encourage you to reach out to us and join one of our Innovation Open Mics. If you are a new mentor with I-Corps or if you would like to become an I-Corps mentor but are located outside of the Atlanta Metro Area, we encourage you to get in touch about our Mentor Academy Program and so that we may connect you with an I-Corps Institution nearest you. Learn more here.

Joining our mentor pool and participating in Mentor Academy will help you:


  • Provide you with a chance to give back and share your knowledge with emerging startup teams

  • Get connected to a strong ecosystem of entrepreneurs and startup mentors

  • Learn how to be an effective mentor in conjunction with I-Corps teaching teams

  • Become prepared for mentorship in the I-Corps Teams program

If you don't fall into any of those categories, we'd still love to chat with you to learn how we can work together. 



I-Corps is based on the Lean Startup methodology developed by Steve Blank and uses the Business Model Canvas popularized by Alex Osterwalder at Strategyzer. Teams learn the strategies for creating a business thesis and hypotheses, and about the components of the Business Model Canvas. Teams are then taught to test these hypotheses in a specific market segment through extensive customer discovery interviews.

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