Application Process

The KSU Innovation Launch Pad (ILP) is a 6-session (June 2022) workshop, followed by 6-months of asynchronous coaching, modeled on the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program and supported by the KSU Office of Intellectual Property Development (OIPD). The purpose is to provide training and guidance to KSU faculty, staff, students, and community partners on the principles of lean start-up methodology and customer discovery to advance their entrepreneurial concepts to consumer markets.

Teams may apply to participate in the KSU Innovation Launch Pad (KSUILP) by emailing their application to with “KSU Innovation Launch Pad Application” in the subject line.  Teams from Cobb County may submit their applications to

The application deadline is March 28, 2022 at 11:59pm. Selections will be made by April 8, 2022. 

The application must include:

  • Team member list (Technology Lead, Entrepreneurial Lead, additional team members) which includes qualifications
  • 1-page (maximum) description of the product/service that the team is developing
  • Description of the intellectual property status relating to the product/service

Applications will be reviewed by a committee organized by the instructors with expertise in entrepreneurship, commercialization, and academic research administration. 

  • Chris Cornelison, PhD – Director, Office of Intellectual Property Development, KSU

    Dr. Cornelison also is an assistant professor of microbiology in the College of Science and Mathematics where he directs the BioInnovation Laboratory. His research group focuses on research areas in emerging fungal pathogens, mitigating white-nose syndrome in tri-colored bats, brewing science, and semi-automated mushroom cultivation. Prior to joining the KSU faculty in 2016, he served as a post-doctoral research associate with the U.S. Forest Service for three years. Dr. Cornelison earned his Ph.D. in Applied and Environmental Microbiology at Georgia State University.

    Birton Cowden, PhD – Research Director, Shore Entrepreneurship Center, Coles College of Business, KSU

    Dr. Birton also is an assistant professor of management in the Coles College of Business with research interests spanning many topics of entrepreneurship, particularly on corporate entrepreneurship. Coming to KSU in 2018, Birton previously served as director of new ventures in the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship he co-founded at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He earned his Ph.D. in Business Administration at Saint Louis University.

    • Members must be affiliated with KSU as faculty, staff or student or be nominated by the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce. Mentor role does not need to be affiliated with KSU or identified prior to the start of the workshop. The instructors will help with mentor placement.
    • Teams must have a product/service concept with enough technical development to justify commercial considerations. *This workshop is not about developing the technical aspects of your project and will not support R&D efforts*
    • Entrepreneurial lead does not need to have business experience. However, they should be prepared to do most of the customer discovery work and dedicate significant effort each week to this effort.
    • Undergraduate or graduate students may serve as entrepreneurial lead or technical lead. Teams of all students will be considered with appropriate justification.
    • Teams can include more than 3 members, but roles must be adequately defined, and all members contribute to the team’s progress.
  • Entrepreneurial Lead – This is the most important position on the team and can be a faculty member, a postdoctoral scholar, graduate or other student, staff member, researcher, or other personnel with relevant knowledge of the technology and a deep commitment to investigate the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation. In rare circumstances, with approval of the instructors, the Entrepreneurial Lead could also be the proposal Principal Investigator or Technical Lead.

    Technical Lead  – This is the member with the greatest understanding of the technical merits and feasibility of the technology and will typically be a faculty member, senior research scientist or postdoctoral scholar with deep and direct technical expertise in the actual core technology about which the team is exploring commercial potential. Typically, the Technical Lead will also serve as the proposal Principal Investigator when pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding. 

    Mentor – This member will typically be an experienced entrepreneur with proximity to the institution and experience in transitioning technology out of academic labs. Teams do not need to have identified a mentor before beginning the program. The instructors will assist in mentor identification where needed. Depending on the nature of the technologies multiple teams may share a mentor.

  • Each team will be eligible to be reimbursed for up to $2,000 in expenses directly related to customer discovery activities. If a team exceeds 25 interviews, they are eligible for an additional $1,000 in reimbursement to expand their interview count.

    Expenses should be discussed with the instructors prior to incurring costs to ensure that they are allowable. These funds are not permitted to be used on R&D of the technology or professional development of team members. These funds are not awarded to the team members or their academic home unit. Reimbursements will be processed through the Office of Research.