Monday, March 14, 2016

I-Lab Accelerator

The Idea-Innovation-Impact Lab (I-Lab) Accelerator Program at NIU:
Seeking Student Participants

The Idea, Innovation, Impact lab (I-Lab) is a 16-week program, which includes workshops on creativity, social impact, design, engineering, and innovation.  In this start-up accelerator, students work in multi-disciplinary entrepreneurial teams to develop an innovative technology to solve a social problem.  We are currently seeking student applicants for the fall semester.

The course will be taught as a series of workshops that will include both required topics and on-demand topics, or those that relate to a particular team and innovation. Each team will receive between $500-1000 to support market research prototype development.  The I-Lab allows students to engage in the entrepreneurial process from opportunity identification to the launch of a new venture. Students will be exposed to entrepreneurial tools to help them create an innovative product, produce a prototype and develop a sound business model which incorporates and measures the financial, social and environmental impact (e.g., the double or triple bottom line). At the program’s conclusion, the I-Lab will host a “Demo Day” where E-teams will pitch their final product ideas to community members and potential investors.

The I-lab is open to all NIU students, undergraduate or graduate, with a passion and desire to make a positive impact on a pressing world problem. Students may enter the program as already formed E-teams, or as individuals looking to join a team. Students will have the option of taking the I-Lab Accelerator Program for up to 6 hours of course credit.

The I-Lab will be housed in the new NIU Incubator, a 10,485 square feet space located in the University Libraries main building, to be launched in September 2016. The space will contain a mix of open seating areas that allow for casual group discussions or serendipitous encounters, smaller “office” space for private strategy and planning meetings, and conference areas available for more formal group discussions and presentations. There will be dedicated space for the I-Lab Accelerator, including office space and conference rooms to allow student teams to collaborate and engage with faculty and mentors.

For more information about the program or how to apply, contact Christine Mooney at or 815-753-6308.