January 31, 2020

Discover how to commercialize your STEAM innovations at SIU’s Innova-ship training

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Innova-ship, a nine-week training program to help people take their innovation and entrepreneurship ideas to the next level, is coming soon to Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The spring 2020 Innova-ship program is designed to help people move their STEAM-related ideas and innovations forward. The program is for innovative thinkers from throughout the region and campus who have conceptualized products, services or programs in the “STEAM” areas of science, technology, engineering, agriculture, math and business. This program is their next step toward commercialization.

Open to all

The program is free and open to SIU faculty, staff and students as well as to high-tech thinkers and entrepreneurs from throughout Southern Illinois. It begins Feb. 18 and meets every Tuesday for nine weeks from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Southern Illinois Research Park, 1740 Innovation Drive.  

“We find that a lot of people have great ideas and inventions, but aren’t sure how to take that next step. Whether it's an idea for a new device, product, app, method, or other creation, our goal is to help people move their innovations from idea to reality,” explained Deborah Barnett, program director and associate director of the SIU Research Park.

The program is comprehensive, officials said.

"Not only will participants learn how to bridge the gap between innovation and commercialization, they will have access to ongoing advisement and consultation, including understanding and applying to Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) funding programs," Barnett said.

Many topics covered

The workshop will cover a wide variety of topics, all focused on helping people take their research and innovative ideas to the next level. Experts will share their knowledge and experiences. Ensuring participants are fully aware of the SBIR/STTR funding is a key area of emphasis for the program.

Training session themes include:

  • Testing your business concept.
  • Protecting your intellectual property.
  • Conducting market research and determining your target market.
  • Building the company team.
  • Identifying funding and investors.
  • Developing a presentation for prospective investors.
  • Entering the marketplace.
  • Planning for financial success.
  • Other pertinent details.

Grant-funded program

The SIU Research Park received a $50,000 growth accelerator award from the U.S. Small Business Administration last fall to support women entrepreneurs. That funding is helping cover costs of the program, which female entrepreneurs and innovators are encouraged to attend. Everyone is welcome to participate though.

“Since 2010, we have successfully graduated five cohorts (43 graduates) of faculty researchers from technology entrepreneurship programs at the SIU Research Park,” said Lynn Andersen Lindberg, executive director of the SIU Research Park. “The 2020 Innova-ship program will continue this tradition by serving as the launch pad for high-tech, high growth innovation at SIU and throughout Southern Illinois.”

Although there is no cost for the training, participants are asked to commit to the entire nine-week program to reap maximum benefits.

“We are excited to offer this expanded program to innovators and entrepreneurs from the region in collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration,” Lindberg said.

Sign up now

A brief application is required. You can apply and find additional information online at researchpark.siu.edu. Or, call 618/536-4451 or email dbarnett@siu.edu for more details.