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Lean for Main Street Training Challenge

About the Challenge
Adapting the NSF’s I-Corps Program for More Segments of New and Aspiring Small Business Owners

Posted By: Small Business Administration
Category: Ideas
Submission Dates: 12 p.m. ET, Jan 11, 2016 - 9 a.m. ET, Feb 11, 2016 Winners Announced: Feb 29, 2016

UPDATE – 3/11/2016 – SBA is pleased to announce the five winners of the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge. Please see the discussion tab or the press release for winner information. Thank you to all applicants!

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Note: This challenge is limited only to entities that are currently part of SBA’s Resource Partner Network, i.e. entities that receive SBA funding to operate Small Business Development Centers (both lead and service centers are eligible), Women’s Business Centers, Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers, and SCORE Chapters. Please see the Rules section for more information, or contact leanchallenge@sba.gov with additional questions.

Given the success and growing popularity of the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps™ program (see http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/i-corps/about.jsp), the SBA is interested in the potential for using adapted versions of that program as a means to assist a broader array of small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs operating outside the I-Corps™ program’s current focus on technology-based businesses or commercialization concepts.  For reference, the I-Corps™ program involves expert business trainers helping teams of scientists and entrepreneurs apply “lean principles”—a collection of practices and concepts for business model analysis—to those scientists’ and entrepreneurs’ nascent entrepreneurial efforts.  Given the SBA’s esteem for the success of this program, the SBA has partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to offer the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge to current SBA Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers, and SCORE Chapters (“Contestants”).

Contestants selected as winners will participate in the development and deployment of innovative “lean startup” resources that can be delivered to small businesses in sectors or regions that have not had significant exposure or access to these resources. Winning Contestant representatives will participate in an in-person and virtual train-the-trainer  program and forum with I-Corps™ national instructors to develop an innovative framework for exposing lean methodology to businesses in traditional sectors.  Winners will then implement these newly-developed lean training resources to businesses in their respective communities on a pilot basis and provide SBA with an assessment of their effectiveness. For more information, please see the Rules section.

Judging Criteria

Audience

SBA’s Resource Partners interact with a diverse group of small business owners and entrepreneurs. While lean materials aimed towards tech startups are commonly available, entrepreneurs in different industries, with different backgrounds, or from different geographies may find these materials less applicable to their immediate circumstances. In order to be successful, a Contestant should clearly identify the specific audience for which their solution would be developed. Contestants are free to define their audience according to their own parameters (e.g. Sector, Business Phase (pre-venture, startup, existing businesses) Geography, Historically Disadvantaged or Underserved Status , etc.)

Adaptation

To kick off the adaptation of the I-Corps program, each winner will send two representatives to NSF’s I-Corps gathering in Washington, DC, where they will work in dedicated groups with I-Corps instructors as part of a specialized Train the Trainer program. Applications should outline exactly how representatives intend to benefit from this experience, including any specific knowledge gaps that representatives are looking to fill through their participation. They should also give a clear idea of the demonstrated ability of each representative to adapt and deliver new resources to small businesses. Please note that while SBA is interested in your knowledge and experience with lean methods, preexisting expertise in lean methodology is NOT a requirement for this Competition.

Implementation

An entrepreneurial development program is only as good as the people it can reach. While the ability to adapt and customize entrepreneurial development resources is clearly important, equally important will be the Contestants’ solution to delivering their curriculum to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in their target audience. An application should delineate, as clearly as possible, how the Resource Partner intends to leverage their existing relationships, the curriculum that they will develop, and the funds awarded to bring lean methods into their communities on a pilot basis. Applications should also give a clear idea of how they intend to assess the effectiveness of their program, including specific metrics that the Resource Partner will track.

How to Enter

Contestants will submit their application through challenge.gov. Winners will be required to have an account in System for Award Management (SAM) https://www.sam.gov to receive the award.

Participants should create an account on the challenge.gov site and go to https://www.challenge.gov/challenge/lean-for-main-street-training-challenge/ and click on the sidebar link which says “Submit Solution.” Contestants should include a title to their submission.

The application for this challenge consists of two pdf documents which should be uploaded as attachments to the submission. To upload these documents, click on the “Upload File(s)” button located directly under the “Description” heading on the submission page.

