The Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship Program (BHEP) and UC Berkeley Engineering have won a five-year $3.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to train and support entrepreneurs.
UC Berkeley is one of seven Innovation Corps “nodes” across the US that are supporting commercializing science and technology. UC Berkeley is serving as lead on the grant, partnering with UCSF & Stanford University. Two of the key activities the grant will support for students are:
- One-week “Immersive Short” courses offered eight to 10 times a year that introduce students to Lean Startup methods and customer discovery skills. Each team of two to four students must include a business and technical lead. The courses are taught by Berkeley-Haas Lecturer Whitney Hischier, along with UCSF staff, all whom are NSF trained. The next course starts Sept. 26.
- Expansion of the Startup Marketplace to match MBAs with top faculty/researchers at UCB, UCSF/QB3, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab & government agencies for short consulting projects. These projects have led to continued paid or advisory work, and entry into the Immersive Short course as well as the national eight-week Lean Startup course, which comes with a $50,000 grant for customer discovery activities.
Berkeley-Haas received a previous NSF grant, in 2013, for $3.75 million.
The team used feedback from students and instructors who participated in programs offered through the 2013 grant to improve the current programs, said Rhonda Shrader, director of the Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship Program.
“We found that students wanted shorter immersive courses that were less of a time commitment, and they wanted more opportunities in the Startup Marketplace to collaborate. That’s what we’ve tried to engineer,” Shrader said.
Now, MBA students are working with students all over campus, she said, “creating an environment for deeper collaboration.”