The application period for the fall 2019 I-Fund at Winrock International has opened for early-stage entrepreneurs and innovators. Applications will be accepted through July 24, and the cohort will kick off on August 24 in Fayetteville.
“The I-Fund allows Arkansans, from every community and background, to explore their innovative idea in a low-risk, supportive environment,” said Amy Hopper, program officer for Winrock International. “The resources we provide are free, and the majority of the I-Fund program is virtual, lowering the barriers to participate.
“By participating in the I-Fund, early-stage entrepreneurs will receive three free resources: 12 weeks of one-on-one virtual lean startup training, a dedicated mentor from the industry and the opportunity to pitch for up to $50k in private seed capital. Entrepreneurs will learn how to interact with customers on day one and will meet other innovators from around the state.”
The 12-week virtual course, modeled after the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program, will teach participants the lean startup methodology, including how to the document planned business models on a lean canvas and how to vet and improve an idea through customer discovery.
The program will match participating entrepreneurs and innovators with mentors in their respective industries and provide them with the opportunity to pitch for up to $50,000 in private investment capital.
“The ideal candidate for the I-Fund is on a team, rather than a solo founder, and has an idea that can scale and is searching for the right business model to move forward with,” said Hopper. “The best I-Fund participants are open to being coached and aren’t afraid to change their business model.”
Prospective participants must apply here by July 24.
The I-Fund at Winrock International is funded by the United States Economic Development Administration and investments are made by IBERIABANK.