An experiential, virtual training program that develops the skills to test and advance innovations with technological, educational or social impact into local, regional and national markets.



  • UH faculty, researcher, staff, student or alumni who have an innovation with potential for technological, educational or social impact
  • Startups based in Hawai‘i with deep tech innovation


  • 5 weeks (orientation + 4 weekly sessions)
  • 3 hours/week minimum


Participants work in teams as part of a regional cohort to learn and implement the customer discovery process to gather important insights on problem/solution fit and product/market fit to maximize the impact of an innovation, and create a business strategy


  • Test the market through customer discovery
  • Develop a business strategy
  • Gain important insights to maximize the impact of your technology


  • Network with teams from various states
  • Up to $3,000/team in seed funding for continued customer discovery
  • Eligible for the National I-Corps Teams program + up to $50,000 in grants


NSF I-Corps is a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) program that provides experiential entrepreneurial training to facilitate the translation of research to the marketplace and addresses urgent national needs including: training and strengthening the entrepreneurial workforce; commercializing cutting-edge technologies; and growing the innovation economy and ecosystem. Learn more here.

Participants learn the Lean Startup methodology, how to effectively communicate the value of your idea, validate its market potential, and grow their network.

The NSF I-Corps Hub: Desert and Pacific Region program is total of five (5) weeks, consisting of an orientation and four (4) weekly sessions.  Each weekly session is three (3) hours.  Participants are required to attend the orientation & all weekly sessions.

During the 5 weeks, you are required to:

  1. attend the orientation (1 hour)
  2. attend all 4 weekly sessions (3 hours per week)
  3. complete 15-20 customer interviews (~3-5 hours per week)
  4. attend 2 office hours + assigned reading (~2 hours per week)

Any student, faculty, researcher, staff or alumni ALL UH campuses who have an innovation with potential technological, educational or social impact can apply.  Startups based in Hawai‘i with a deep tech product or service can also participate.

The NSF I-Corps Hub: Desert and Pacific Region offers the regional training program throughout the year. Contact OIC at or visit for upcoming cohort dates and application.

Visit for more information about the next cohort and to apply. Applications are received on a rolling basis.

No, but participants are recommended to apply as a team with a minimum of two (2) people including:

  • Entrepreneurial Leads should have relevant knowledge of the innovation and a deep commitment to investigate the commercial landscape
  • Technical Lead should have a deep and direct technical expertise in the core technology
  • I-Corps Mentor should be experienced entrepreneurs advising the team and helping navigate the business ecosystem.

Contact OIC at for help in forming a team.

Yes. Participants may apply without a mentor, or you can contact for help with finding a mentor for your team.





Steve Auerbach
University of Hawai’i Project Director

Taylor Silverstein
NSF I-Corps Hub: Desert and Pacific Region Coordinator

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