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UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business Partners with Other Bay Area Schools to Foster Innovation Locally and Nationally

300px-Haas_School_of_Business_central_courtyard1The Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley will partner with UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Stanford University as part of a new program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help commercialize university research and foster innovation, the schools announced today.

NSF is providing a three-year, $3.75 million grant to the three California schools to establish the “I-Corps Node: NSF Bay Area Regional I-Node Program,” one of three I-Corps Nodes across the United States. NSF hopes the I-Corps program will establish innovation ecosystems within universities that can train new entrepreneurs, support partnerships between academia and industry and lead to greater commercialization of university science and technology research.

Haas School of Business Dean Richard Lyons will head the Bay Area I-Corps node together with Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Blank, who lectures on entrepreneurship at both Berkeley and Stanford. André Marquis, executive director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship at Haas, will serve as node manager.

“Our three universities are the source of so many ground-breaking discoveries that can be put into service of society and this grant will allow us to develop next-generation processes to tap them and bring them to market,” Lyons said in a statement. “Getting better at this means more jobs, more economic value and better lives.”

Each of the NSF I-Corps will teach the Lean Launchpad framework, a training program developed by Blank as an outgrowth of a customer development course he taught at Haas. Blank developed Lean Launchpad to help entrepreneurs focus on creating business models, rather than business plans, after observing that few business plans ever made it past their first contact with customers. Blank currently teaches the Lean Launchpad framework in the Haas MBA program and at Stanford’s School of Engineering. Through the I-Corps, he will also begin teaching at UCSF this fall, applying the framework in a bioscience setting for the first time.

As part of the new program, the Bay Area schools also will provide their training programs online publicly and track the progress of their startups, all as part of sharing best practices for teaching and fostering entrepreneurship.

“The NSF has built an incredibly smart program to bring together the best of science and technology invention with all the advances we have made in teaching entrepreneurship over the past decade,” node manager André Marquis said in a statement. “Given our unique location within the national network for entrepreneurship, we have a great deal to bring to the I-Corps network.”

Learn more about the NSF Bay Area Regional I-Node Program.

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