The first document is a document of proof of status as an SBDC, WBC, VBOC, or SCORE chapter. The specific document which should be uploaded is described at the end of this section. The second document is the main application document. It should consist of a single three-page pdf document. The content of each page is described below:

Page 1: Resource Partner Capacity (1 page maximum)

  1. Organizational Background: Briefly describe your organization, the type of Resource Partner grant it operates, and how the organization has evolved in its tailoring of services to small businesses given changes in economic trends, community demographics, and the availability of new entrepreneurial development resources. If your organization has offered Lean resources or programming in the past, please describe it (such experience is NOT necessary). Please be sure to provide the following information in your description:
    1. Name of Organization
    2. Resource Partner Affiliation (Small Business Development Center (Lead or Service Center), Women’s Business Center, or SCORE Chapter)
    3. Official Contact Person, Including Phone and Email Address
  1. Background of Representatives for I-Corps training: Give a brief biography for each of the two representatives you plan to send to the I-Corps training. Be sure to note if they have any experience with or exposure to Lean concepts and methods (such experience is NOT necessary), and, more generally, provide a description of their demonstrated ability to adapt and deliver new resources to small businesses.

Page 2: Rationale for I-Corps Training (1 page maximum)

  1. Interest in I-Corps and Lean Methodology: Describe why your organization is interested in learning more about how to incorporate Lean methodology in your offerings to clients. How will your organization leverage the I-Corps training to enhance service delivery to small businesses in your region?
  1. Target Audience for Adapted I-Corps Curriculum: Briefly describe the potential beneficiaries of the adapted I-Corps curriculum in your area. Attributes of potential beneficiaries to take into consideration could be, but are not limited to, are business phase (pre-venture, startup, existing businesses), sector, and socio-economic status.

Page 3: Description of Intended Activities (1 page maximum)

  1. Implementation and Assessment Plan: Briefly describe how you will deliver a pilot program with the adapted curriculum you develop through the I-Corps Spring Cohort, and describe the top five (5) metrics relevant to outputs and outcomes you would use to measure the effectiveness of the program.

All submissions should adhere to the following formatting guidelines:

  • The application document should be submitted as a single PDF with the following filename format: [organization name]_Application.pdf
  • Each part of the application should be no more than one page in length, for a total of three pages
  • Paper Size: 8.5 x 11 with three-quarter (.75) inch margins on all sides
  • Font: Calibri, Size 11

Each contestant should also include proof of status as a member of SBA’s Resource Partner Network.

  • For SBDC Lead Centers, please include a current copy of Form 1222 of  your SBA Notice of Award
  • For SBDC Service Centers, please include a letter of verification from your Lead Center stating you are a current SBDC Service Center and are in good standing with the Lead Center
  • For WBCs and VBOCs, please include a copy of Form 1222 of  your SBA Notice of Award
  • For SCORE Chapters, please include a letter of verification from the SCORE Association indicating your chapter number, that you are in good standing and are authorized to apply for this challenge by the SCORE Association (prize money for any SCORE chapter winners will be awarded through the SCORE Association).

Please submit this information as an pdf attachment, with the filename format [organization name]_Proof of Status.pdf

To verify that your submissions have been uploaded correctly, you may go to “My Profile” by clicking on your username in the header bar and scrolling down. You should see all of your submissions here – you may continue to review and edit these until 9:00am ET on February 11, 2016. Your pdf documents should appear as blue links in the body of your submission.

Prizes
Lean for Main Street Training Challenge Prizes $125,000.00 Up to 5 prizes of $25,000 each will be awarded. Each winning contestant will also receive two scholarships to the I-Corps Training Program in Washington, DC, worth $1,200 each.

