Mtech's Mission

    The mission of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), a unit of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, is to:

    • Educate the next generation of technology entrepreneurs;
    • Create successful technology ventures; and
    • Connect Maryland companies with university resources to help them succeed.

    Mtech has built a comprehensive entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem at the University of Maryland. Its programs arm top students from around the world with the knowledge of how to successfully launch companies and guide aspiring and existing entrepreneurs through the entire lifecycle of launching and maintaining technology-based ventures.

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    DC I-CORPS > SBIR Beat the Odds

    SBIR/sttr BEAT-THE-ODDS Boot camp

    Phase I Beat-the-Odds Boot Camp

    The NSF “Beat-the-Odds Boot Camp” provides SBIR/STTR Phase I Grantees with innovation and entrepreneurial training. While the training draws on methods also used in the NSF I-Corps program, the Boot Camp is specifically designed for early-stage companies and new business opportunities. The Boot Camp builds on your company’s prior work regardless of whether you participated in I-Corps, other commercialization training, or built another successful business. The program curriculum uses Steve Blank’s customer discovery process to assess customer needs, segment the market, and build a business model around the market opportunity.

    Taught by certified I-Corps instructors, the Boot Camp provides an immersive experience that pushes companies to develop stronger business models, market strategies, and successful products. The main goal is to provide early-stage companies with an introduction, or refresher, in customer discovery and business model validation. At the end of the program, companies will understand how to verify product market fit and other business model elements, thus increasing their odds for commercial success.


    Click here for the Boot Camp Schedule – Spring 2020

    Grantees will participate in the Boot Camp as a team representing your company. The team should include the Principal Investigator (PI) representing the technology and the President/CEO (preferably) of the company (or other member of executive team). Each team should register for Steve Blank’s free “How to Build a Start Up” course online and watch all lectures to gain the most benefit from this program. Click “Start Free Course” on this page to get started. All team members are highly encouraged to attend the following three webinars (click the links below to open the WebEx URL).

    Phase I awardees that participate in NSF’s “Beat-the-Odds Boot Camp” may reallocate up to $20,000 of their Phase I award funds to cover costs that were incurred as a result of participation in the Boot Camp.  Costs that are allowable are limited to travel costs related to customer discovery (this could include costs associated with registration/attendance at events for the purpose of customer discovery) and salary/wages for team members who participated in the Boot Camp.  All costs related to the Boot Camp must be in line with approved salary rates and other relevant Federal guidelines.  International travel cannot be reimbursed, nor can any salary/wages for work done while outside of the United States.  Awardees should send a request to their program director to revise the award budget once the Boot Camp activities have been completed and the costs and plan for reallocation are determined.  In the proposed revised budget, Boot Camp expenses should be captured on line G.6 (“Other Direct Costs”), and should include a complete description in the proposed budget justification.

    Boot Camp Preparation

    Each team should complete the initial draft of your Business Model Canvas (click to download template).  Additional recommended activities include:

    • View customer discovery interviews (http://venturewell.org/i-corps/llpvideos), specifically those found under these sections: Before Leaving the Building, Outside the Building, Understanding What the Customer is Telling You, Back in the Building
    • Identify a minimum of thirty (30) prospective customers to interview

    Boot Camp Office Hours

    Each team will be paired with an Instructor and will meet three times in 20-min Office Hour sessions. Schedules will be coordinated between the teams and Instructors based on mutually agreeable times. Information on these sessions will be provided during the opening webinars, and schedules are typically determined right after Webinar #2.


    Each team will present their “Lessons Learned” on Day 1 (“Boot Camp Day”) of the SBIR/STTR Phase I Workshop, which will be Monday, March 16th, 2020 in the D.C. metro area. NSF I-Corps instructors will critique your work and provide feedback about your business model (presentation instructions to be provided in final webinar). The full details and schedule for the entire 3-day workshop, which runs from March 16-18th, can be found here:

    SBIR/STTR Phase I Workshop

    All Phase I awardees should take advantage of the Boot Camp program. Please speak to your NSF Program Director if would like to try to opt out. However, such permission is uncommon. If you receive permission to opt out, please forward the email from your Program Director to sbir@iqsolutions.com and do not select the Boot Camp option during online registration. Otherwise, NSF expects all grantees to complete the Bootcamp program.


    Links will be added as they become available.