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Grupo Guayacán Launches 3rd Edition of I-Corps Puerto Rico

By on April 5, 2016

SAN JUAN – With 16 participating teams of innovators and entrepreneurs, the third edition of I-Corps Puerto Rico program kicked off this past weekend at the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez campus (UPR-M). This edition marked the first time the program is offered at a local university and outside of the San Juan metropolitan area.

“After two successful I-Corps cohorts in 2015, we are proud to broaden the program’s reach to the western region. We are also excited to partner directly with UPRM, a leading institution in research and innovation and one of GGI’s [Grupo Guayacán’s] key allies,” said Laura Cantero, executive director of GGI, a nonprofit that combines private equity investment with programs to stimulate entrepreneurship.

I-Corps Puerto Rico is a program that seeks to advance the commercialization of innovations through scalable business models. The program is offered through a partnership between GGI, the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust (Science Trust), and the Georgia Institute of Technology (GT), whose VentureLab manages the regional node for Innovation Corps, offered by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

I-Corps participants go through a “Customer Discovery” process that allows them to validate the commercial potential of their innovations through interviews with potential clients. The program includes a three-day launch, two full-day sessions and a two-day conclusion workshop where each team makes a final presentation. “Through programs like I-Corps Puerto Rico, we support local universities so they can incentivize the commercialization of science and technology based research. Our objective is that, within seven years, Puerto Rico becomes a world recognized leader in innovation driven enterprises, which strengthen the budding entrepreneurial ecosystem on the island,” said Lucy Crespo, CEO at the Puerto Rico Science Trust.

“Being able to host the third edition of I-Corps at the UPR’s Mayagüez Campus is one of the ways we can further entrepreneurial development from Puerto Rico’s main higher education institution. The program allows us to promote innovations stemming from scientific research and also enables entrepreneurs from around the island to access the talent available at the university. Through this initiative, we reaffirm the UPR’s commitment to entrepreneurship, a theme that has garnered particular importance in Puerto Rico’s current situation,” UPR President Uroyoán Walker Ramos said.

The teams participating in this I-Corps cohort represent the UPR’s Mayagüez and Carolina campuses, as well as the Interamerican University at San Germán, and entrepreneurial support organizations such as the Puerto Rico Small Business Technology Development Center (PRSBTDC) and the Mayagüez-based technology incubator, VITEC. Some of the industries represented through the cohort are: construction and infrastructure, communications, education, energy, information technology, materials, environment, and healthcare. The group also includes 16 mentors who work side by side with the teams supporting them throughout the Customer Discovery and business model design.

Katerina Sánchez, Grupo Guayacán; Brandy Nagel, Faculty Researcher at Georgia Tech; Miguel Vacas, Grupo Guayacán; Laura Cantero, Grupo Guayacán; Keith McGreggor, PhD,  Director at Venture Lab, Georgia Tech; Keila López, Grupo Guayacán; José I. Vega, PhD, Director del Centro de Negocios y Desarrollo Económico – RUM; Moraima De Hoyos PhD, Catedrática Auxiliar – RUM; Glennys Rivera, Especialista de Negocios en el Centro de Negocios y Desarrollo Económico – RUM.

From left: Katerina Sánchez, Grupo Guayacán; Brandy Nagel, faculty researcher at Georgia Tech; Miguel Vacas, Grupo Guayacán; Laura Cantero, Grupo Guayacán; Keith McGreggor, Ph.D., director at Venture Lab, Georgia Tech; Keila López, Grupo Guayacán; José I. Vega, Ph.D., director, Centro de Negocios y Desarrollo Económico – RUM; Moraima De Hoyos Ph.D., RUM; Glennys Rivera, RUM.

GGI’s program announcement included the following participant testimonials:

Antonio Negrón, from D2M Solutions, highlighted the program’s value in validating and commercializing his business idea: “From day one we are already being forced to reevaluate our original product and market theories. We are anxious to see where I-Corps will take us.” Another participant, Dr. Yong-Jihn Kim, also expressed his hopes for the program: “The I-Corps experience has been very good, it has provided insights to help us establish a clear value proposition that will respond to the needs of our customer segments.”  Nelson Perea, from the Puerto Rico Techno Economic Corridor and one of the program’s mentors, underscored the value of the talent accessed through the I-Corps program. “The program allows all of us, including projects incubated at VITEC, to learn from each other and take advantage of the knowledge and expertise of this excellent group of mentors who are helping participants accelerate the development of their ventures.”

The third edition of I-Corps Puerto Rico will conclude May 1. For additional information, contact Keila López at klopez@guayacan.org.

I-Corps Cohort #3 participants at UPR-M

I-Corps Cohort #3 participants at UPR-M

 

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