25 Discussions for "Lean for Main Street Training Challenge"

  • Show Replies [+]
    mstevens
    SBA is pleased to announce the five winners of the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge. Please see the press release below for winner information (also located at https://www.sba.gov/content/sba-announces-winners-lean-main-street-training-challenge-0). Thank you to all applicants! Release Date: March 10, 2016 Contact: Cecelia Taylor (202) 401-3059 Release Number: 16-16 Internet Address: www.sba.gov/news Follow us on Twitter, Facebook & Blogs SBA Announces Winners of Lean for Main Street Training Challenge WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced the winners of the “Lean for Main Street Training Challenge” competition. The training challenge is designed to give representatives from SBA’s resource partner network – Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), SCORE chapters, Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), and Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) – the opportunity to adapt an existing curriculum to help Main Street small businesses and entrepreneurs utilize the insights of lean business methodologies. Lean methodology has been long popular in technology start-ups, driving companies to move away from a traditional business plan to a more simplified, step-by-step approach. It involves a cycle of consumer feedback and adaption to quickly take products to market. The SBA has a national network of resource partners who are uniquely well positioned to make the most cutting edge tools accessible to new businesses in all corners of the country. “The lean start-up approach has the potential to empower entrepreneurs well beyond Silicon Valley and traditional tech hubs,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “The lean methodology is focused on helping entrepreneurs get the right things to the right place at the right time, while minimizing waste and maintaining flexibility. Through a partnership with the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program, we are training and building the capacity of five of those organizations to become experts in I-Corps instruction, and we’ll work closely with them as they adapt and deliver new variations of the program to targeted audiences in their regions.” I-Corps, the curriculum developed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), provides a framework of principles and practices challenging conventional notions about business model planning. The winning resource partners will attend NSF’s I-Corps program in Washington, D.C. this spring, where they will receive guidance from instructors on how to adapt the curriculum to their own communities. Throughout the learning cycle, they will work with I-Corps master trainers to observe, reflect, and adapt the current curriculum for use in their centers, and in counseling their local area businesses. The winners are as follows: • Community Business Partnership (SBDC) – Springfield, Va. • McLennan SBDC – Waco, Texas • Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center (WBC) – San Francisco, Calif. • University of Pittsburgh (SBDC) – Pittsburgh, Pa. • Mississippi State University (VBOC) – Mississippi State, Miss. Each winning center will also receive $25,000 in prize money to support travel expenses associated with the I-Corps program, the adaptation and development of a new curriculum, and the delivery of that curriculum in their local communities. The SBA plans to leverage these adapted curricula by making them available to all members of the SBA’s resource partner network. The five winning contestants represent a geographically diverse group. Applicants aimed their proposed curricula at a number of different audiences, including disadvantaged Main Street districts, and women from minority and immigrant communities. ###

  • abergmanson
    Attention all Contestants, The winners of the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge have now been selected. SBA received 38 timely submissions, which were reviewed in a rigorous process by two panels of judges. We have made preliminary announcements to all 5 winners, as well as to those who were not selected. Following final verification of all challenge prerequisites, SBA will make a formal announcement regarding the winners of the challenge in the near future. Thank you to all who participated, and we wish you luck in continuing to strive to offer Lean resources to your communities. -Andrew Bergmanson

  • abergmanson
    Attention all contestants and potential contestants: After 5:00pm ET on February 9, 2016, we will no longer be able to accept questions for the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge. Please submit any remaining questions before the end of the day, and we look forward to receiving your submissions.

  • abergmanson
    Below, Please see the responses to all email questions as of 2/8/16 Q: What are the topics of the I-Corps Training? How long is the I-Corps Training? How long are the training sessions? A: The dates of the I-Corps Training are as follows: • First In-Person Component in Washington, DC: 3/29/16 – 4/1/16 • Virtual Training Sessions: 4/7/16; 4/14/16; 4/21/16; 4/28/16; and 5/5/16 • Second In-Person Component in Washington, DC: 5/11/16 – 5/14/16 For the In-Person components, participants should expect that each date listed will constitute a full day of activities. For more information on the topics of the I-Corps Training, contestants should visit the I-Corps site - http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/i-corps/index.jsp - and read the “About I-Corps” Section.

  • abergmanson
    IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATIONS Please note the following email question and response regarding how to submit your solutions through the Challenge.gov site: Q: I'm having trouble seeing my pdfs in my submitted solution. How can I be sure my submission has submitted correctly? A: To submit your solution, click on the "Submit Solution" tab on the left-hand side. In the title box, please give your submission a brief title. Then, under the "Description" tab, click on the "Upload Files" button. This is how you should attach your pdfs. To verify that your pdfs have attached correctly, you may click on your username in the header and scroll down to "My Profile." You should be able to see any submissions here. If your submission has uploaded correctly, you should see blue links with the titles of your documents. If you have any questions or problems with the submission process, please reach out to the challenge.gov site by clicking on "Contact Us" in the header and submitting your question, or feel free to submit any questions to leanchallenge@sba.gov

