Pacific Desert Hub


The National Science Foundation designated UC San Diego as one of the four original universities to pilot their "innovation Corps" concept in 2011.  The resulting NSF I-Corps™ program was established to educate and train technical founders in lean startup principles, including value-based development and customer validation.  

IGE has enhanced and expanded the core curriculum, creating a rigorous introductory workshop series as foundational first steps in a Path-to-Market journey. This program will guide you through the process of product development, market validation, and business modeling.

Today, IGE is part of the Desert and Pacific Region Hub, which includes the Universities of Arizona, Boise State, Northern Arizona, Hawai'i, Idaho and Nevada, Las Vegas. This allows IGE to expand its Impact by increasing our network, pooling resources, and servicing more startup teams.


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Ready to Start Your Entrepreneurial Journey?

IGE runs the NSF I-Corps Pacific Desert Hub Program runs year round

Experienced Industry Mentors

The program is based on real-world, hands-on, immersive learning in concert with mentoring from experienced industry entrepreneurs.  It includes interviewing customers and understanding their needs and problems to develop a strong product/market fit. In each session, participants engage with mentors and other teams to share what they learn from their customer discovery efforts - as constructive feedback to further their development.

Funding Opportunities

Admitted teams are eligible for a $1000 stipend to continue market validation if requirements are met.



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 Objectives of the Program:

  •  Learn the basics of lean startup entrepreneurship

  •  Effectively communicate the value of your idea

  •  Validate market potential through customer discovery

  •  Gateway to other acceleration programs such as NSF I-Corps™ Nationals Teams Program




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National I-Corps

Once you complete the local I-Corps course, you are eligible to apply to National I-Corps where you can earn a grant of up to $50,000. 

Eligibility Requirements

Attend five mandatory classes and complete homework assignments. Interface with your mentor between classes.
Originate from student work, research (funded or unfunded), institutional, or industrial projects.
All UC San Diego students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and recent alumni are eligible to apply. It is required that participants apply to this program as a team of at least two people.
Previous requirements plus underrepresented founders in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics, or part of the UC System, or part of the Desert- Pacific Hub, or participants in a partner organization of IGE such as San Diego State University or UC San Diego's Talent Foundry.