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Horn Entrepreneurship

Proof of Concept Program Launched

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Horn Entrepreneurship announced the launch of the new Blue Hen Proof of Concept (BH-POC) Program during their five-year anniversary celebration on October 3 at the Venture Development Center.

The BH-POC is a program designed to provide gap funding and training during the initial technology commercialization activities of researchers and inventors across campus. The program is open to all University of Delaware students, postdoctoral researchers, faculty and staff.

“The BH-POC fund at UD provides substantial financial support to our aspiring entrepreneurs, and thus enables them to pursue new and bigger opportunities,” said Associate Dean for Research and Entrepreneurship for the College of Engineering, Yushan Yan. Yan was also the co-principal investigator of the Unidel grant that provided the initial $1.6 million to fund the BH-POC.

Aside from funding up to $75,000 for early-stage technology development, the BH-POC allows for the formation of connections both on and off campus. Participants engage with mentors and partners such as investors, serial entrepreneurs and domain experts while gaining access to resources, consulting and facilities, including NextFab, 1313 and the Delaware Innovation Space.

There are three separate tracks within the program including student prototyping, faculty and graduate student proof of concept and post-doctoral innovation fellowship.

The student prototyping track is open to current UD students and alumni who apply to the program within 12 months of graduation. These teams should be working on a project, technology or idea that has no Intellectual Property owned by the university. A maximum of 10 awards of $10,000 maximum will be given within this track annually.

“The program has allowed me to continue working with startup experts at the Horn Entrepreneurship, to further develop my business training. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of the program,” said Amira Idris, who has been a part of the BH-POC since its soft launch earlier this year.

Aside from having graduated from UD with a bachelor's degree in bioengineering and biomedical engineering in 2015, and again with a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and design in 2016, Idris is also the CEO and founder of TheraV. Her startup integrates wearable technology with vibration therapy to create a line of therapeutic garments to help manage pain. The UD alum credits the BH-POC for allowing her to continue TheraV’s prototype development as well as its market research.

The faculty and graduate student proof of concept track is limited to teams who have received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant within the past five years related to their proposed invention, or who have at least one applicant who has gone through the UD I-Corps Sites program. These teams should be working on technology which has Intellectual Property owned by UD. A maximum of eight awards of $75,000 maximum will be given within this track annually.

The post-doctoral innovation fellowship track is for post-doctoral fellows or PhD candidates near graduation who are interested in commercializing his or her thesis research. Their invention must be disclosed to the Technology Transfer Office. Within this track a maximum of four awards of $75,000 maximum will be given annually.

To apply to the BH-POC, visit udel.edu/bluehenpoc and submit the team application. There will be a team interview followed by a final notification of acceptance. There are four submission cycles throughout the year: January, April, July and October. The October 2017 cycle will be accepting submissions until Oct. 13 at 5 p.m.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the program, please contact the program’s manager, Christina Pellicane, the director of commercialization programs at Horn Entrepreneurship, via email at cpell@udel.edu.


About Horn Entrepreneurship

The Horn Entrepreneurship ignites imaginations and empowers world changers through educational offerings that emphasize experiential learning, evidence-based entrepreneurship and active engagement with entrepreneurs and other members of the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through participation in Horn offerings, students gain the knowledge, skills, personal capacities, experiences, connections and access to resources needed to successfully manifest innovation and thrive in the rapidly changing world.

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