For Immediate Release
OTTAWA, ON, Canada, — At the Grand Challenges meeting in Ottawa, Canada, Wendy Taylor, Director, Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Carol Dahl, Executive Director of The Lemelson Foundation, announced a partnership between USAID and The Lemelson Foundation to award more than $700,000 to the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA). The Foundation and USAID will each contribute $352,000 toward this effort. The funds will be used to enable USAID’s Saving Lives at Birth grantees the ability to avoid common pitfalls in scaling, helping them accelerate their ideas and inventions into sustainable solutions that will impact on the world’s poorest populations.
The customized training program, called Xcelerator, will leverage NCIIA’s experience in ensuring well-designed pathways to scale for socially-minded products and services. A pilot will initially be offered to grantees of USAID’s Saving Lives at Birth program, which funds the brightest minds across the globe to identify and scale-up transformative prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns around the time of birth.
“Through Saving Lives at Birth and other programs, our Agency supports a large number of researchers and entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas and technologies with potential to save and transform lives," says Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator for USAID. "The Xcelerator program is an important new effort to speed the development and distribution of these solutions for greater impact.”
“We are excited to capitalize on the capacity that The Lemelson Foundation has been building through its support of programs like the NCIIA, to recognize and nurture the path of ideas and inventions through the innovation process, and ensure products and services that have impact on people’s lives, says Carol Dahl, Executive Director of The Lemelson Foundation. “Leveraging NCIIA’s substantial experience, we’re collectively able to train inventors on how to turn their ideas into self-sustaining enterprises.”
“The Xcelerator training program is based on our successful VentureLab, an intensive and immersive program designed to enhance the success of startup enterprises. Participants come away with the skills, tools and support they need to increase the impact of their technological innovation or service,” says Phil Weilerstein, Executive Director of NCIIA. “The Xcelerator training will help participants develop a strategy map, various paths to scale, and give them tangible next steps for increasing the reach and impact of their innovations.”
The U.S. Agency for International Development provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. Spending less than one-half of 1 percent of the federal budget, USAID works in over 100 countries to promote broad-scale human progress at the same time it expands stable, free societies, creates markets and trade partners for the United States, and fosters good will abroad. For more information, visit www.usaid.gov.
About The Lemelson Foundation
Founded in 1992 by prolific US inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife Dorothy, The Lemelson Foundation works to inspire and enable the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises in order to build a stronger US economy and create social and economic change for the poor in developing countries. For more information, visit http://lemelson.org.
The NCIIA catalyzes positive social and environmental impact through invention and technological innovation by providing funding, training and mentoring for university faculty and student innovators. With support from The Lemelson Foundation, the National Science Foundation and a membership of nearly 200 colleges and universities from all over the United States, the NCIIA engages approximately 5,000 student entrepreneurs each year, leveraging their campuses as working laboratories for invention and innovation and incubators for businesses, and ultimately helping them to bring their ideas to market. For more information, please visit www.nciia.org.
Last updated: May 19, 2015