  • abergmanson
    Below, please find a list of questions that SBA has received via email regarding the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge as of 2/5/15, along with the responses given. Q: How does the program that Winning Contestants would participate in differ from the usual I-Corps Training? A: Winning contestants would be participating in the I-Corps “Train the Trainer” program. In this program, contestants would observe the I-Corps curriculum as it is delivered to the researchers and scientists who are participating, and then receive special instruction on how to deliver and adapt the curriculum. Q: How many grants will be available? A: SBA expects to award 5 grants of $25,000. Q: Will we be able to review the winning submissions? A: The winners of the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge will be announced publically; however, the submission documents will not be released. Q: Is there any way to watch the webinars that we missed? A: Unfortunately the webinars were not recorded. However, you may view the slides at: http://www.slideshare.net/AndrewBergmanson/lean-for-main-street-training-challenge-webinar-slides Q: Are SCORE volunteers eligible to attend the I-Corps training? A: SCORE Chapters are eligible to attend the I-Corps training as winners of the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge. However, SCORE Chapters will receive their funding through the SCORE Association. Q: Is the implementation intended to be hypothetical or based on a real-world case study? A: The adapted curriculum should be implemented in a real world setting. SBA expects an assessment of the effectiveness of this implementation no later than 12 months from the first award date.

  • abergmanson
    Below, please find a list of questions which SBA received during its Sixth and Seventh Webinars: Q: Who pays for training travel to Washington DC? A: Winners are expected to pay for their represenatives’ travel to Washington, DC. Prize money may be used for these costs. Q: Do we need to have a completely worked out idea in order to enter the competition? A: You do not need to have fully worked out what your adapted curriculum will look like in order to enter the competition; a basic framework is sufficient. Q: Must proof of status for SBDC Center be on Lead Center's letterhead? Will a pdf of an email confirming status from Lead Center be acceptable? A: An email is acceptable as proof. However, the email should include a contact so that the proof can be verified by SBA Q: Do you need prior experience with Lean Methods? A: Prior experience with Lean Methodology is not required. However, if contestants do have such experience, they may note it. Q: Can a group of Resource Partners apply together? A: If you are a single entity which operates multiple Resource Partner grants, you may note all of your affiliations on your application; we only require proof of status for at least one of your grants. If you are unrelated entities who are both Resource Partners, we ask that you keep your applications separate.

  • Show Replies [+]
    abergmanson
    SBA is pleased to announce the log in information for our final two webinars, to be held the week of 2/1/16: Sixth Webinar: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 1:00pm-2:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702565 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call • If you are unable to connect to the conference by computer, you may listen by telephone only at 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 using 0954301# Seventh Webinar: Thursday, February 4, 2016, 1:00pm-2:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702566 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call • If you are unable to connect to the conference by computer, you may listen by telephone only at 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 using 0607008#

      • Reply
        abergmanson
        Dear Larry, Winning organizations would be expected to pay for their representatives' travel to and from Washington, DC for the in-person components of the training. Winners may use their prize money to cover these costs. Best, -Andrew Bergmanson

