Lipinski's Job-Creating Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act Introduced by Bipartisan Groups in House and Senate Legislation expands access to successful NSF innovation program


Today, the bipartisan and bicameral Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act of 2019 was introduced by Representatives Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and Frank Lucas (R-OK), and Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Todd Young (R-IN). This bill enables broader participation in the successful National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program and provides additional training for innovators to learn how to turn their research into new products and businesses.

I-Corps connects scientists and engineers with the technological, entrepreneurial, and business communities necessary to move discoveries from the laboratory to the market. The most successful federal program of its kind, since 2012 I-Corps has trained over 1,300 teams, led to the formation of 644 startup companies, and resulted in over $300 million in follow-on funding raised.

The Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act of 2019 expands the eligible pool of applicants for the I-Corps program, allowing the participation of aspiring entrepreneurs who have already demonstrated their merit by being awarded Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer grants from a federal agency.

The bill also authorizes a "Phase II" I-Corps program that would provide additional hands-on, immersive learning classes for participants who have already gone through the current I-Corps training. This "Phase II" course would help entrepreneurs develop business plans to the point where they are ready to attract venture capital funding.

"I'm so pleased to be joined by a bipartisan group of colleagues in the House and Senate to introduce this bill expanding the highly effective I-Corps program, something I have championed since its inception. Increasing the accessibility of I-Corps allows us to ensure the money we invest in research and development will spur job growth and boost our return on investment. This bill has been endorsed by a wide range of technology, venture capital, and academic stakeholders, and we're optimistic it will become law with overwhelming bipartisan support," said Rep. Lipinski.

"This bill expands upon the time-tested I-Corps program through adding a course for commercialization-ready participants. This course will focus on the essential skills of starting a successful and scalable business," said Rep. Webster. "A special thank you to Senators Coons and Young for leading the charge in the Senate and making this a bicameral effort."

"The I-Corps program developed at the National Science Foundation is a superb example of a federal program that leverages a very small investment in the ingenuity of our nation's STEM researchers to spur innovation and generate economic growth," said Rep. Johnson, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. "I am happy to join my colleagues in supporting this bill that continues to build on an already strong program."

"I-Corps moves American research and innovation from the lab to the market where new technology can benefit consumers and businesses" said Rep. Lucas, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. "Expanding this program boosts American competitiveness in critical fields and promotes job growth. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and this bill gives innovators the tools needed to become entrepreneurs."

"Training our most promising entrepreneurs to navigate the transition from the laboratory to the marketplace supports U.S.-grown startups and small businesses and increases our competitiveness on the global stage," said Senator Coons. "We wisely invest billions of taxpayer dollars every year into scientific research and development, and this legislation builds a bridge for our best research to directly benefit society."

"Entrepreneurs fuel Indiana's small business community and have the power to transform our lives," said Senator Young. "This legislation will support Hoosier entrepreneurs by investing in research and innovation, and empowering individuals to turn their ideas into products and businesses."

The Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act has been endorsed by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, I-Corps Curriculum Developer and Stanford University Professor Steve Blank, I-Corps founding program officer and M34 Capital CEO Dr. Errol Arkilic, the National Venture Capital Association, the Council on Government Relations, the Association of American Universities, and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.