University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

NSF I-Corps Summer Program

The STEAM Training in Entrepreneurial Practices (STEP) I-Corps Site will fund faculty and student innovators to vet the promise of new technologies during an intensive, two-week summer training program.

NSF Icorps

Program Partners


Program Goals

The University of Arkansas I-Corps Site, STEP (STEAM Training in Entrepreneurial Practices), builds on existing programs that accelerate the commercialization of research by faculty and students.

A primary goal of this program is to encourage researchers to consider how the commercialization of their research might open new avenues of discovery and promote economic development in the state.


APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED. The program runs from May 31, 2019, through June 14, 2019.

For more information, please call 479-575-7347 or email


The STEP site will include undergraduate and graduate student teams and faculty from three UA System campuses: the University of Arkansas (UA), the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), and the University of Arkansas Little Rock (UALR). Teams will receive funding of up to $1,000 to support their initial customer discovery efforts during the program and an additional $2,250 if their team continues to pursue the commercialization of their technology/research. All accessible funds must be spent by December 31, 2019.

All faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates whose research holds commercial potential are encouraged to apply; the program is also open to advanced business students with an interest in technology commercialization. 

Program Summary

3/23/2019 Application deadline
4/5/2019 Notification of acceptance
5/31/2019 I-Corps program begins
6/14/2019 I-Corps program ends

Two-week Program Schedule:

5/31/2019 Opening Workshop (face to face)
Location: Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Time: 10:30am to 5pm

6/1-6/7 WEEK 1: Teams conduct 5-10 customer discovery interviews and revise lean canvas. Utilize assigned mentor for questions/feedback during established office hours.

6/7/2019 Mid-session cohort meeting (online)

6/8-6/13 Week 2: Conduct 5-10 more customer discovery interviews and continue to revise lean canvas. Utilize the assigned mentor for questions/feedback during established office hours.

6/14/2019 Closing Workshop (face to face)
Location: TBD
Time: 10:30am-4pm

Teaching Team

Core Teaching Team

  • Jeff Amerine – University of Arkansas Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Founding Principal of Start-Up Junkie Consulting
  • Sarah Goforth – Director of Outreach, Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, University of Arkansas, and Adjunct Professor, Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas
  • Jeff Stinson – HealthTech Arkansas

Extended Teaching Team

  • Carol Reeves, Ph.D., PI – Associate Vice Chancellor for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Professor and holder of the Cecil and Gwendolyn Cupp Applied Professorship in Entrepreneurship, Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas
  • Bob Beitle, Ph.D., co-PI – Associate Vice-Provost for Research and Economic Development, University of Arkansas
  • Ed Pohl, Ph.D., co-PI – 21st Century Professorship, Professor and Head of the Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Arkansas; Director of the Center for Innovation in Healthcare Logistics
  • Cynthia Sides, Ph.D., co-PI – Director, Office of Industry Engagement, University of Arkansas
  • Daniel Berleant, Ph.D. – Professor in the Department of Information Science, University of Arkansas Little Rock
  • Nancy M. Gray, Ph.D. – Director, UAMS BioVentures
  • David Hinton, Ph.D. – Associate Director of Technology Ventures, University of Arkansas
  • Amy Hopper – Program Officer, WinRock International

I-Corps History

The I-Corps program was created by the NSF in 2011 to help faculty and students in the sciences learn how to apply lean startup methods for bringing new technologies to the marketplace. With funding provided by the program and the support and mentorship provided by the site, researchers and students will conduct market research, learn to identify product-market fit through interviews with potential customers, and develop prototypes.


Teams will be encouraged to take advantage of the growing Arkansas entrepreneurial ecosystem, which includes resources such as the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub at the University of Arkansas, statewide grant programs such as the Delta I-Fund, and accelerator programs such as the InnovatAR Life Sciences Accelerator supported by UAMS.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1735717.

event photos