  • abergmanson
    Below, please find a list of questions that SBA has received via email regarding the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge as of 1/28/15, along with the responses given. Q: What are the dates for the upcoming Webinars? A: SBA will be hosting webinars on the following dates: Sixth Webinar: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 1:00pm-2:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702565 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call • If you are unable to connect to the conference by computer, you may listen by telephone only at 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 using 0954301# Seventh Webinar: Thursday, February 4, 2016, 1:00pm-2:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702566 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call • If you are unable to connect to the conference by computer, you may listen by telephone only at 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 using 0607008# Q: We are affiliated with SBA through the Regional Innovation Cluster/Scale-Up America Program. Are we eligible to apply for this challenge? A: Unfortunately, this challenge is limited only to SBDCs, WBCs and SCORE Chapters as indicated in the challenge. It is possible that the audience may be broadened in future challenges. Q: Where can we find the slides from the presentation? A: The slides are located at: http://www.slideshare.net/AndrewBergmanson/lean-for-main-street-training-challenge-webinar-slides Q: Where can we view additional information about the Lean Startup Curriculum? A: For more information on Lean Startup Methodology in general, you can go to http://theleanstartup.com/principles; for more information about the I-Corps curriculum specifically, please go to http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/i-corps/. Q: Can we get thoughts on a concept we have for the challenge in advance of the deadline? A: Unfortunately we are not able to provide feedback on any potential concepts at this time, in order to ensure that all contestants have equal access to information. Q: How can we best position ourselves for this Challenge? A: We recommend starting the application as soon as possible, as the timeline for this challenge is fairly tight. We also recommend paying particular attention to the judging criteria when putting together your application – these are the exact factors that we will be looking for when reviewing submissions. Q: What are the dates that winning contestants would be required to attend the I-Corps Training? A: The dates of the I-Corps Training are as follows: • First In-Person Component in Washington, DC: 3/29/16 – 4/1/16 • Virtual Training Sessions: 4/7/16; 4/14/16; 4/21/16; 4/28/16; and 5/5/16 • Second In-Person Component in Washington, DC: 5/11/16 – 5/14/16 Q: I’m having trouble accessing the webinars. Is there any alternative way to log in? A: If you need technical assistance using the AT&T Connect software to connect to the webinars, you may call the Help Desk at 1-888-796-6118 or 1-847-562-7015 Please also note that alternative call-in information will be provided for all future webinars.

  • abergmanson
    Here is a list of questions collected by SBA during the first four Informational Webinars, along with our responses: Q: Do specific target audiences get more consideration? A: No specific target audiences will be favored above others. What is important is that a specific target audience is laid out in the submission documents. Q: If an organization is more than one (i.e., a VBOC, WBC, & an SBDC service center, should we provide documentation of all three? A: You should note all of your affiliations in your application, but you only need to provide proof of status for at least one of your Resource Partner grants. Q: Will these slides be available following the webinar? A; You may access the slides at http://www.slideshare.net/AndrewBergmanson/lean-for-main-street-training-challenge-webinar-slides

  • abergmanson
    Attention all contestants! The slides used during the webinars are now online at: http://www.slideshare.net/AndrewBergmanson/lean-for-main-street-training-challenge-webinar-slides For information on the remaining webinars, please see the previous post. As always, feel free to email us at leanchallenge@sba.gov with any questions.

  • abergmanson
    Attention all contestants! SBA is adding four new webinars for contestants interested in the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge. These webinars are intended to help clarify the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge, the application process, and the criteria which will be used to judge submissions. Please find information on how to attend these webinars below. Our apologies for the short notice re: tomorrow’s webinar; this communication was meant to go out before the disruptive weather in the DC area. Rest assured, each of these webinars is identical in content, and we will be posting a link to the slides on the discussion board. Fourth Webinar: Thursday, January 28, 2016 2:00pm-3:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702361 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call Fifth Webinar: Friday, January 29, 2016, 2:00pm-3:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702362 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call • If you are unable to connect to the conference by computer, you may listen by telephone only at 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 using 0951912# Sixth Webinar: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 1:00pm-2:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702565 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call • If you are unable to connect to the conference by computer, you may listen by telephone only at 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 using 0954301# Seventh Webinar: Thursday, February 4, 2016, 1:00pm-2:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702566 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call • If you are unable to connect to the conference by computer, you may listen by telephone only at 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 using 0607008#

  • Show Replies [+]
    Lucy Milgram
    I am a member of the SCORE chapter in San Jose California. "Lean Processes" are core to many of our successful innovative companies in Silicon Valley, and, when we were manufacturing out here, they were core to our production lines. Many times, when we counsel clients who have business ideas, they feel overwhelmed by the number of process steps that are required of them in order to move forward. Our chapter is late into this initiative, but would like very much to be part of the development and testing process of this new approach. It fits nicely into who we are and where are. Is there any way we can view the webinars that we missed over the past week? Regards, Lucy Milhram

    • Reply
      abergmanson
      Dear Lucy, We are very happy to hear that you are interested in the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge. You may view the slides from the Webinars that you missed here: http://www.slideshare.net/AndrewBergmanson/lean-for-main-street-training-challenge-webinar-slides Additionally, SBA will be holding four additional webinars over the next two weeks. Please see below for more information. Fourth Webinar: Thursday, January 28, 2016 2:00pm-3:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702361 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call Fifth Webinar: Friday, January 29, 2016, 2:00pm-3:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702362 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call Sixth Webinar: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 2:00pm-3:00pm ET • Connection information will be posted on the discussions tab of this challenge by Friday, January 29th Seventh Webinar: Thursday, February 4, 2016, 2:00pm-3:00pm ET • Connection information will be posted on the discussions tab of this challenge by Friday, January 29th Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns. Best, -Andrew Bergmanson

