The Startup Accelerator’s mission is optimize the early formative stages of start-up companies by providing experienced support for the transition from technological innovation to business opportunity. Named here as CBiRC’s BioBased Foundry, this is built-upon the concepts developed in the “NSF I-Corps program“ sometimes referred to as the “Lean Launchpad“.
A start-up company, in its earliest stages of development, is concentrating on technology development and identifying good sources of funding. Many start-up companies first operate at a loss and can go through a period where they have no revenue, relying on venture capital or loans to continue operations. Start-ups need to build a patent portfolio, perfect their business concepts and develop products that will eventually be sold on the open market. The Foundry strives to stimulate and nurture start-ups with technology-led innovations and entrepreneurship in the expanding biobased sector.
The Startup Accelerator prepares scientists to become successful entrepreneurs by thinking through their innovation in the context of making a product for a customer. The FIRST stage is built around a Technology-Led Entrepreneurship Course. During the course, students create a business model and slide presentation that projects the future of the concept in the style of a professional technology-led development proposal. In the SECOND stage, the Foundry provides an Entrepreneurship Mentoring Program for the most promising startup concepts. This process aligns a technology-based product to customer needs and improves the chances of startup company growth and successful product development. The business-savvy mentoring program helps startups by providing a process for evaluating the business opportunity within the context of a Business Model Canvas. The canvas helps a startup by formulating a good understanding of a future customer’s needs in relation to the technology being developed. This is called “searching for the correct business model” and this is fundamentally different from business execution in established companies.