NSF launches pilot program to enhance the potential for success of startups

New pilot reinforces NSF's commitment to small businesses as well as fostering regional innovation ecosystems with strong translation activity.

The U.S. National Science Foundation announced a new $4.5 million pilot designed to help maximize the chances of success for startups by making available novel curriculum and support methodologies, including techno-economics training and methods to evaluate financials. Lessons learned from the pilot will inform further research and scaling of this approach.

The new pilot is led by NextCorps, a startup accelerator based in Rochester, New York, that connects entrepreneurs and small businesses with experts, capital and customers to help them grow their business and contribute to regional innovation and economic development.

"Our investment in NextCorps reinforces NSF's longstanding commitment to deep technology startups and small businesses," said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF assistant director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. "By introducing proven techniques, including novel curriculum and support methodologies, NSF will identify key characteristics of a startup accelerator and pinpoint effective tactics that translate to a broader set of accelerators and startups, enhancing the viability of early-stage businesses and ultimately their impacts on regional innovation ecosystems."

While startups often struggle to raise sufficient funds to reach commercialization, startup accelerators provide training and support to help them overcome these challenges and become viable and profitable. The pilot will examine whether a centralized training and curriculum hub, based on an existing accelerator's experience, could expedite the development of a new startup accelerator in a different region with a different technology focus.

"We look forward to seeing the results of this pilot," said Thyaga Nandagopal, director of TIP's Division of Innovation and Technology Ecosystems. "We hope to identify features of an effective startup accelerator, as well as those features of a technology startup that correlate with graduating from a startup accelerator program."

To learn more about this new pilot, visit the NextCorps website.