    • Reply
      abergmanson
      Dear Helen, We would be very happy to include you in any future discussions. Please see below for information on how to join our third webinar: Third Webinar: Thursday, January 21, 2016, 2:00pm-3:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702124 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call Additionally, you may continue to check this discussion board, or follow this challenge by clicking on the orange "Follow this Challenge" button on the main page (Challenge Details section) of this site. -Andrew Bergmanson

  • abergmanson
    Attention all contestants! SBA would like to announce a series of three informational webinars, to take place the week of 1/18/16. These webinars will walk contestants through the process of applying for the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge, as well as the judging criteria that will be used to assess applications and the timeline for winning contestants once decisions have been made. Please find information on how to attend these webinars below: First Webinar: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 2:00pm-3:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702122 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call Second Webinar: Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 2:00pm-3:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702123 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call Third Webinar: Thursday, January 21, 2016, 2:00pm-3:00pm ET • Proceed to http://ems7.intellor.com/login/702124 • Instructions for connecting to conference audio will be presented on your computer • Participants may join up to 10 minutes prior to the call Please email leanchallenge@sba.gov with any questions, and we look forward to speaking with you.

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Rules

1. Subject of Challenge Competition: Given the success and growing popularity of the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps™ program (see http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/i-corps/about.jsp), the SBA is interested in the potential for using adapted versions of that program as a means to assist a broader array of small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs operating outside the I-Corps™ program’s current focus on technology-based businesses or commercialization concepts.  For reference, the I-Corps™ program involves expert business trainers helping teams of scientists and entrepreneurs apply “lean principles”—a collection of practices and concepts for business model analysis—to those scientists’ and entrepreneurs’ nascent entrepreneurial efforts.  Given the SBA’s esteem for the success of this program, the SBA has partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to offer the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge to current SBA Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers, and SCORE Chapters (“Contestants”). Contestants selected as winners will participate in the development and deployment of innovative “lean startup” resources that can be delivered to small businesses in sectors or regions that have not had significant exposure or access to these resources. Winning Contestant representatives will participate in an in-person and virtual train-the-trainer  program and forum with I-Corps™ national instructors to develop an innovative framework for exposing lean methodology to businesses in traditional sectors.  Winners will then implement these newly-developed lean training resources to businesses in their respective communities on a pilot basis and provide SBA with an assessment of their effectiveness.

2. Eligibility Rules for Participating in the Competition: Only current recipients in good standing of grants and cooperative agreements from SBA under the Women’s Business Center, Veterans’ Business Outreach Center, Small Business Development Center (both lead and service centers are eligible), or SCORE programs (“Resource Partners”) are eligible to take part in this competition.  To be eligible to win a prize under this Competition, a Contestant:

(a) Shall have registered to participate in the competition under the rules promulgated by SBA;

(b) Shall have complied with all the requirements under this Notice;

(c) In the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States; and

(d) May not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment;

(e) Shall not be an SBA employee working on their applications during assigned duty hours.

3. Registration Process for Participants: Contestants will submit their application through challenge.gov. Winners will be required to have an account in System for Award Management (SAM) https://www.sam.gov to receive the award.

Participants should create an account on the challenge.gov site and go to https://www.challenge.gov/challenge/lean-for-main-street-training-challenge/ and click on the sidebar link which says “Submit Solution.” Contestants should include a title to their submission.

The application for this challenge consists of two pdf documents which should be uploaded as attachments to the submission. To upload these documents, click on the “Upload File(s)” button located directly under the “Description” heading on the submission page.

The first document is a document of proof of status as an SBDC, WBC, VBOC, or SCORE chapter. The specific document which should be uploaded is described at the end of this section. The second document is the main application document. It should consist of a single three-page pdf document. The content of each page is described below:

Page 1: Resource Partner Capacity (1 page maximum)

  1. Organizational Background: Briefly describe your organization, the type of Resource Partner grant it operates, and how the organization has evolved in its tailoring of services to small businesses given changes in economic trends, community demographics, and the availability of new entrepreneurial development resources. If your organization has offered Lean resources or programming in the past, please describe it (such experience is NOT necessary). Please be sure to provide the following information in your description:
    1. Name of Organization
    2. Resource Partner Affiliation (Small Business Development Center (Lead or Service Center), Women’s Business Center, or SCORE Chapter)
    3. Official Contact Person, Including Phone and Email Address
  1. Background of Representatives for I-Corps training: Give a brief biography for each of the two representatives you plan to send to the I-Corps training. Be sure to note if they have any experience with or exposure to Lean concepts and methods (such experience is NOT necessary), and, more generally, provide a description of their demonstrated ability to adapt and deliver new resources to small businesses.

Page 2: Rationale for I-Corps Training (1 page maximum)

  1. Interest in I-Corps and Lean Methodology: Describe why your organization is interested in learning more about how to incorporate Lean methodology in your offerings to clients. How will your organization leverage the I-Corps training to enhance service delivery to small businesses in your region?
  1. Target Audience for Adapted I-Corps Curriculum: Briefly describe the potential beneficiaries of the adapted I-Corps curriculum in your area. Attributes of potential beneficiaries to take into consideration could be, but are not limited to, are business phase (pre-venture, startup, existing businesses), sector, and socio-economic status.

Page 3: Description of Intended Activities (1 page maximum)

  1. Implementation and Assessment Plan: Briefly describe how you will deliver a pilot program with the adapted curriculum you develop through the I-Corps Spring Cohort, and describe the top five (5) metrics relevant to outputs and outcomes you would use to measure the effectiveness of the program.

All submissions should adhere to the following formatting guidelines:

  • The application document should be submitted as a single PDF with the following filename format: [organization name]_Application.pdf
  • Each part of the application should be no more than one page in length, for a total of three pages
  • Paper Size: 8.5 x 11 with three-quarter (.75) inch margins on all sides
  • Font: Calibri, Size 11

Each contestant should also include proof of status as a member of SBA’s Resource Partner Network.

  • For SBDC Lead Centers, please include a current copy of Form 1222 of  your SBA Notice of Award
  • For SBDC Service Centers, please include a letter of verification from your Lead Center stating you are a current SBDC Service Center and are in good standing with the Lead Center
  • For WBCs and VBOCs, please include a copy of Form 1222 of  your SBA Notice of Award
  • For SCORE Chapters, please include a letter of verification from the SCORE Association indicating your chapter number, that you are in good standing and are authorized to apply for this challenge by the SCORE Association (prize money for any SCORE chapter winners will be awarded through the SCORE Association).

4. Amount of Prize: Through the Lean for Main Street Training Challenge, the SBA will award up to five cash prizes of $25,000 each.  Additionally, scholarships with a value of up to $1,200 each will be issued by the SBA for two representatives of each winning organization to attend a 7 week  I-Corps™  in person and virtual train the trainer program.  The in person component of the training will take place in Washington, DC March 29 through April 1, 2016 and again May 11 through 14; virtual sessions will take place on April 7, 14, 21, 28, and May 5.  On May 14, winners will participate in a forum with I-Corps instructors to discuss and refine their customized lean programs which will then be piloted by the winners.

5. Payment of Prize:  The scholarships portion of the prize will be disbursed in the form of two vouchers for the two representatives from each winning organization to attend the I-Corps™ training event in early 2016.  The cash prize portion of the award will be disbursed in a series of three payments. The first payment, equal to 60 percent of a winner’s total prize amount, will be disbursed upon award once all initial requirements have been met. The second payment, equal to 20 percent of a winner’s total prize amount, will be disbursed after a winner has presented a modified I-Corps™ program to the SBA and Agency staff has deemed that solution satisfactory. This solution must be presented within six (6) months of the date of the award unless otherwise specified by the SBA. The remaining 20 percent of the total prize amount will be disbursed after a winner submits a written assessment that includes, but is not limited to, the outcomes and outputs of the pilot implementation as measured by the metrics outlined in its proposal, a summary of any lessons learned and best practices, and suggestions for any improvements to the design or implementation of similar competitions in the future. The written assessment must be submitted to SBA no later than 12 months after a winner receives its first prize payment.

6. Selection of Winners:  Winners will be selected based upon how well they address the following criteria on their application forms:

  • Audience: SBA’s Resource Partners interact with a diverse group of small business owners and entrepreneurs. While lean materials aimed towards tech startups are commonly available, entrepreneurs in different industries, with different backgrounds, or from different geographies may find these materials less applicable to their immediate circumstances. In order to be successful, a Contestant should clearly identify the specific audience for which their solution would be developed. Contestants are free to define their audience according to their own parameters (e.g. Sector, Business Phase (pre-venture, startup, existing businesses) Geography, Historically Disadvantaged or Underserved Status , etc.)
  • Adaptation: To kick off the adaptation of the I-Corps program, each winner will send two representatives to NSF’s I-Corps gathering in Washington, DC, where they will work in dedicated groups with I-Corps instructors as part of a specialized Train the Trainer program. Applications should outline exactly how representatives intend to benefit from this experience, including any specific knowledge gaps that representatives are looking to fill through their participation. They should also give a clear idea of the demonstrated ability of each representative to adapt and deliver new resources to small businesses. Please note that while SBA is interested in your knowledge and experience with lean methods, preexisting expertise in lean methodology is NOT a requirement for this Competition.
  • Implementation: An entrepreneurial development program is only as good as the people it can reach. While the ability to adapt and customize entrepreneurial development resources is clearly important, equally important will be the Contestants’ solution to delivering their curriculum to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in their target audience. An application should delineate, as clearly as possible, how the Resource Partner intends to leverage their existing relationships, the curriculum that they will develop, and the funds awarded to bring lean methods into their communities on a pilot basis. Applications should also give a clear idea of how they intend to assess the effectiveness of their program, including specific metrics that the Resource Partner will track.

7. Applicable Law:  This Competition is being conducted by SBA pursuant to the America Competes Act (15 U.S.C. 3719) and is subject to all applicable federal laws and regulations. By participating in this Competition, each Contestant gives its full and unconditional agreement to the Official Rules and the related administrative decisions described in this notice, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Competition. A Contestant’s eligibility for a prize award is contingent upon its fulfilling all requirements identified in this notice and in the Official Rules. Publication of this notice is not an obligation of funds on the part of SBA. SBA reserves the right to modify or cancel this Competition, in whole or in part, at any time prior to the award of prizes.

8. Conflicts of Interest: No individual acting as a judge at any stage of this Competition may have personal or financial interests in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of any Contestant or have a familial or financial relationship with a Contestant.

9. Intellectual Property Rights:

(a). All entries submitted in response to this Competition will remain the sole intellectual property of the individuals or organizations that developed them. By registering and entering a submission, each Contestant represents and warrants that it is the sole author and copyright owner of the submission, and that the submission is an original work of the Contestant, or if the submission is a work based on an existing application, that the Contestant has acquired sufficient rights to use and to authorize others to use the submission, and that the submission does not infringe upon any copyright or upon any other third party rights of which the Contestant is aware.

(b). The winning Contestant will, in consideration of the prize to be awarded, grant to SBA an irrevocable, royalty-free, exclusive worldwide license to reproduce, distribute, copy, display, create derivative works, and publicly post, link to, and share, the winning design or parts thereof, for the purpose of the design competition and for any official SBA purpose.

10. Publicity Rights:  By registering and entering a submission, each Contestant consents to SBA’s and its agents’ use, in perpetuity, of its name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, and/or hometown and state information for promotional or informational purposes through any form of media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.

11. Liability and Insurance Requirements:  By registering and entering a submission, each Contestant agrees to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal Government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in this Competition, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise. By registering and entering a submission, each Contestant further represents and warrants that it possesses sufficient liability insurance or financial resources to cover claims by a third party for death, bodily injury, or property damage or loss resulting from any activity it carries out in connection with its participation in this Competition, or claims by the Federal Government for damage or loss to Government property resulting from such an activity. Competition winners should be prepared to demonstrate proof of insurance or financial responsibility in the event SBA deems it necessary.

12. Record Retention and Disclosure: All submissions and related materials provided to SBA in the course of this Competition automatically become SBA records and cannot be returned. Contestants should identify any confidential commercial information contained in their entries at the time of their submission.

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